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Director and producer returns to his “home” high school


When 2001 graduate Zack Ford came back to town, Skaneateles art students learned about filmmaking, directing and – maybe most importantly – the art of branding and re-invention.
They learned that being talented isn’t enough for an artist. They also have to cultivate traits like determination and confidence.
“It might be hard to raise your voice to say ‘I am a director,’ or ‘I am a photographer’,” Ford said. “But if you can’t say it, who will?”
A prolific writer with a passion for screenwriting, Ford did many things to support himself after graduating from New York University with degrees in both Dramatic Writing, and Film and TV Production (BFA ’05) –  including working as a copywriter for one of the biggest ad agencies in the world, Grey. He had taken a detour into managing a small stable of Hollywood writers and directors when he realized he wanted to get back to his own root passion of storytelling.
“If I want to be an artist, how do I do that?” he asked himself. “I was already a produced writer, but I knew that to grow further into my own, I had to brand myself as a director. I’d have to be not just the daydreaming artist, but the brass tacks businessman. I set out to become both sides of the coin.”
Ford knew that no one else would call him a director if HE didn’t identify himself that way. “You have to be your first follower,” he said.
“It is so important to be confident in what you do,” he told art students. “I’ve got to be that person.”
Ford thus rebranded Barbaric as a kind of experiment to see just how today’s technology could empower storytelling. He realized he didn’t need a crew, a post-production house – or even what you might consider a real camera. He invented a camera frig for the iPhone6 and invented a workflow to shoot, direct, edit, sound mix, and color correct his films himself. The experiment turned out to be a success – and only two months ago, Ford found himself to be a one-man content creating army. “I became my first follower, and used Barbaric to signal that to the world,” he said.
“Now I am a director because someone else said it,” he explained – and, sure enough, that’s what the tech blogs are now calling him.
“In the words of Kurt Vonnegut, you are what you pretend to be,” said Ford.
The day before he visited his old high school, an on line media source – RedShark News - reviewed his short documentary “Wet Plates” and  gave it high praise. Ford has already garnered 4,000 views in a matter of weeks. “That’s like selling out a large New York City movie theater ten times over, and I did it with really no budget, all from my studio apartment.”
Now he has an attachment of a director and a producer on an original screenplay he is writing.
“A secret touchstone,” he calls it. “There is a duality to everything I do.”
He had branded and promoted others in order to support himself.  But in the end, it was when he turned around to brand and to promote himself that he got to where he wanted to go.
“Within a year, I’ll be actively realizing and manifesting in my work what I’ve been building towards my whole life,” he said.See more at
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Lynda Quick
45 East Elizabeth Street
Skaneateles, NY 13152