Sunday, February 21, 2021

"Do not pray for easy lives, pray to be stronger men."



"Do not pray for easy lives, pray to be stronger men."


Thursday, March 26, 2020

Don't Panic. We're Getting Back to Work.

Say what you will and call it what you will.  Regardless, this thing has been staring us in the face for a few weeks now here in the US.  As of the date of this writing, the president is putting out hopeful messages that American workers can get back to business by Easter 2020 or better.  Yet on the same day, the mayor Los Angeles is out there saying the city of LA would be in lock down for months to come. 

OK everyone, I'm not going to get into an exhaustive analysis as to who's right and wrong and for what reasons they may have.  What I will simply say is that while I firmly believe the steps we've taken as a society currently to combat this virus should be applauded and we need to continue to be diligent in our continued approach, we also need to get back to work - period.  ESPECIALLY in Los Angeles by the way, where so many of my colleagues, customers, vendors and FRIENDS have been immediately affected in horrible ways.  That includes myself.  Right now, I'm OK, but I know more than a handful of folks who aren't right now.  The whole town got shut down.  That's not right.  Keeping our town shut down for months isn't realistic. 

With that said, I wanted to post the following tract that I think is beautiful and thoughtfully written.  I posted it on my Facebook page earlier today too, but I wanted these words to be on a more permanent tableau.  I don't know who the author is, but I'd like to meet them, because in my view they hit the nail right on the head.  This was sent to me via text message a few days prior by a friend.  He passed it on to me, and now I'm passing it on to you.  This town will get back to work again - soon.

In theatre we have a tradition - whenever the theatre is empty we are always sure to leave one light on. Typically on a stand in the center of the stage, this light is known as the ghost light. There are many stories about its origin- but it’s meaning is unmistakable.

It means though the theatre is empty, WE WILL RETURN. So here’s to us. The actors, the technicians, the directors, the carpenters, the designers, the dancers, the teachers, the students, the freelancers, those on tour, those at sea, the electricians, the stitchers, the makers, the stage managers.... THE ARTISTS.

Many of us have taken big hits during this virus. Financial and emotional weights have come crashing down as our entire industry is reduced to nothing but a bunch of ghost lights. But those ghost lights are temporary place holders. They are a sign. We might be down now- but our passion, our creativity, our drive is still center stage. We’ll be unplugging those ghost lights in no time. Until then- here’s a ghost light- to let the world know we will be back.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Another Reason Why I'm Proud to be a Valley Boy

Wow... I've got a little extra air in my chest and spring in my step tonight.  Yes.  I was just informed by my local 11 o'clock news (which I rarely watch, but everything happens for a reason) that the three most dangerous intersections in Los Angeles are right smack in the middle of the grand district of Van Nuys, CA.

It just so happens that I spend A LOT of time driving through this part of town, and indeed these intersections.  Drum roll please, here they are:

1) Coming in at the top spot with 47 crashes last year (2019) is the beautiful intersection of Sherman Way and Sepulveda Blvd.

2) Second place goes to Burbank Blvd. and Sepulveda Blvd. where one of the primary entry points to the famed Interstate 405 (aka "snore-O-5") lives and breaths every single day at 8:00 am and 4:30 - 5:00 pm.  43 crashes there last year in 2019... And also in Van Nuys, CA.

3) And last but not least is the intersection of Sherman Way and Woodman Ave.  Hmm... Are we seeing a pattern here?  Yes we are!   Because... This intersection is also in Van Nuys!  Woo hoo!  Number of crashes at the number three spot?  That would be 40.

Doing the math brings us to a total of 130 crashes last year in 2019.  Now this begs the question, why does Van Nuys hold this title in a city as large and sprawling as Los Angeles?  I'm not quite sure.  That part of town is generally pretty mellow, although if you go out looking for trouble, you'll probably find it.

But beyond that, one reason could be the exorbitant quantity of strip clubs and billboards advertising those strip clubs at virtually every single corner; above the guy with the paper sign begging for cash who's there in the same spot... literally every day.

And speaking of that guy, maybe it could be the spectacle of the sheer quantity of homeless encampments, also on every single corner.  And not just in Van Nuys, by the way.  I personally get a kick out of seeing virtual garbage dumps and homeless communities just down the block or around the corner of a $2 Million per home neighborhood in Hollywood and surrounding areas. 

Or it could also be because half the population here in Van Nuys is pretty much stoned all the time.  Seriously, you can't drive down the street with your window down for more than 45 seconds without catching the vapors from some a-hole's mobile hotbox while cruising down Oxnard Street... Oh yeah, where there also happens to be another strip club and two pot dispensaries... One of which used to be a bicycle shop.  My how people's priorities change.

A lot to look at and watch out for.  Too bad people aren't watching out for the stop lights instead.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Chick-Fil-A Needs Chicken & Waffles

Come on everybody out there, who’s with me?  I'm not making any bones about it... Particularly because I don't want bones in my chicken.  It’s high time that Chick-Fil-A puts everyone’s secret favorite on the menu.  This is the beginning of the great march towards getting the diet-busting American gourmet dish at a drive-thru near you!  

I’ll let my letter to Chick-Fil-A do the talking in order to kick this thing off.  In my view, this is an absolute duty on the part of chick-Fil-A to bring their flavor and convenience to our passenger seats while stuck on the freeway. 

And so, my request read as follows sent on the evening of Saturday 1/25/2020…

Why don't you have chicken and waffles? Seriously? You need to have chicken and waffles. You can put it in a box so you can pick, dip (in syrup) and eat while in the car on the freeway. You could even make your own sandwich with the chicken and waffle bits out of the box, then dip and then eat THAT while you're driving on the freeway... Or around town. You know. Look I just don't have the time to call in and wait to pick up at Roscoe’s every time. I have to drive to Hollywood to do that. I live in Sherman Oaks. You know what that means? I need to drive up and over the hill, through traffic to get to Gower and Sunset. Not the easiest thing to do my friends. I mean seriously, have you ever done that on a regular basis? It's rough. At any rate, there are more Chick Fil A's than there are Roscoes', so please send me a coupon... Or two, when you guys launch this thing because that would really help me out. Now excuse me, I need to go fill up the tank so I can make it to Hollywood. See you in a couple of hours...

REPLY FROM Chick-Fil-A!  We need more comments to keep this momentum going!  

Chick-fil-A CARES Information 18109765: 1/31/2020

Dear Mr. Zgradic:

Thank you for taking the time to contact Chick-fil-A.  You are very important to us and we appreciate you sharing your thoughts with us.

Chick-fil-A is fortunate to have many loyal customers. Many of these fans take the time and effort to inquire about sharing their own ideas about ways they wish to see us improve - whether it is adding a specific new product, service or feature. We are grateful for our customers' intent, and this motivates us to work even harder to keep improving. Unfortunately, it is our corporate policy not to accept or consider any unsolicited creative ideas. This is a difficult decision because we realize that by following this policy, Chick-fil-A may miss out on some great ideas from our customers. We would rather miss out on some of these ideas than to risk any potential future misunderstanding should Chick-fil-A develop or already have developed a product, service, or feature that may seem similar to a customer's idea. We hope you will understand the reasons for our policy. You can view our Unsolicited Ideas Policy at ____ for more information. Beyond this policy, we gladly welcome customers' feedback about their restaurant experiences.

Again, thank you for your time and interest in Chick-fil-A.


Chick-fil-A CARES

Chick-fil-A...We Didn't Invent The Chicken, Just The Chicken Sandwich.

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 (YouTube only)
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 began to develop. 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.  

After about two years of founding stages for Empire Sales & Service were completed, the keys were handed off to investors who took on the products and added to other growing enterprises.  Starting in the summer of 2008, Nick Zgradic joined in the founding and development of a small studio lighting distributor in Los Angeles.  Nick engaged in every aspect of small business development in order to develop the operation into an efficient and respected dealer of professional equipment.  Nick parted ways with that project in early 2019 after accomplishing a long list of business development successes there.   

The years of 2012-2013 brought about the development and launch of a unique studio lighting fixture developed and designed 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, SpaceBox ULTRA and SpaceBox HORIZON are all enjoying great success in both the sales and rental worlds for both entertainment and corporate environments.  

In the summer of 2019, On Set Lighting, Inc. ( was born and introduced a new approach and thereby, an era of how professionals in the production industry buy specialty equipment.  As partners in this new corporation, Nick Zgradic and Craig "Burnie" Burns of Burnie's Grip & Lighting found that by combining their respective resources, some much needed fresh air would enter into the professional equipment retail market.  

The Lighting | Architectural FirmSpaceBox Lighting Systems and On Set Lighting as a partnership are all owned and operated by Nick Zgradic and all 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

And of course, be sure to check out the next time you need to shop for professional studio lighting equipment, grip, electrical, computers, peripherals, editing equipment and so much more!  

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