Bavaria Haus Miami Commercial

I wrote, produced and directed this commercial as my final assignment during my internship with Accord Production in the Summer of 2016 in Miami, FL.

I was associate producer to many commercials like the one featured below and was the producer for a show that is shot live called “Eat This, Drink That, Go!” featuring Jimmy Cefalo, Emmy-award winning journalist and the radio voice of the Miami Dolphins.

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Sister Jean is Small in Stature but has a Big Impact

*This article was originally published by the Loyola Phoenix*

This article won the Illinois College Press Association’s Award for Best Non-Daily Sports Feature in February 2017.

It’s safe to say that Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, BVM, is the Loyola men’s  basketball team’s biggest fan. When she’s not handing out prayer cards to distraught students during exams or being swarmed by admirers like a rock star, Sister Jean can be found doing what she loves most: cheering on the Ramblers from her seat at the scorer’s table.

While it may seem odd that a 97-year-old nun from San Francisco would be so passionate about basketball, Sister Jean said she developed a love for all sports when she was working as an elementary school teacher in Los Angeles. The school where she taught in the early 1950s lacked any kind of sports program, and Sister Jean said she was worried that shortage was affecting her students negatively.

“I went to the school’s pastor and said, ‘Look, we don’t have any sports. Why don’t we start some teams?’” said Sister Jean. “The pastor liked the idea and told me to take care of it, so we set up seventh and eighth-grade football, basketball, soccer and, believe it or not, yo-yo. I ended up as head coach of our women’s basketball team.”

After teaching in Los Angeles, Sister Jean accepted a job in the education department at Mundelein College in 1961, when it was still an all-female Catholic college. Although Mundelein had its own basketball team, Sister Jean said she would go watch the Loyola men’s team whenever she could. But it wasn’t until 1963, when Loyola won its first and only men’s basketball championship, that Sister Jean truly became a fan.

“I remember that night so well: Another sister and I were watching the game on tape-delay on a little, black-and-white TV,” Sister Jean said. “Around midnight, when the broadcast of the game was over, all the Loyola boys came to Mundelein and grabbed the girls and began celebrating. You could hear them chanting up and down Sheridan all night long. They almost made it up to Evanston!”

In 1991, Mundelein College became affiliated with Loyola, and Sister Jean finally became an official member of the Rambler family. Three years later, she was asked to be the chaplain for the men’s basketball team and she’s held that title ever since. While she no longer travels with the team, Sister Jean goes to every home game and is always available for her players.

“As chaplain, the players know they can come talk to me whenever they wish,” she said. “And I also pray with them before the game, but it’s not the same prayer that I recite in front of the fans. I make sure to let the team know who they need to watch out for on the other side.”

While her scouting reports certainly help the Ramblers overcome their opponents, Sister Jean said she believes there is more to the team’s success than just X’s and O’s. Sister Jean said that without faith or hope in God, the team would be nowhere near as good as it is now.

“Regardless of religious culture or background, we all talk the same language to God,” she said. “That’s why we teach the three W’s: worship, work and win.”

You can’t win without work, and you can’t work without worship. Sister Jean has come to embody this ethos with her unbridled and passionate dedication to the Loyola men’s basketball team. Hopefully the players will be hearing her pregame scouting reports for many more years to come.

Sorry Cubs Fans, Not Everyone is Happy Your Team Won

*This article was originally published by the Loyola Phoenix*

http://loyolaphoenix.com/2016/12/column-sorry-cubs-fans-not-everyone-happy-team-won/

Sorry, but I just couldn’t buy into the whole “Cubs Fan charm,” or whatever you want to call it.

Sure, it’s pretty neat that the Cubs finally broke the 108-year-old “Billy Goat Curse” while I’m living in Chicago. It’s kinda cool when anything happens for the first time in 108 years, but that’s beside the point.

The Cubs winning the World Series is a rarity, but that’s about it.

Much to the disbelief of my friends, many of whom are Chicago natives and lifelong Cubs fans, I wasn’t rooting for the “lovable losers.” Don’t get me wrong; I wasn’t rooting for the Cubs to lose, either. I just refused to join the bandwagon unlike the majority of the Cubs’ fanbase during the postseason.

I’m a Miami Marlins fan, despite the Marlins organization doing everything in its power to make me say otherwise. That’s mostly because I grew up in Miami and support most of the local teams by default. So, the Marlins winning the World Series in 2003 was one of the best moments of my life. That victory wouldn’t have been possible if not for the Steve Bartman incident. When Bartman reached over the left field railing and prevented Moises Alou from catching a fly ball in the eighth inning, he unwittingly altered the history of two franchises. To this day, I can see the disturbed flashbacks in Cubs fans’ eyes triggered by any mention of my Marlins fandom.

My time in Chicago has left me with an odd sense of guilt that I’m almost partially to blame for extending the curse. My team made the Cubs’ drought worse, so it felt wrong to celebrate the end of suffering that I somehow helped to extend — regardless of how ridiculous that seems.

Of course, the Marlins winning in 2003 pales in comparison to when the best player in the league — Dwyane Wade — re-signed with the Miami Heat and convinced LeBron James and Chris Bosh to join him on South Beach. The Big Three coming to Miami my senior year of high school was, without a doubt, the most important moment in my 23 years as a fan.

From 2010 to 2014, my favorite team was the center of the sports world. The Heat led the 6 p.m. SportsCenter almost every night, and every little issue was magnified and blown out of proportion by the sports world. Remember “Bumpgate” and “Crygate,” the situations when James bumped into head coach Erik Spoelstra and when the team was criticized for allegedly crying in the locker room after a regular season loss to the Bulls? These instances were proof that the hype surrounding the team made every game an extremely tense affair. Each victory was greeted with relief, not jubilation.

This tension was only compounded once I moved to Chicago in year two of the Big Three era. I faced an unrelenting wave of trash-talk on SportsCenter and from my friends whenever the Heat lost. Mind you, these were Bulls fans, the same team that lost to the Heat in the Conference Finals. Whenever the Heat won, I felt vindicated and relieved, not happy.

While I wouldn’t trade the Big Three era for anything, the experience was only enjoyable once the season was over.

Is my inability to find any enjoyment or charm in the Chicago Cubs’ World Series victory harbored by some underlying, petty resentment toward Chicago fans?

It probably is, and I truly wish I could enjoy the Cubs winning the World Series as much as the average sports fan. But as a member of #TeamPetty, the Heat’s spiteful fanbase, I really don’t care if you supported your team through decades of disappointment. That doesn’t mean I have to root for your team, too, and it certainly doesn’t mean I’m going to celebrate with you, either.

Let’s not forget one fact: all those Chicago fans who were trash-talking me in 2012 were wearing Blackhawks jerseys.

Kraussel is Loyola’s King of “The Dab”

*This article was originally published by the Loyola Phoenix.*

http://loyolaphoenix.com/2016/10/kraussel-loyolas-king-dab/

 

No, that’s not Paul Pogba or Cam Newton dabbing on Hoyne Field after another goal by the Loyola men’s soccer team (12-1-1, 5-0-1). It’s junior midfielder Brody Kraussel, whose play on the wing this season has helped the men’s soccer team climb to No. 11 in the country and the top of the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) standings.

Kraussel’s nine assists this season have him tied for second in Division I men’s soccer, and they’re one reason why the Ramblers expect to make some noise at the NCAA tournament in November.

Higher expectations for the team also bring extra pressure, but the business marketing major said he is doing his part to ensure the Ramblers stay loose on and off the field.

“I like to keep a fun feel in the locker room. I think everyone knows we are a good team and we all want to live up to how good we are, and it’s kind of been showing this season,” said Kraussel. “I feel like people might get too amped up before games. So, if my teammates see me messing around a bit before games, they can feed off my relaxed state. ”

That’s where the Dab comes in. The Dab is a dance move usually performed after a great play that has been popularized by athletes including Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.

“I’ve been known to dance in the locker room before or after games. Dabbing is definitely one of my best moves,” said Kraussel. “I just like to bring that carefree energy and make it feel like it’s just a regular training session.”

The Milwaukee native has quietly assumed a larger leadership role in his third year on the team. Senior right back Kirill Likhovid said he has noticed Kraussel motivating teammates during practice more this season than in past years.

“Every practice, there are one or two guys who keep the intensity going, and Brody has been taking that role recently,” said Likhovid. “Sometimes, everyone is sluggish and tired, and you’ll see Brody edging everybody on.”

Kraussel and Likhovid are three seasons into their partnership on the right side. Kraussel is extremely likable and has great chemistry with his teammates, according to Likhovid. The winger’s connection with his teammates, and the team’s newfound attacking mindset, has helped Kraussel reach new levels of performance, Likhovid said.

“He’s improved a lot in his one-versus-one play and his service has gotten better this year, but I think it’s also a result of our whole team playing better and attacking more,” Likhovid said. “It allows him more freedom to take his man on, and he’s getting the ball in attacking positions.”

Kraussel attributed his stellar play to the support he receives from his parents, who were also college athletes. He said sports are an easy way to bond with his family, who regularly attends home games and tailgates.

“I’m definitely blessed to have my parents at every home game,” Kraussel said. “My mom and dad are really involved and have really bought into the Rambler culture and soccer team since I’ve been here.”

While Kraussel said the assists and attention he receives feel great, he is focused on the team’s continued success and ensuring it reaches its full potential.

“It feels great to be one of the assist leaders, but I don’t really focus on the stats much,” said Kraussel. “My overall goal is to win games. The most important goal right now is to win the MVC and do well in the NCAA Tournament.”

Kraussel and the Loyola men’s soccer team are scheduled to face off against Northwestern University on Oct. 26.

A Haunting on the 14th (…or 13th) Floor


For many Loyola University Chicago Students, having a class inside the Mundelein Center at the school’s Lake Shore campus can be a stressful proposition. Whether it’s waiting in the seemingly endless elevator line at 7:30 in the morning, or navigating their way through the crowded staircases of the 14-story building, arriving to class on time is a feat worthy of its own celebration.

However, during this mad dash to get to class on time, most students remain oblivious to the morbid history hidden with in the walls of the building’s art deco facade.

21-year-old Spanish foreign exchange student Jose Garcia Nieto heard about the myth surrounding the haunted history of Mundelein and was curious as to whether or not it was true.

“I want to know if there really is a ghost who roams Mundelein’s halls,” Nieto said. “I have heard a lot of things from my friends, or friends of friends who claims to have seen the ghost.”

Who, or what, is this paranormal presence Jose is talking about?

According to an article published in the Loyola Phoenix in 2012, the legend dates back to when Mundelein Center was still known as Mundelein College, a private Catholic institution exclusively for women. Prior to Loyola’s purchase of the skyscraper in 1991, the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary ran day-to-day operations at the college and resided on the top three floors.

Mundelein College

Mundelein College Skyscraper Building Picture taken by Samuel A. Love and was taken from his Flickr account.

It was in the skyscraper’s residence floors that nun Sister Mary Prudence decided to end her life. After an alleged affair with a Jesuit priest left her pregnant, Sister Mary saw no other alternative but to hang herself in her dorm on the 14th floor.

And while Loyola Junior Margaret Sittig also has not seen any ghosts, she knows some people who claim to have “felt” something in the top floors.

“I have never felt or seen anything, but I know of some friends in the running club who have,” said Sittig. “Either way, I am not afraid of ghost even thought I do believe they exist.”

Before heading up to the 14th floor myself, I needed to research exactly how I was going to lure Sister Mary’s ghost from her otherworldly residence. The “How to Find Ghosts in Your House” wiki page proved extremely useful, and I begun my investigation. I brought along my friend Aisosa as my investigative assistant and unknowing security detail.

We took the main elevators to the 9th floor and then made our way to the side elevators that went all the way up to the 14th floor.

We expected to walk into a floor that had been gutted of all the walls and was being used as a storage space of some sorts. Yet, as Aisosa and I made our way out of the elevator, all we encountered was a group of students cramming for their final exams in what seemed to be a recently renovated office space.

Having failed to detect any spirits on the 14th floor, we decided to tempt fate on the 13th floor. After walking out of the stairwell, the atmosphere was definitely more conducive to a paranormal hunt. While the floor had also been recently renovated, most of the lights were off and was absent of any human presence other than our own.

I immediately took out my audio recorder and handed the camera to Aisosa. As the instructions on the wiki page stated, I walked around and asked the ghost questions such as, “Are you here Sister Mary?”, and “Why are you haunting Loyola students?”, but to no avail.

I decided to start taking pictures of the darkest areas of the floor to see if I noticed anything suspicious, as the wiki indicated. However, after countless photos were taken, nothing from the images seemed strange.

Eventually, after waiting for a few uneventful hours of sitting around and asking questions to a possibly non-existent being with no response, Aisosa and I decided to leave.

So, does the ghost of Mundelein actually roam the halls? While my investigation into the supposed presence of a ghost in Mundelein did not result in any concrete evidence proving the existence of a spirit,  I found nothing that points to the contrary.

So, one question remains. Do you believe in ghosts?


If you are brave enough to investigate some of the most haunted places in Chicago, check out this list compiled by Michael Kleen on the Mysterious Heartland website. 

Dead Roses: Has Derrick Rose worn out his welcome?

It was all going so well for the Chicago Bulls and starting point guard Derrick Rose in the spring of 2012.

Derrick Rose Attempts a Layup. Picture taken by Keith Allison on October 2010 and was taken from Flickr

Derrick Rose Attempts a Layup. Picture taken by Keith Allison on October 2010 and was taken from Flickr

The Chicago native had become the youngest player in the history of the National Basketball Association to be selected Most Valuable Player – the award given annually to the best player in the league – the previous season.

Bulls fan and Chicago-area native Aisosa Omorogbe remembers when he first heard of Rose.

“I remember the first time I heard about Derrick Rose was when my friend told me we had just drafted a sure thing. And he did turn out to be a sure thing, for a while at least”

Omorogbe, a 21-year-old medical student at Loyola University Chicago, moved to the United States when he was just 10 years old. It was around this time, he says, that he started to become a Bulls fan.

“When I first moved here when I was 10 from Nigeria, all I ever watched was soccer and cricket. But my father had been living here for a while and had become an NBA fan thanks to Michael Jordan. He used to have these drink coasters with the six NBA championship rings, they were super cool.”

Rose, affectionately known as “D-Rose” or “Poohdini”, was not just a name on Chicago Bulls fan’s lips. NBA fans around the country were in awe of his greatness, most of which he had yet to fulfill.

Ryan Hayes, a Detroit Pistons fan from Michigan who recently graduated from Loyola Chicago, also remembers watching Derrick Rose play in his prime.

“I just remember how explosive this guy was, he was a short dude yet he was dunking on people and flying to the rim at all times. He was a completely different player”

And three years into career his career, it seemed Rose had the league in his hands, ready to knock LeBron James and the Miami Heat off the NBA throne

Then, the unthinkable happened.

“Yea, I remember where I was when I first heard he got hurt,” recalls Omorogbe. “I was studying in my dorm when my friend burst into the room and said that D-Rose was seriously hurt. I was shocked.”

The Bulls were playing the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the playoffs and were blowing out their Eastern Conference counterparts when Rose collapsed to the floor awkwardly, grabbing his knee. He tore his ACL and was done for the 2012 playoffs and 2013 season, yet Bulls fans would soon find out the road to recovery was much longer.

Derrick Rose poses for an Adidas commercial. Photo was taken by Adidas on July 2011 and was taken from Flickr

Derrick Rose poses for an Adidas commercial. Photo was taken by Adidas on July 2011 and was taken from Flickr

Then came the Adidas commercials, the ones depicting a city frozen in time, waiting for the return of one of it’s own sports heroes. A return that wouldn’t come for another year. Rose would injure his right knee only weeks after his first comeback, shutting him down once again for most of the 2014-2015 NBA season.

“Yea, those probably didn’t help too much. It was a big risk by Adidas that didn’t pay off,” says Hayes, who thought the ads were a bad idea when they first aired.

“There was just way too much hype surrounding his return and the ads definitely contributed to that,” says Omorogbe. “Everyone put too much pressure on him to comeback as his old self. Maybe that is what did him in.”

So, what does an ardent Bulls fan like Aisosa Omorogbe think of Rose now?

“He has already given so much to this city and vice versa, I think now would be a good time to end the relationship and go both ways,” Omorogbe lamented. “I don’t think he’ll ever be what he used to be, an MVP.”

What about an NBA fan like Ryan Hayes? Does D-Rose owe anything to the Bulls or vice versa?

“Absolutely not. He signed a contract with the Chicago Bulls and they had to honor it no matter what. They knew the injury risk involved with highly paid athletes and unfortunately it backfired on them,” Hayes reiterated. Being a Pistons fan means Hayes has no loyalty to either team or player, which gives him a little more objectivity when it comes to this topic.

It’s clear that the relationship between Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls and their fans has been rocky for some time. And with his impending free agency just around the corner, the Bulls and D-Rose will have a huge decision to make.

While D-Rose hit the professional basketball scene running, winning the MVP trophy in only his third NBA season, it is safe to say that his time in Chicago has been disappointing until now. His multiple injuries and set-backs have soured his reputation amongst a fan base who once adored their hometown hero. Is it too late for Rose and the Bulls to make amends, or will Rose leave once his contract is up? One question Bulls – and NBA fans – will be asking themselves for a long time is “what if…?”

Chief Keef Does NOT Like Losing Video Games

Picture taken by Wikimedia user swimfinfan

Chief Kief performing at Lollapalooza 2012. Picture taken by Wikimedia user swimfinfan

A “beef” between Chicago rapper Chief Keef and the previous tenants of a Minneapolis-area home stemming from online video-gaming has left three women temporarily homeless, according to a report from Channel 9 KMSP, a local Fox affiliate.

20-year-old Keith Cozart, who goes by the stage name “Chief Keef”, sent out a tweet asking for his fans to throw “eggs and sh*t” at a house and subsequently tweeted the address, which is no longer posted.

Unfortunately for Ashley and her two roommates, the people Chief Keef was trying to mess with had already moved out of the house months before. Ashley and her two roommates were forced to leave their house for fear of their own safety after Keef’s fans began showing up to their home. Ashley is now temporarily living out of her car.

While he has not been legally charged with a crime as of the writing of this post, this is the latest in a series of troubling events over the past few years of Chief Keef’s life. Before becoming one of the better known rappers of his generation, Keith Cozart was arrested for heroin manufacturing and sentenced to house arrest. That is when Mr. Cozart became Mr. Keef and began rapping and filming music videos in his home.

After becoming the face of Chicago’s “Drill” music scene with his hit song “I Don’t Like” – remixed by non other than Chicago and rap legend Kanye West and is very NSFW – Keef began to take heat from anti-violence and women groups for the way in which Chief Keef glorified gang life.

His music’s aggressive and “gangster” style was seen by many as having a negative influence on the young people who lived in the Chicago neighborhoods most affected by the rise in the street violence over the last half-decade.

While most of his arrests (of which there are plenty) were due to smoking weed in public and disorderly conduct, prosecutors asked for the state to arrest the rapper for violating his probation by being filmed holding weapons at a gun range. While this led to Chief Keef moving to Los Angeles to avoid prosecution, a feud stemming from the beginning of his career may have been the catalyst for the anti-Keef backlash the artist has experienced in the past few years.

The death of rapper Joseph “Lil JoJo” Coleman put Chief Keef at the center of another local -and national -controversy. Shortly before the death of Lil JoJo (who was one of Chief Keef’s local rivals), members of Keef’s entourage posted a video threatening and harassing Lil JoJo. Keef didn’t help matters by tweeting that Lil JoJo wanted to “be just like us” with the hashtag #LMAO the day Lil JoJo’s death was announced. While no one has officially charged Keef or his entourage with anything in connection with the case, rumors still fly as to who killed 18-year-old Joseph Coleman.

Chief Keef also made news recently for having a hologram concert to raise money for a member of his entourage who had recently been killed in Indiana shut down prematurely.

While the popular saying states that any publicity is good publicity, that may not be the case with Chief Keef. Whether it was due to his debut album performing poorly or all the negative publicity surrounding the rapper, Interscope Records dropped Keef from the label in late 2014. While he has already signed for a new label and is currently working on a new album, the rapper now makes more news for his legal troubles than for his music. That is something Chief Keef definitely does not like.