Mark Corff -- Freelance Television Production Experience
602-954-8227(o) * 602-770-1427(m) * email@example.com
I officially started my career in television during the summer of 1965, working as a clerical assistant for Dick Clark. This allowed me to dance on American Bandstand on the weekends just for fun. I loved it.
Once I graduated from High School, I decided to take a year off before college to figure out who I was and what I wanted to be. I managed to find a job working for a man named Barney McNulty. At that time Barney owned the only television cue card company on the West Coast. This was the summer of 1968, which meant I was able to work on every popular show that was on the air then. This included shows like Laugh-in, The Carol Burnett shows, The Dean Martin Shows, etc.
The interesting thing about working cue-cards was you had to understand what each camera person was shooting (how wide or tight their shot was) so you wouldn't accidentally get caught with your cue-card in a shot. You had to understand lighting so you wouldn't cast a shadow. You had to learn about the boom microphones so you wouldn't get in their way, and you had to work closely with talent (and their sometime temperaments), and Stage Managers to know what they were thinking in the booth -- it was all a wonderful training ground for a craft which I now knew I wanted to be a part of.
I decided I wanted to go to a college that had the best telecommunication department in the country. At the time, that was San Diego State. They had a top-of-the-line broadcast studio which also doubled for the local PBS station. They had visiting professors such as Desi Arnaz (whose class I was lucky enough to attend), Steve Allen and Jerry Lewis. It was a very hands on school. I graduated with a 3.5 grade point average which included a minor in Theatre Arts.
Coming back to Los Angeles I first found a job working as a Usher at ABC. There I got to watch the making of all of their west coast productions (shows like the Lawrence Welk Show, the Merv Griffin Show and the Joey Bishop Show, etc.). Seeing no opportunity to advance beyond Usher, I left after a year and began selling air-time for the number one rock station in Los Angeles, KIIS radio. This led to friendships with some of the on-air talent, including Jay Thomas, Rick Dees, Charlie Tuna, etc.
I left KIIS radio to take a position with a man named Sam Riddle (this was before he created and produced the show Star Search). At that time, he was not only a number one LA disc jockey at KRLA radio, he also had his own local TV show – similar to American Bandstand – called 9th Street West. I persuaded Sam that like him, I was coming from radio but really wanted to be working in television. He hired me for his new television production company, SRO Productions. From that start I climbed the television production ladder. I worked at scores of production companies as Production Coordinator, Associate Producer, Production Supervisor, and finally Producer.
Once I was a Producer, I hired myself into the Director's Guild of America. I worked as a Stage Manager, then Associate Director and finally Director. To date I have worked on hundreds of major Specials, Variety Shows, Game Shows, Sit Coms and Soap Operas. This includes specials with Bob Hope and George Burns, music Shows such as Ray Charles and Aretha Franklyn, Soap Operas such as Young and the Restless and General Hospital, Game Shows such as Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune and Talk Shows such as the Tonight Show and David Letterman, as well as my fair share of Commercials.
In 1990 I started American Video Productions. A company specializing in producing, marketing and selling special interest video tapes. During that time I managed to partner with Proctor & Gamble, Madison Square Garden, 3M National Advertising, as well as a host of others.
In 1992 I Directed the International version of the Newport Jazz Festival in Newport, Rhode Island. The man directing the National PBS version of the show was Norman Abbott. Norman was legally born the nephew and later adopted by Bud Abbott of Abbott and Costello fame. He was an ex-vaudeville comedian himself and had the distinction of directing every Jack Benny television show in the fifties and early sixties. We were both editing our respective shows in New York City.
While waiting for our flight back to Los Angeles, Norman spotted a pretty girl at the next gate over. Without me noticing he walked over to her and said "Hello, my name is Norman Abbott and I'm with the FBI," pointing to me he said "I'm taking my prisoner to jail over there ... but I have to use the men's room ... would you mind watching after him for me until I get back?" She, of course, knew he was kidding and he convincingly walked her over to meet me -- that's how I met my wife.
In 1994 I left Los Angeles to marry her and help with the raising of her two kids. We lived in a postage size town called St. Joseph, Michigan, 110 miles directly across Lake Michigan from Chicago. Not knowing what to do with myself in this tiny town, I drove every day into Chicago and started working the early news shows at WBBM (CBS Affiliate), WLS (ABC Affiliate) but mostly at WFLD (Fox Affiliate). Pretty soon I was hired to work on the Danny Bonaduce series produced by Disney.
Frustrated by the long daily drive and working mostly local shows, I decided to leave television and go to work in the high tech industry. Having a weekly paycheck I could count on was something my wife especially appreciated. The Internet was just starting up and I (working in Sales and Sales Management) was quickly recruited from job to job which naturally came with more responsibility and better pay. Unfortunately, these career moves entailed a great deal of moving around the country. When MCI moved us to Scottsdale, AZ we both knew we found our home.
From there I was offered employment with GHA Technologies. One of the top resellers of computers, software and integration services in the country. GHA Technologies has been in business twenty three years and resells such names as HP, Dell, Lenovo, Apple, Microsoft, Oracle, Sybase, just to name a few. This is essentially an independent contractors job which I do from my home. Meantime, since I missed doing television production, I started another independent company called Marsalco Entertainment where I sometimes work on corporate videos.
The blue Directors Guild tab above lists some of my DGA credits (either as Director, Associate Director or Stage Manager). The tab next to it labeled Production Credits includes some of my production experience (Producer, Associate Producer, Production Supervisor and Production Coordinator). Finally, the tab labeled High Technologies includes my high-tech resume.
If there are any questions or concerns about anything you see here -- I trust you will call me. Meantime, thank you for your time reading and for any potential interest.