Construction Training Videos

Some work at their jobs. And some really work. Take the Arizona Construction Industry for instance. These folks do hard work. AZ Strong works hard doing our part as a supporting vendor. We produce construction training videos for the leading corporate builders across Arizona.

The Arizona construction industry is built upon strong professional teams. They are a special breed. What they build, better be done right. It better be on time. It better be on budget. It better be done safely. Everything they build depends on it. And we depend on them. Just look around. Big new beautiful buildings are everywhere from Tempe to Tucson, and elsewhere.

To be successful, a construction company must be driven, detail-oriented, creative, and committed to excellence from planning through completion. They must be ready, willing, and able to get the job done for their client, and done right.

Construction Training Videos

AZ Strong views construction training videos the same way. Production must be done right. It must be done on time. It must be on budget. And it must be done safely. We have never had a safety issue on a construction site. Perhaps this explains why we identify so easily with construction. We approach video production with the same kind of pride and passion. We respect and work well with construction companies because of it.

AZ Strong has enjoyed serving as an Arizona construction video production resource. We have delivered solutions for some of the finest construction companies in Arizona. For instance, the outstanding professionals at McCarthy Building Companies, and Okland Construction.

Here are some of the Arizona construction video production services we can provide:


From idea creation to writing, interviewing, shooting, producing, narrating, and editing, AZ Strong is built to cover your Arizona construction projects from script to screen.

It’s been an honor and a pleasure to put on hard hats, vests, work boots, and safety goggles to get in the field on active construction sites. We understand the importance of safety performance and know it is a top priority. We follow the rules and work well within them. It’s great to use our video production knowledge, experience, and equipment (along with people skills) to make a contribution to a brand new outcome.

In particular, we appreciate how doing construction in Arizona means dealing with the elements which can sometimes be challenging. It’s especially true when you consider working in the oppressive heat much of the year.

You can count on AZ Strong to be right out there with your crew on any construction site. Take it as a sign of proof that even some of those “creative types” aren’t afraid to get dirty and sweaty.

To contact AZ Strong to produce your Arizona construction video needs, call us at (602)535-2320 or email us to arrange a complimentary consultation.

Below are some samples of Arizona construction video projects we’ve done:


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St. Xavier University Gilbert Campus Opens

The X seems to stand for eXcellence. That’s if you’re looking new St. Xavier University Gilbert Campus. The beautiful 87,000 square-foot, four-story building was just completed by Okland Construction. The doors opened this week in Gilbert, Arizona.

This is a satellite campus of the Chicago-based University. It is also the Town of Gilbert’s first institute of higher education. Before you even get inside, you will see the Arizona office of Okland Construction made certain it was of the highest quality.

AZ Strong had the same mindset in our video production work at the St. Xavier University Gilbert Campus. We worked with Okland Construction to produce an in-depth series of maintenance training videos for internal use on campus. These videos got into the nuts and bolts of detailing how to do proper maintenance of the state of the art facility. There was a wide range of topics. It included videos on the audio/video technology, the air conditioning system, the fire safety and security systems, and more.

St. Xavier University Gilbert Campus Classes

The campus will offer both undergraduate and graduate business classes. Starting later this month, the undergraduate business courses will be the first available. An MBA program kicks off in October.
St. Xavier proudly features an outstanding online graduate nursing program. Last year, it was ranked No. 1 in the country by U.S. News and World Report. These popular nursing programs will be available at the Gilbert campus starting in fall 2016.

At the Grand Opening ceremony, SXU President Christine Wiseman said, “Together, in this wonderful mission of higher education, the town of Gilbert and St. Xavier University will produce an active learning environment in Gilbert and beyond… It is the stuff of dreams.”

Okland Construction works by the core ideology of being passionate about “creating remarkable experiences.” That’s exactly what it was like for our team to watch their team. They worked hard to bring this beautiful building to life right before our eyes. Even more impressive was seeing all of the work done at crunch time in the dead of the Arizona summer heat with temperatures topping 100 degrees.

In speaking of the relationship with the town of Gilbert, SXU President Wiseman said, “May our joint legacy span another 170 years.” Based on the way the construction was done, it’s a good bet the St. Xavier University Gilbert Campus building will still be standing.

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Jerry Tarkanian – Tark the Shark

Maybe we can blame Steven Spielberg for creating “Jaws.” Maybe it’s our fear and lack of understanding. We just don’t get a warm and fuzzy feeling about sharks. Most people don’t feel badly at all if a shark dies. Today is different, for me anyway. Jerry Tarkanian, “Tark the Shark,” has passed away at the age of 84.

Here’s my take on Tark.

He was like the “Rodney Dangerfield” of basketball coaches. He never really got the respect he was due, until near the end when he was elected into the Hall of Fame. Imagine winning 729 of the 930 college basketball games you coached, but being known and remembered for your ritual of chewing on a wet towel, and battling the NCAA.

Tark wasn’t an angel in the City of Sin. He never claimed to be. But he was a winner every bit as much as the house usually is in the Las Vegas Casinos. He won at Long Beach State. He won at UNLV. He won at his alma mater, Fresno State. In the end, he won vs. the NCAA.

Jerry Tarkanian was also a true rebel. The way he ran the basketball program at UNLV put the Runnin’ Rebels and the university on the map. He created a dynasty going 509-105 in 19 seasons. I’ll never forget the amazement in the arena as his team put a dominating beat down on Coach K’s Duke Blue Devils to win the National Championship in 1990.

Tark’s success built the Thomas and Mack Center. He earned the statue which is there. In the land of glitz and glamour, he produced one of the most popular shows and toughest tickets in town. For years, a courtside stroll down “Gucci Row” showed you the real stars and the real players in Vegas.

When I began one of my favorite TV positions as the Staff Reporter for a nationally syndicated show, “Billy Packer’s College Basketball,” one of the first stories I elected to do was a piece with Jerry Tarkanian. I already knew there was more to the coach, the man, than met the eye. Here’s some examples:

  • Tark’s teams were known for how great they were on offense. But Tark himself loved to talk about defense.
  • Year after year he’d bet on kids the more established college basketball programs didn’t want or considered losers. Many of them were JUCOs, junior college transfers. Some of them were from projects. Some of them were real projects. Tark turned them into teams of winners.
  • He and his lovely wife, Lois, often made their family seem like family to these kids who were far away from their own homes, and in the new foreign worlds of college and Las Vegas. Let the impact of that sink in.
  • Ironically, the Tarkanian family resided on Justice Lane in Las Vegas. Eventually, Jerry got his justice, $2.5 million dollars worth from the NCAA. But the damage from his battles over the years had already run down the ultimate Runnin’ Rebel.

I saw on Twitter today, his son Danny called him the greatest man he’s ever known. Speaking of greats…maybe now that he’s gone, Jerry Tarkanian will finally be remembered by the public where his record in college basketball says he belongs…as one of the all-time greats.

The fight is over. RIP #CoachTark

by Thomas Baldrick

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ASU Football and ASH 2014

It’s good to be home in Arizona. I’ve just returned from the 56th annual ASH conference. This year, the ASH 2014 event was set in San Francisco, CA. Unfortunately, my plans to go watch the Arizona State Sun Devils take on the Oregon Ducks in the PAC-12 Football Championship in nearby Santa Clara last weekend completely fell through (though it was all on the Devils and no fault of mine). But I digress.

Back to business. ASH is the acronym for American Society of Hematology. The five-day conference which was held at the Moscone Center downtown is the largest annual gathering for those who practice the branch of medicine dealing with the diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and research study of diseases related to the blood. Thousands of attendees come from across the United States and literally from around the world. (I’ve even met some from the University of Arizona, and the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale).

I was on hand at ASH 2014 to represent Oncology TV. It’s a leading online channel for educating oncology professionals. The site provides them with a platform for sharing clinical research news and information.

For years, my job at Oncology TV is serving as a host/interviewer. It’s work which provides me a front row seat to seeing behind the scenes of what is going on in oncology clinical research studies. In a challenging position for a mere civilian, I sit down for talks with many of the finest oncologists, hematologists, and clinical researchers in the world.  I’m simply the on-camera facilitator helping these brilliant, dedicated, and passionate men and women to effectively share their data and clinical findings with their industry peers.

For example, the photo at the top of this post is during an ASH 2014 interview with a real favorite of mine, Dr. Srdan Verstovsek, from the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. Dr. Serge, or Dr. V. as he often calls himself, is a shining example of medical care in its purest form. Every time I’m around him I can see, hear, and feel how much he cares about helping patients and their loved ones.


It was no surprise to me I walked away with a WOW effect from ASH 2014. The research projects being done, and those who are leading the way are easily impressive. Their proven successes and real, measurable progress are making for better patient outcomes every day. This ranges from earlier and more accurate diagnoses, to effective treatments and helping patients manage the effects of undergoing those treatments. It covers improving quality of life to extending survival and many points in between.

I can only imagine what kind of WOW effect ASH 2014 would give to someone who has a blood disease such as leukemia or myelofibrosis, or knows a loved one who does. It must be amazing to see and hear how some amazing minds are making amazing strides at understanding, treating, and ultimately beating some of these deadly medical conditions.

These developments sure make my not getting to see the ASU Sun Devils vie for the PAC-12 Football Title seem small, don’t they?

Embedded below is a video sample of one of my dozens of interviews at ASH 2014. Remember, as you watch the video…even if you don’t at all understand what is being explained, see if you can pick up on the hope cancer patients can have today and tomorrow.

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Elevation Chandler Becoming Chandler Viridian

“What doesn’t go up, must come down.” The unfinished Elevation Chandler project is now proof of it. But unlike gravity, this was painfully slow. The shell of a structure was just demolished after more than 8 years in limbo at a high profile location on the southeast side of the Chandler Fashion Center.

Elevation Chandler barely got off the ground when construction was halted in Spring 2006. The concrete skeleton by developer Jeff Cline was haunted by financial problems which morphed into legal issues. The property went through years of lawsuits, bankruptcy, foreclosure, and more lawsuits.

If you were a resident of Chandler or just passing through on the Loop 101/Loop 202 Freeways, you saw one of Arizona’s biggest eyesores. What you didn’t see was the heartache felt by well-intended investors who lost millions of dollars. What you didn’t see were the headaches felt by all of the well-intended people at the City of Chandler and in private industry who tried to fix the problem.

Eventually Hines Had the Solution

Thank goodness the international real estate firm, Hines, has an office in Phoenix. Thank goodness their managing director Chris Anderson isn’t a quitter. Through plenty of trials and tribulations, patience and perseverance, Hines efforts got them to being able to purchase the property.

You can see in the video below, the Elevation Chandler demolition was in itself cause for major celebration.


Chandler Mayor Jay Tibshraeny, all of the members of City Council, and many interested members of the community were on hand to watch the razing of the Elevation Chandler structure in ruins. The mayor got to take the first swipe at it. This was well-deserved since he couldn’t go anywhere in public without folks lashing out at him about the eyesore.

Today, there is more cause for celebration. Hines is kicking off its new project called, Chandler Viridian. The mixed-use development will feature luxury apartments, a six-story hotel, office space, and retail options promoting walkability to and from the Chandler Fashion Center.

Construction of the family living is slated to begin in the first quarter of 2015. The commercial properties are scheduled to begin in the second quarter, while the hotel, office, and retail construction starts later in 2015 and 2016.

Hallelujah Hines.

By Thomas Baldrick

Thomas Baldrick is an Emmy Award-winning on-camera talent and producer/writer based in Arizona. From script to screen in video production services, he helps companies, organizations, and individuals across the country to achieve the success they and their target audience want.




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2014 Phoenix Veterans Day Parade Stars World War II Veterans

PHOTO: Thomas Baldrick behind Denis Parry, Pearl Harbor Survivor Herb Weatherwax, and Lovely Lehua Weatherwax at home in Oahu after doing an interview at Pearl Harbor. March 2014.

C’mon now. Wouldn’t you like to actually see live World War II Veterans? Trust me Arizona, there’s no DVR for this one. There is no Netflix, no must see TV. If you want to see and salute real World War II Veterans it must be done in person. They’ll be live and in living color right in the heart of the 2014 Phoenix Veterans Day Parade.

This year’s parade theme is “Duty, Honor, Sacrifice: Celebrating Our World War II Veterans.” God willing, this special event won’t be your last chance to see these Great American Heroes. But tomorrow is promised to no one. So, it sure will be your best chance.

Think about it. The legendary Invasion of Normandy is having its 70th anniversary in 2014. You’ve heard and learned about the Attack on Pearl Harbor. You’ve heard and learned about December 7, 1941 – “A Date Which Will Live in Infamy.” Keep in mind, there’s not too many men left who heard it and experienced it…THAT DAY!”

There’s not too many soldiers remaining who answered President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Declaration of War, and who fought and suffered in World War II…and survived. The odds say the World War II Veterans who still live in the Valley of the Sun or other parts of Arizona are marching closer to their final sunset.

“We feel it is so important to recognize our World War II Veterans this year,” said Katherine Brooks, President of Honoring Arizona’s Veterans. “We know they are aging. It is our hope to give them another joyous event in their lifetime through the 2014 Phoenix Veterans Day Parade.”

This is not a time for procrastination. This is your time for participation.

Ask yourself: How many opportunities will you have to see these World War II Heroes?

Ask yourself: How many opportunities will they have to see you appreciate the tremendous sacrifices they made for you and your loved ones?

The saying is “History Repeats Itself.” But this time, “History is Predicting Itself…for YOU.” Take advantage of experiencing this fleeting moment in history. Bring your family, especially children. Bring a friend. We’ll look for you at the 2014 Phoenix Veterans Day Parade next Tuesday, 11-11 at 11. For more info visit:

By Thomas Baldrick

AZ STRONG is proud to support the 2014 Phoenix Veterans Day Parade.

Thomas Baldrick is an Emmy Award-winning on-camera talent and producer/writer based in Arizona. From script to screen in video production services, he helps companies, organizations, and individuals across the country to achieve the success they and their target audience want.




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Steven Spielberg & Arizona

Scene 1: Long before moving to Arizona, I began working in television in Philadelphia. I was born and raised there. I was well aware Steven Spielberg had childhood ties to the nearby of South Jersey. In the media, you are trained to always look for local hooks.

Scene 2: When I visited Cincinnati, they had longer, stronger pride and bragging rights to the world famous movie director. Steven Spielberg was born there in 1946.

Scene 3: When I visited Hollywood, California, Steven Spielberg was already one of the biggest names in the film industry.

Scene 4: When I fell in love with Arizona years ago, I heard Steven Spielberg had ties to Phoenix.

Scene 5: Recently, while reading a biography of the famous creative storytelling with my 8-year old son, I enjoyed discovering just how strong the Steven Spielberg Arizona ties really were.

Flashback – “Like a Scene in a Movie”

Steven Spielberg began his career in Hollywood. While taking a tour at Universal Studios, he ventured off on his own. This led the aspiring filmmaker to sneaking in day after day to watch and learn everything he could. He was quickly spotted. But the person liked him and gave him a 3-day pass.

Beginning on day 4, Steven repeatedly fooled the security guard with friendliness and a wave. He discovered an empty office and moved in. People assumed he belonged there. Around this time in 1969, he made his first professional release, “Amblin.” It was a 24-minute boy meets girl film about two hitchhikers on the way to a beach. Universal executives were impressed enough to sign Spielberg as a television director. He dropped out of college and rose through the ranks in television. In 1975, Steven took his first big bite out of Hollywood directing the blockbuster feature film, “Jaws.”

Steven Spielberg Arizona: The Plot Thickens 

Let the credits show Phoenix, Arizona is where one boy discovered his destiny. He fell in love with making movies. He was 10 years old.

Steven’s father, Arnold Spielberg, was a talented engineer. He got great job offers. Thus, the family was often on the move. For Father’s Day 1957, Steven’s mother Leah gave him a gift of an 8 millimeter movie camera. It was love at first sight for young Steven who couldn’t wait to borrow it.

Steven’s first production was “The Last Train Wreck.” The starring role was given to his Lionel train set. At the time, the film was the greatest 3 minutes in entertainment history to Steven who watched it over and over again.

The living room of the Spielberg’s home in the Arcadia section of Phoenix soon became a makeshift movie set. Steven persuaded his parents, his little sisters, and others into acting on camera.

His first short was about World War II pilots, titled, “Fighter Squad.” Arnold talked his son’s way into the airport for some filming.

When he was 11, Steven Spielberg made a 9-minute western starring his fellow Boy Scouts. The troop went wild when they viewed it. At that moment, Steven Spielberg said he knew what he wanted to do with his life.

In 1962, the 16-year old Arcadia High student made the Arizona desert look like the African desert for the 40-minute film, “Escape to Nowhere.” It was a story of U.S. soldiers trying to escape enemy troops. The film showed Steven was heading somewhere. It won him first prize in the Canyon Films Junior Film Festival.

In 1964, Steven took a big step forward with “Firelight.” The young director shined brightly in the 2-hour feature length film about alien kidnappings. His father donated $500 to the budget. The film took Steven one year to make.

For the premiere, the family rented a theater. Steven’s mother, Leah, made sure it was a full house. She even climbed a ladder outside the theatre to showcase the title on the marquee. The family drove to the event in a limo. It was a far cry from her driving their beat up old Army jeep in “Escape to Nowhere.”

Soon after, Steven’s family moved to Saratoga, California. Sadly, his parents split up. His mother and sisters returned to Arizona. He stayed with his father. The scenario broke Steven’s young heart. But at the same time led him right into his heart’s desire, a brilliant career making movies.

Steven Spielberg Arizona: A Starring Role in an Amazing Career.

by Thomas Baldrick




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8 Great Tips for Video Production Virgins

How to Be a Successful Video Producer

This is a guide for how to do high quality video production. It is not about having sex on camera. The title is an example of how you can use a creative hook to grab attention for your video productions.

So, rock on and read on if you’re doing research. You’ll be rewarded for your effort. This comprehensive content will help you as a Video Production Virgin. You‘ll be ready to produce your first quality video creatively and effectively. (If you’re a novice or student who has done videos but wants to do better, come along. You’re in luck, too.)

Here’s an ironic twist. The goal of delivering 8 Great Tips for Video Production Virgins is actually quite the opposite of sex. Here’s why. I’m an Emmy Award-winning TV Reporter/Producer who turned to Internet Content Development to be the single parent I need to be. By sharing quality information and advice based on my professional experience and expertise, I’m hoping it will serve as “safe protection” for you from 2 common socially transmitted issues:

  1. Getting screwed by bad video production services.
  2. Feeling like you did it to yourself because you were lazy, cocky, or clueless.


Did You Know?…

There are nearly 5 Billion video views on YouTubeevery day!

As a Video Virgin, this one statistic shows you video is not a luxury. It’s now a necessity. If you’re not doing video, you’re behind the times, and your competition. 5 billion YouTube video views today, and at least 5 billion for all the tomorrows tells you all you need to know about the growing power and potential you’re now exploring.

Here’s more good news.

You’ll have this power in your hands when you produce and post quality videos.

Now here’s the bad news.

This power of video won’t work, or will actually work against you if you don’t use it properly.

So, because you’re a Video Virgin or novice, now is not the time to simply lay back and enjoy. Nope, not at all. Sit up. Get dressed if you must. Get focused. Engage. Learn. Take notes. Brainstorm. Bookmark this page. Or better yet, do all of the above. Let’s go.

8 Great Tips for Video Production Virgins

#8. Preparation in video production acts like a GPS. A “winging it” approach acts like a DUI.

Knowing what you want to accomplish in video production acts like a GPS. It takes you right where you want to go as a content producer. It also takes viewers right where you want them to go. Know what message you aim to deliver. Decide how to do it. Put well-spent time and effort into a script, or at least an outline or plan. If others are helping with your video production, make sure they are in on the plan.

Winging it is like driving under the influence. You’re taking an unnecessary, foolish, and costly risk. The good thing is with video you won’t injure or kill others. You’ll just bore them to death, or annoy and disappoint them by wasting their time. You’re the one who gets hurt. You’re the one who gets busted in public by producing lame videos.

Surely you’ve seen how people look and act when they’re under the influence. It’s not pretty. Do you want to be taken seriously with your videos? If so, you don’t want to come across like a fool who doesn’t know where you want to go or how to get there.

Think of video viewers like passengers. They won’t want to go anywhere you’re trying to take them unless they have confidence in you.


#7. This just in to the Newsroom. Rambling is NOT a Plan.

The top of your head is a great place for a hat. It is not a great launching pad for effective videos. As a professional on-camera talent, I can ad-lib well because of my experience, and because I prepare myself. Great ad-libbing doesn’t happen overnight. Video Production Virgins would be wise to prepare to create on-air success.

Remember the annoying line from your parents. Just because other people jump off a bridge doesn’t mean you should, too. Look out. Here it comes again.

Just because millions of other people ramble endlessly on YouTube or in other online videos doesn’t mean you should, too.

Viewers (especially potential customers) running for the exit is the last thing you want in video production. Less is more. It’s better to give viewers the right amount of content, or have them wanting more from you. Too long is too long. Your viewers exit, taking all possibilities with them. You’re a viewer, right? So, use your own experiences to guide you. If your video production feels too long it probably is.

Have a message. Have a point. Deliver them clearly and concisely. Know what to say and how to say it. This empowers others to see and hear you know what you’re talking about, and invest their time into you and your entire videos.

Now keep this in mind. One of the factors in YouTube ranking is the amount of time your videos are watched. If viewers are bailing early on your videos, the YouTube Ranking Gods may bail on your videos, too. Double whammy.

#6. Quality Content is King.

Yeah I know. There’s a lot of talking points here. I’ll take that chance delivering quality content I know will help you.

Give viewers value. Give them something they can use whether it’s guidance, direction, entertainment, or just a sense of who you are.

#5. Think in Pictures, not just Words.

Win over short attention spans and viewers wanting instant gratification. Think visually to be successful in video production. Is the background pleasing or distracting? Move the shot. Change the shot. Add footage, photos, and graphics when possible and appropriate. Keep viewers engaged by what they’re seeing, not just what you’re saying.

#4. Looks and Lighting Count.

You’re human. People judge you on how you look. Own it. Deal with it. I suggest honesty and a mirror as a great starter kit. Yes ladies and gentlemen, I wear makeup on camera. Any professional will tell you makeup makes a world of difference.

Viewers will notice if you look tired or bad. They won’t tell you. They will judge you. Look your best for the best results.

Lighting is important. In simple terms, always try to have the light balanced on your face. This means have your face to the sun, the lamps, or any light coming in from the window.

Having dominant light behind you makes you backlit and washed out. No style or beauty points here.


#3. Picture Your Audience in Video Production.

It’s not about you. Video production is about reaching your target audience. Give viewers what they want. Yes, you should tell your story. Have a purpose. However, try to deliver using ways your audience will want to receive it.

Identify your ideal audience person. What does she or he want to see and hear? Why would she or he be watching your video? Communicate directly to her or him for the best results.

#2. Editing Elevates Everything.

“Fix it in post.” This is a common saying and mindset among video production and television professionals. “Post” is short for post-production editing. Magic happens here. It’s where mistakes are covered or minimized. It’s where fresh new ideas are born. Editing is the quality kitchen where audio and video spices and finishing touches are added and mixed for serving to the public.

BONUS: If you plan on editing, you can plan for editing!

Your video productions can be easier. Rather than having to get everything right in one take, or make sacrifices in quality along the way, you can get things done in small chunks, one section at a time.

Editing elevates everything in video production from the quality of your work to your confidence doing it. Editing can raise satisfaction levels of viewers, and ultimately elevates your image and the rewards you receive.


#1. How and When to be Smarter than a Smart Phone.

I love my smart phone camera. You probably love yours. It can get the job done but not always as well as you’d like. “Selfies” work in certain situations. But if you’re on the way up, or your looking to impress high end clients, consider hiring video production professionals. This should make everything better, from the look to the lighting, audio, and even your performance.

If you value your image, and think others might, too, working with a reliable professional video production service is smarter than using a smart phone. Do multiple videos in a single session to be more effective with your time and money.

If you want to look professional in video production, it makes sense to work with talented, creative professionals. It’s like having an image and communications doctor on call.

Now it’s time for Lights! Camera! Action! Right? Wrong.

Prepare. Then turn on the lights, camera, and take action. Let me know if I can be of further assistance.

By Thomas Baldrick

Thomas Baldrick is an Emmy Award-winning on-camera talent and producer/writer based in Arizona. From script to screen in video production services, he helps companies, organizations, and individuals across the country to achieve the success they and their target audience want.

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Personal 9-11 Do’s & Don’ts

September 11, 2014     By Thomas Baldrick     #azstrong


WTC. The World Trade Center. WTF. September 11, 2001.

This is personal. If you ever wanted to read someone’s diary without feeling guilty or being ripped for it, here’s your chance. What to do with 9-11 memories? I don’t know. But every time the future brings September 11th to the present, it seems like my duty to share the past. Yeah, strange but true.

I don’t want to remember what I do about 9-11. But I don’t want Americans to forget.

If you feel the same way, you can share this with others

My heart still hurts for the many victims and their loved ones. I’m just a guy who lost part of himself that day and replaced it with other stuff. I covered the 9-11 tragedies for more than 6 weeks straight as a television journalist with ABC News. My sensitivity on the job helped greatly in some ways, hurt deeply in others. First, I was in New York City. Then, weeks later after I asked to quickly sneak home to Philadelphia for clean clothes one night after a scary bomb scare at Newark International Airport, I wound up being sent to Shanksville, PA. From New York City to there, you can’t experience more of a night and day difference in America than that.

Since the horrifying day Osama Bin Laden and his band of misguided Al Qaeda assassins (let’s call them asses for short), each anniversary has been less than pleasant. Each one has been different. #ThankYouArizona for the sun shining today.

So here goes. My brain and heart are sharing my good, bad, and ugly inside in the form of personal… “9-11 Do’s and Don’ts.”  

DO: I do get touched deeply by the annual September 11th Moment of Silence.

DON’T: I don’t think my neighbor’s yappy dog knew or cared about it this morning.


DO: 13 years later, I do remember. I remember sights and sounds. I remember smells, thoughts and feelings.

DON’T: I don’t wonder for a second why many men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces have PTSD. I also don’t understand how these brave yet battered wounded warriors been so mistreated by their fellow Americans at the Phoenix VA Hospital.


DO: I do remember September 11, 2001 was a Tuesday.

DON’T: I don’t believe I can still hear Brian K. from the ABC News Bureau saying to me, “Pack a bag! We need you!… Oh by the way, can you come?”


DO: I do admit to having a love affair with the World Trade Center. Every time I saw those magnificent twin towers from New Jersey, I always got excited to be returning to New York City.

DON’T: Despite a beautiful photo in my home, I still don’t have the ability to think of those buildings without seeing them on fire and smoke rising to the heavens above the 5 boroughs.


DO: I do vividly remember standing near a bearded man in a turban as we both tried to use a pay phone. We said nothing to each other. We didn’t take our eyes off each other, or turn our backs on each other.

DON’T: I don’t deny judging him and wondering if he was Al Qaeda, wondering if I should just kick his ass before another act of terrorism happened.


DO: I do know I’ve kept my word since 9-11 and have been forced to act on it, never letting fear get in the way of some idiot possibly taking me and others down on an airplane.

DON’T: I don’t understand why more American passengers aren’t this way.


DO: I do remember being absolutely terrified on 9-11, literally thinking the world might be coming to an end. I know others were thinking the same thing.

DON’T: I don’t think there’s any way to measure the power of that fear, or the extraordinary acts of bravery, courage, and patriotism which shined in spite of it.


DO: Honor and thank #FDNY, #NYPD, the great people of the Greater New York City area for their kindness, courage, and leadership.

DON’T: Fail to include honor and thanks to the Shanksville Fire Department, the super people of Shanksville, PA, former Pennsylvania Governors Tom Ridge and Mark Schweiker for their kindness, courage, and leadership.


DO: I said that day and many times since 9-11 how not only is tomorrow promised to no one…but neither is later today.

DON’T: I hope you don’t ignore what I just wrote. Tell people you love them every chance you get.


DO: I do admire New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani for becoming Superman after 9-11, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

DON’T: I don’t think you can underestimate how he also rose to be part Gandhi, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Captain America, Statue of Liberty, and Humpty Dumpty. Really.


DO: I do remember using my journalistic skills to reach the Newark Airport Terminal just hours after United Flight 93 took off and was hijacked.

DON’T: I still don’t know how at least one of the dozen or so police officers who were so scared and angry that day didn’t pull an itchy trigger finger on their shotguns all pointed right at me.


DO: I do know 9-11 brought out the goodness inside many people.

DON’T: I don’t know if you can comprehend what a small town the Big Apple was for a while after September 11th.


DO: I do know being blessed to serve as host of those life-changing retreats for children who lost loved ones in the World Trade Center was one of the greatest, most incredible honors of my life.

DON’T: I don’t want to believe any of the rumors about the Todd M. Beamer Foundation, the amazing people, and the mighty heroic mission I knew.


DO: I do know there were many victims who were lucky to escape with their lives on September 11th, 2001. I do know there were many heroes such as those from FDNY Engine 40 Ladder 12 in Manhattan who knew they were going to their deaths at the World Trade Center…and went anyway.

DON’T: I don’t know if I could ever be as brave as the heroes on 9-11 or admire them enough.


DO: What I can’t do yet is forgive. What I can’t do yet is forget.

DON’T: I don’t know if I ever will.


DO: I do have many more 9-11 Do’s & Don’ts memories to share.

DON’T: But I don’t want to do this anymore right now. Thank you for caring enough to read.


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Don King – Promotion with Commotion

MMA has kicked its butt in recent years. But the sport of boxing is still around.

Boxing has kicked Don King’s butt in recent years. But The King of Promotion with Commotion is still around.

As Don King has said thousands of times, “Only in America.”

Today is Don King’s 83rd birthday. Happy Birthday Don. Not bad for a convicted felon who once told me he never expected to make it to 50. Penitentiary he said changed his life.

You would be amazed at the long list of VIPs around the world who have posed for photos with Don King. The old photo above is me with him in Las Vegas. It’s one of a few photos I have with him from my television career.

Unfortunately, the best picture I have of being with Don King is only stored on the hard drive in my mind. I didn’t have a camera with me at the time. The classic photo opp took place before the smart phone era. This was back when dinosaurs and film cameras roamed the earth.

So picture this…

It’s a Saturday afternoon in summer. I walk off the Atlantic City Boardwalk into the closed theater at the Boardwalk Regency Hotel. I’m working on a TV concert series and B.B. King is performing for the cameras that night. (What a pro.) Standing alone in the lobby before me are two famous kings enjoying ice cream and conversation…none other than B.B. King and Don King. I joined them for a few minutes in what seemed surreal even at the time.

Don King had his share of friends. You would be amazed at the long list of VIPs around the world who have posed for photos with him. What’s equally amazing is that Don King had more than his fair share of enemies in the brutal sport of boxing. It’s a miracle he thrived. It’s a bigger miracle he survived.

His was arguably boxing’s greatest promoter. He was definitely his own greatest promoter. Every Don King promotion always sold tickets by having him creating commotion. We all got sucked in for a ride on his marketing machine every time.

Don King was also one of boxing’s most unique personalities. Now that is saying something. His hair and his mouth were known around the world. King is one of the most talented talkers I have ever met. You can’t always understand what he’s saying. You can’t usually get him off his message and get him to be relevant to your interview questions. But you can always count on being entertained and yes, even mesmerized.

Don King has always been a one-man show.

In the above photo I remember getting in a word with him and saying, “I’m guessing you’ve never come across a word you didn’t like!” Thankfully there was a camera around for that gem.

Don King promoted with some of boxing’s all-time greats. Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, and many more back when boxing packed a punch. Growing up in Philadelphia, Smokin Joe Frazier was one of my childhood heroes. It was always a thrill for me going to his boxing gym as a TV guy. God rest his soul.

Smokin Joe was also hard to understand. But his telling the story of driving in the limo with Don King to “The Thrilla in Manila,” and King leaving him to drive in Big George’s limo after Foreman took Frazier’s heavyweight title is truly a timeless classic.

Don King had the power to get rising fighters and champions to fall in love with him, and more importantly the money he could make for them. In most cases though, the fighters claimed to take a financial beating from King. The fallout from the breakups of those relationships is the stuff legends are made of. Tales of Mike Tyson and others wanting to kill King made what goes in the ring look like shadow boxing. Really.

Amazingly on his 83rd Birthday, not only is Don King is still around.. he is back on top. He is now promoting a new heavyweight champion, Bermane Stiverne. (Yeah, I’d never heard of him either). Marketing, promotion, and reputation management professionals should study Don King. People lost millions with him. People lost lives with him. He’s been knocked down, kicked around, but somehow still not knocked out. Only Father Time will get him for sure, like the rest of us.

Maybe somewhere today someone will be able to get Don King to stop talking long enough to blow out a whole bunch of candles on a birthday cake and enjoy more ice cream. Like the man says, “Only in America.”

By Thomas Baldrick   Google +

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