The Persistence of Anthony Snitzer

Videography: the process of capturing moving images on electronic media, including video production and post-production.  It is analagous with cinematography, with the images recorded on electronic media instead of film stock.

There’s an article from the New York Times in 2011 headlined What Your Beard Says About You.  The part that most stuck out to me was the author saying that “to many bosses, a beard is a dangerous sign, like a neck tattoo or a pierced nose, that says ‘I am a free spirit.'”  After knowing Anthony Snitzer since 2003 when he was conscripted to work on a film of mine (Bad Service) and watching his burgeoning career as a videographer, i’m happy to report that he now sports a rugged salt-and-pepper collection of facial follicles.  It’s a sure sign that he’s climbed a few rungs of the ladder to his dream.  No longer a computer programmer, bartender, or server who engages in videography in his spare time, this 43-year-old husband and father of four is now the Director of Video Programming for Rover’s Morning Glory, a syndicated morning drive-time radio show on Cleveland’s rock station WMMS.  Working for the program was an unlikely move for Snitzer.

“A couple weeks before I got hired, I was talking to Debbie, my wife,” Snitzer said.  “We listen to Rover occasionally.  Something came on, and they were yelling at each other.  I said ‘I would hate to work on that show.  It was literally two weeks before I went for the interview.  I hadn’t applied yet.  I wasn’t even thinking about it then.”

Snitzer made it clear that he works for Rover’s Morning Glory — not Clear Channel Communications, the San Antonio mass media company that syndicates the program.

“He interviewed me specifically,” Snitzer says of the show’s host, Shane French.  “I don’t exactly know why I got the job.  Probably because of the wide variety of things I’ve done.  I didn’t just do editing, or shooting.  I kind of did everything.  Especially from Bad Service.  I got to do everything.  It was the first thing I’d ever completed.”

When i first met Snitzer, Bad Service was in early pre-production, just a first draft of a screenplay and a crazy scheme to make a feature length film on severely limited budget (i.e. none whatsoever).  Around that time, Snitzer and his family lived in Pittsburgh, where he attended film school at Point Park University.  While going through some difficult times there, he and his wife decided to return to the Cleveland area.
“I was there for a couple of semesters, and we ran out of money,” Snitzer said.  “I think we made the right decision.  We paid off our bills and came back.  During that time, that’s when you guys were writing Bad Service.  I’d come back and got an email saying ‘we’re working on this thing.  You want to shoot it?’ That summer we shot was the rest of my film schooling right there.”
Prior to that experience, Snitzer struggled to find his niche.  His duty to his family is the most important thing to him, and it was difficult to balance his desire to pursue his creative passions and his responsibility as a parent.
“It’s tough,” Snitzer said.  “I had my kids, and a wife.  You can’t just drop everything and go do whatever you want.  When I was a kid, I moved around a lot.  It’s not in my DNA to settle.  But my family is everything to me.  And I think my goals and everything I want to accomplish will help everyone in the long run.  And it’s cool now that my kids are older.  I don’t think it’s too late to start a whole new career.  They’ll understand.  I’ll be 50 when they’re all graduated from high school.  That’s still young.”
Snitzer credits his wife Debbie for much of his strength and motivation.  They recently celebrated their 20th anniversary.
“She’s awesome, she’s my best friend,” Snitzer said.  “We’ve grown together.  Which is cool about our relationship.  We started out at a certain place.  We were both little punk rockers, and we’ve grown together almost exactly the same.  We share the same values and views.”
On a personal level, what drives Snitzer is an ambition to leave his mark in the world.
“I want to leave something behind,” Snitzer said.  “I want to do my own feature film, writing and directing, because I have personal stories I want to tell.  My ultimate goal is to create something of my own.  I’ve done a couple of things, but I have not done the thing I want to do yet.”
Snitzer cites Bad Service as his favorite thing he has done to date.  This is surprising, coming from someone who has since worked on films like Fun Size and Avengers, had his animated film Banana Seat selected for the Cleveland International Film Festival, won best cinematography in the Cleveland 48 Hour Film Festival for Closer Than They Appear, garnered attention through music videos he shot for Cleveland hip hop artists Smokescreen, and more.
Avengers was awesome,” Snitzer said.  “But Bad Service there was just so much…maybe because nobody has really seen it?  Which we should fix.” He enjoyed being so heavily involved in every aspect of the film from start to finish.
It’s important to note here that there would be no Bad Service for people to see, or not see, were it not for Snitzer.  Other than the cast and maybe one or two other titles, every name in the credits is his.  The shooting, editing, audio, special effects, you name it — all Snitzer.  That fiercely independent spirit and willingness to go to great personal lengths springs directly from his role models in the film world.
“For inspiration, it has to be Robert Rodriguez,” Snitzer said of the filmmaker he most admires.  “Especially from reading his book Rebel Without a Crew, you think ‘I could do this. I could do that. I could do everything.‘ He shoots.  He edits.  He writes and directs.”

In regards to this, that, and the other things, Snitzer’s website functions as the hub for his career, showcasing the work he’s done in animation, cinematography, editing, motion graphics, and video effects.  Visitors to his site can view samples of his work, and links direct users to other Snitzer-centric locations like his Facebook pageLinkedIn profileTwitter pageVimeo account, and IMDb entry.  The Internet and social media play a big role in networking and getting your work seen.

“It’s super easy to get in contact with anybody,” Snitzer said.  “At the same time, people are seeing stuff that I shot here [in Cleveland], they’re seeing it all over the world.  When I post something new, like the Avengers blog, I got a lot of hits from Avengers fans.”

“If you get the right person to play something, you’re set,” Snitzer said.  “That’s really what it is.  But it’s not just about advertising yourself.  If you give the audience something to share, something they can take from your film that means something personal, something to make them actually care about the film and the filmmaker, something to latch onto, then they’ll share it with their friends.”

“When people think ‘this guy’s doing something I really like,’ or ‘this guy’s just like me: he was a waiter and now he’s shooting a film,’ that’s cool,” Snitzer said.  “People actually care about the people making the film now, the people behind the scenes.  They [filmmakers] keep up on social media.  They post about their movie, and what they’re doing.  People talk to them, and they talk back to fans.  That’s just amazing to me.”

Interactivity through social media has also aided Snitzer with what he sees as his biggest challenge: shyness.

“I always tell Debbie, if I got over that, I’d be made,” Snitzer said.  “I’d be made in the shade.  It would be so much easier because I think I’m pretty creative, and I have good ideas.  But nobody knows those things because I don’t tell anybody.”

“Also, not knowing…there’s no blueprint for what I want to do,” Snitzer added.  “Everybody makes it in Hollywood a different way.  I try not to burn bridges, and network, and keep in contact with people I’ve met or worked with.”

Snitzer’s best advice for anyone interested in filmmaking is a theme evident throughout his own life experiences and pursuit of his goals.

“Just keep going,” Snitzer said.  “I’ve had tons of opportunities to not do this.  I could have stayed a computer programmer, and worked a 9-5 job, and had a nice house in the suburbs.  But that’s not what I want.  It’s hard to give advice though, because I’m not there yet.  I’m not where I want to be.  I’m on the way, I think.”

On the way, Snitzer continues to do work and stay informed on the cutting edge of technology.  He has several freelance projects going on, a couple of writing projects, and is planning another animation project.  Working on a children’s program also interests him.  He also hopes to resume his working relationship with Marvel Studios and get on the crew of Captain America: The Winter Soldier when the production will be filming in NE Ohio in 2013.

In the meantime, he’ll continue his role with Rover’s Morning Glory, as well as with Turnstyle Films, a Cleveland film production company with an expanding portfolio of short films and music videos that plan to begin production on their first feature length film in 2013.

“Just gotta keep trying,” Snitzer echoes his earlier sentiment.

*     *     *     *     *
And that’s interview #2 for you.  It was a real pleasure to speak with Anthony for nearly two hours and get his perspective on everything from moving around a lot as a child to the state of the film industry.  Since i’ve personally worked with him in the past, i’m well aware of his dedication to his work, an example i’ve often used to keep myself motivated.  Seriously, you’d be hard pressed to find someone more intuitive, more eager to learn and improve, and more capable of putting enormous effort into whatever project he takes on.
The best thing someone can learn from Anthony is that there’s a way to do whatever it is you set out to do.  In regards to his specialty, videography, it’s quite astounding how innovative and creative he can be with little to no resources, just his imagination and considerable hard work.  The time i spent working with him is a treasured memory that i hope to experience again someday.
In the meantime, i’ll be following his career as he continues to move forward to bigger and better things.  i hope that you do too.
Later this week, stop back for a break between interviews to explore some other interesting topics.  The end of the semester at school is approaching and time will be crunched more than usual.  But i’ll do my best to squeeze in as many interviews with other people doing their own media thing.  There’s a guy i met recently who just started his own local news website, an old friend with a brilliant satire news publication, a really really old friend working as an actor in NYC, and more on the slate.
Thanks for visiting!


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