Sheldon & his wife at the ADCOLOR awards
Sheldon Levy is Deputy Director of Broadcast Production at SaatchiNY. He was recently featured on H/H for his work with the Marhtha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival, which you can read more about here. If you’re interested in learning more about Sheldon, feel free to check out his LinkedIn page.
WHAT DO YOU DO AT SAATCHI & SAATCHI?
Despite the lofty appellation I am still a PRODUCER. However, I wear many hats. I work on almost all of our client’s businesses. I have been fortunate to wear many hats including: talent scout, drill sergeant & film festival curator.
Over the years I have had the pleasure of seeking out and hiring many of our most accomplished producers. They become my pupils; but only for a short time. I find myself today in the role of pupil to many of the people I recruited and mentored.
I am also responsible for our sponsorship of The Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival. I chair the group of Saatchi people who review the films and choose the Winner of our Nothing is impossible Producers Award.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB?
I was a Production Assistant at WLIB Radio in New York. I was a senior in High School and the radio station was 1 block away from the school. AS luck would have it, they always hired one student a year to work after school. I was 17.
WHAT LED YOU ON THE PATH YOU’RE ON TODAY?
When I was a pre-law freshman at Columbia, I saw a film titled Citizen Cane. The Orson Wells epic altered my DNA and the course of my life. I decided to eschew Political Science and Law for a career as a film director. I wanted to make films. Four decades later I’ve produced hundreds of them; mostly of the thirty-second variety.
IF YOU WEREN’T IN ADVERTISING WHAT CAREER WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO TRY?
My alternate career path would either be as a chef, or a jazz promoter. I’m sorry I never kept up with my piano lessons
WHAT IS YOUR BEST “NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE” STORY?
The whole of 2010.
My favorite moment is always the last . . . which in this case was last Thursday night when a client wanted an animated Christmas spot to be on the web in 1 week at a 10th of the normal budget. We persuaded one of the best animation houses in the business to do it for the money and in time. The film looks great.
TELL US SOMETHING SURPRISING ABOUT YOURSELF:
There are two things most people don’t know about me:
I love to cook. I am self-taught so my family has had patiently endure a fair share of misfires as I pursue my culinary passion.
I am also an amateur church historian. I’ve always been intrigued by the history of the papacy and the splintering of Christianity.
WHAT ARE YOUR LOVEMARKS?
The most important one is Family. My wife of 28 years is the Lover who became my best friend. My sister is the Angel who was put on this earth to save me time and time again. My two children are the living proof of God’s hand in my life. They are my heroes. My mom in heaven gave all of us every ounce of herself. My mother in law made me her son.
My other biggest Lovemark is Jazz. There is no music in America without Jazz . . . and the NFL is a close third.
FAVORITE CHILDHOOD TELEVISION SHOW?
When I was a kid I used to battle with my big sister who wanted to watch American Bandstand while I waned to watch Bozo. I loved the Swamp Fox Zorro. But, we can’t forget Superman. I spent years running around my mom’s apartment in my underwear with a blanket tucked into my undershirt.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CREATIVE PURSUIT?
I have two favorite pursuits:
I love to watch the film classics again and again. I find it’s a great way to dissect and digest the craft.
I also listen to, and study Jazz.
WHAT DO YOU DO FOR FUN?
WHAT BLOGS/MAGAZINES/BOOKS/PAPERS/WEBSITES CAN YOU NOT LIVE WITHOUT?
WBGO.ORG and CooksIllustrated.com.
HAVE YOU EVER WON A TROPHY?
I have won a Tiffy (The ADCOLOR award) as a Legend. I also won a lifetime achievement award from MAIP
BOOK THAT YOU’RE CURRENTLY READING:
I am currently reading two books.
POPS—The biography of Louis Armstrong and “Like a snowflake falling…The Warren Buffet Biography
A GUILTY PLEASURE FOR ME IS:
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE GREATEST INVENTION OF YOUR LIFETIME & WHY?
I think that the greatest invention in my lifetime has been the personal computer. I believe that it has been the great equalizer. It’s a mentor, a teacher, a babysitter and a window to the entire world.
WHAT’S THE LAST SONG YOU LISTENED TO?
The last son I listened to was ‘Favorite Things” by John Coltrane
WHAT’S THE LAST GREAT TRIP YOU WERE ON?
The last great trip went on was to Hawaii with My family. I love Hawaii. It is my favorite spot on earth.
WHEN’S THE LAST TIME YOU GAVE A STANDING OVATION?
At the recent ADCOLOR awards in Miami. It was to Honor Roy Eaton. He blazed trials in the world of advertising and music that made it possible for a kid from the projects in Harlem to be featured in this blog.