There is a parallel timeline where I went to Columbia’s School of Journalism instead of Columbia’s School of the Arts, but in that timeline I am much more tired and I think less happy. Still, my time in journalism was absolutely formative with enough stories to last a lifetime. NY1, especially, because non-union rules meant I could shoot and edit, which eventually brought me to film and TV. (Sidenote: all of my favorite places in New York—my pho place, my pita place, my liquor store, my bodega— play NY1 on loop because if you know, you know. Pat Kiernan. Weather on the 1s. In the Papers. Come on!)

I grew up wanting to work in news magazines, meaning, for me, World News Tonight. Peter Jennings and Christiane Amanpour were my idols. But by the time I was actually starting my career, the 24-hour news cycle had taken over. I learned pretty quick that pacing doesn’t suit me. I don’t think it suits most people, or the news for that matter, but that’s another conversation.

I shot the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade from a cherry picker. I worked the overnight shift at every job I ever had: ABC, NY1, The Associated Press. I prowled the city in a stick-shift armed with a Beta cam, a Nextel and a paper map. I covered political conventions and protests, five alarm fires and firemen calendar benefits. Christian Louboutin and I smacked each others butts! I was one of the first people to find out that Dick Cheney had shot someone in the face while hunting. Every sobering Thursday for a year I compiled the names, ages and companies of the U.S. military dead in Iraq and Afghanistan for publication.

Then I went to film school.