Thursday, February 7, 2019

My Top 12 Movie Picks

Everyone has at least ten, right?  Tell you what... Let's make it 12.   In this very short yet revealing post, herein are my personal flicks that have shaped my life and perspective of it:

1) Casablanca
2) When Harry Met Sally
3) Full Metal Jacket
4) Suckers
5) Swingers
6) Heat
7) Glory
8) The Big Lebowski
9) Any Given Sunday
10) Office Space
11) Old School
12) Great Expectations

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A Lot can be Told About a Person

The privilege of driving (or having a driver's license) I was once told by my friendly high school Driver's Ed teacher at the time, is just that - privilege.  It seems, however, that over the past few years, privileges, not the least of which driving, are clearly being taken for granted by a noticeable portion of society.

Is it just me?  It doesn't feel like it.  In my typical, inquisitive yet unscientific way, I surveyed those around me with the question.  In a nutshell, they've generally concurred.

Sadly, driving around town has been increasingly wrought with the combined plagues of fellow drivers who clearly have little skill behind the wheel, aren't familiar with basic traffic laws, have zero regard for others on the road (it's all about ME attitude) and worst of all, don't really seem to care.  There have always been "bad" drivers from time to time, no dispute there.  But I do remember a more courteous time where it was common to not come to a complete stop in the middle of a road where there's no indication that stopping is "OK," and not seeming to give a damn to boot.

I'll have more on this general topic in future posts - that's my promise to you.  With the amount of driving I do in Los Angeles every day, believe me I have way too much to share on this subject.  This short diatribe serves only as an introduction to a dynamic of the human condition I have come to realize through numerous first hand experiences.  Much indeed, can be told about a person's approach to life and the treatment of others around them by three things:

1) The way they drive.  Could you have guessed this one?  What I've come to find out in my 22 years of driving thus far are personalities are on full display on the roads we share.  It almost seems as if the culprits of selfish driving practices act out in a way that suggests they believe no one is looking.  Well, everyone is looking, actually.

Aggressive acceleration and braking.  The classic cutoff from two lanes away.  Turn signal perhaps?  I think not.  How about the one where a lane change is attempted and the vehicle you would end up in front of decides to all of sudden speed up so as to not allow you the room to merge in.  Tell me, what was the point of that?  Aren't we supposed to share the road?  Bottom line: if your fellow driver on the road acts aggressively, selfishly or rudely, you can bet that when it comes down to it in other life circumstances, they'll act in that same fashion.  Watch for this.  It's amazing what you'll discover. 

2) The way they treat servers at a restaurant.  Generally, the same principals as point #1 here apply, but with some revision.  Rudeness on display applies here too, but is the end result of pride, rooted in a type of superiority (or inferiority?) complex.  Put simply, this very easily translates to a lack of the ability to be a humble person.  Regardless of alleged social status, if a person cannot do something as simple as be kind and respectful to another who is serving them, not only are they insecure but they're also petty.  Stay away from this kind of person!  Given the opportunity, they'll give you the same treatment.  

3) The way they treat animals.  This is the third area of a person's traits that I've noticed to be an unconscious indicator of personality.  Here, the same holds essentially true as point #2.  Read #2 and repeat here.  The only thing to add to this is that at the very least, a server at a restaurant can talk back - Animals can't.  If you've got a person on your hands who mistreats animals, that too says plenty of pride, petty notions of superiority and perhaps even violence in some cases.

As person who loves humanity (and nature / animals), it breaks my heart to see individuals act out in the ways that I've described.  I realize that some or all of this can be taken as a grim outlook on people as a whole.  I don't want that to be the perception here at all.  Remember that while these are simply personal experiences and evaluations of these negatives in the human condition, the opposite of these traits also exists.  It's those people who share the opposing traits of those herein that can and do serve as an example for the rest to follow and eventually, little by little change for the better.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Nick Zgradic, An Abridged Biography

In 1998, Nick Zgradic began his career in motion picture lighting by landing an inside sales and operations position at a then, small lighting manufacturer in North Hollywood by the name of K5600 Lighting, Inc. There, Nick was exposed to HMI lighting technology through the vast lens of knowledge of Gilles Galerne, designer and engineer of the now industry standard Joker-Bug HMI lighting kits. It was here that Nick’s passions for technology, image making and business were awakened. It was also here that a solid commitment to customer satisfaction was instilled as a key element to the success of a business and a product.

1999 was the year that Nick picked up a 35mm Minolta camera for the second time (the first time being when he was a young boy, but didn’t know what to do with his dad’s Minolta camera) and immediately became enamored with creating editorial images of beauty, fashion and personal expression through the relationship that a photographer and model share. Every photograph in this portfolio of images was meticulously designed and thought through from a combined technical and emotional stand point. This lead to the absolute adherence of carefully positioned lighting and composition of models, elements, locations and effects. This near fanatical combination ushered in various exhibitions, publications and awarded accomplishments for many of the images he produced.

After nearly nine years of service at K5600 Lighting, Nick Zgradic resigned from his post there and founded a small lighting accessory business named Empire Sales & Service in 2006. Servicing primarily the motion picture lighting industry, Empire Sales & Service was a manufacturer and distributor of various lighting components, most notably stainless steel wire diffusion (scrims), apple boxes, barndoors and lens rings, sand, shot and scrim bags, custom cases, electrical connectors, cable assemblies, etc.

The years 2012-2013 brought about the development and launch of a unique studio lighting fixture by Nick Zgradic known as the SpaceBox.  The SpaceBox is touted as an "updated idea to a classic studio lighting solution," and has since been known as "the NEW space light" for the motion picture and television episodic / broadcast worlds.  The SpaceBox started of as a fluorescent system, and while remarkably efficient, like many other traditional production lighting tools, the SpaceBox has transitioned into an LED variant.  The SpaceBox LED is enjoying great success in both the sales and rental environments.

The Los Angeles Firm and SpaceBox Lighting Systems are both owned and operated by Nick Zgradic and both work through strategic professional relationships throughout the entertainment and industrial realms.

The future looks bright…  Particularly with the advent of the new Blogger pages coming soon designed to be a beacon of technical information for all of the latest LED lighting systems in the entertainment and industrial worlds.  Be sure to subscribe to this blog to stay updated on how bright that future will indeed be!

Also be sure to visit the next time you need help with a broadcast studio lighting project for entertainment or industrial applications. We're here to help!

Learn all about the SpaceBox and SpaceBox Lighting Systems by visiting