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Artist Entrepreneur 08-2012
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 Timothy Long

 Tim Long with bananas for the crew while shooting
  on the island of Dominica in the Caribbean.

Artist As an Entrepreneur Institute
Graduate, Timothy Long Talks on ‘Pulling it All Together’
By Samantha Rojas

"Your whole life is a rehearsal for the moment you are in now."

- Judith Malina

Timothy Long studied with Toni Morrison at Bard College, brainstormed with National Geographic photographers in Maine; traveled to Nicaragua to report on life during the Iran-Contra war and documented the birth of bohemian Key West for PBS. He was in California for the Dot-com boom and then its bust; and his professional history
                                                                   writes like a “How to” manual on getting
                                                                   started and succeeding in various forms of media.

Which is why it is interesting to note that Artist as an Entrepreneur Institute (AEI), Broward’s acclaimed four-day workshop for artists, might still have some new pearl of wisdom for this veteran of photography, writing, journalism, video production and most recently social media. But more about that later; first let’s learn more about the man.

Traveling into Photography…

Curious about photography, Long signed up for independent study during high school in Connecticut. He assembled his first portfolio and applied for a one-month photography workshop in Maine. While there he met National Geographic photographers and other professional craftsmen; the experience enlightened him in the pros of workshops and artists-in-residency efforts, early in life.

Between high school and college, Long spent six years traveling, reading, writing and photographing, before heading to college in N.Y. to major in creative writing. He credits this time with giving him a college head start, an education in life, long before he arrived into academic training at Bard College.

Diversify in Writing…

In Bard College, New York (’79 – ’83) Long was drawn to annual Writer’s-in-Residence Programs similar to the photography workshop that he attended in Maine. There he worked with well-known writers, such as Toni Morrison, senior editor at Random House at the time. After graduating from college he worked for a few years as a freelance writer and editor in New York City, freelancing for corporations and independent clients, one of whom was a Hungarian ophthalmologist for whom he had done work editing speeches. Lazlo Bito hired him to accompany him to a small town called Narrowsburg in upstate N.Y. and help him write his book, his life story about his experiences in World War II. That assignment lasted a few months during which time Long had taken an interest in a small operation in the heart of town, producing the local news – The River Reporter.

Daring to Journal

The River Reporter also took an interest in him, and it was from this place that he propelled himself into journalism by covering a wide variety of stories, through various forms of writing. He covered town meetings, environmental stories, health segments and political controversy, in the format of feature writing, hard news, breaking news and beat reporting. He won three awards from the N.Y Press Association - one for News, one for Investigative Reporting and the third- 2nd place in Writer of the Year among all the weekly newspapers in that area. During this time, he bought himself a ticket to Nicaragua, to cover the plight of the people suffering during the Iran-Contra War.

Copy Editing

In 1990, he moved to Miami, where he secured freelancing gigs at the Miami Herald writing book reviews; he worked as a stringer for Time Magazine; and covered features for a photography magazine, and the Miami Daily Business Review. During this time, he reflected on the ‘generalist’ nature of his portfolio in the media industry. And with that, decided to focus on one thing. He picked technology.

Breaking into Technology 

Tim Long capturing video for an upcoming Caribbean project while on a recent sailing trip in the Lesser Antilles.

Long saw the possibilities of the digital revolution early on.  In 1996 he landed a gig as an editorial consultant for a Miami Beach-based web company, Guru Communications.  Working for Guru, Long wrote his first article for the web -- a profile of Titanic discoverer Robert Ballard -- in early 1996. , Later that year, he accepted a full-time position in Clearwater with a computer distribution company called Tech Data – a Fortune 500 company- as editor of their monthly customer magazine. It was here he also became involved in his first video production.

Less than two years later, he was recruited by an Information Technology magazine and moved to California at the start of the dot-com boom.  He rode that wave until its bust in 2000 - writing about technology, going to conferences, and interviewing Silicon Valley executives and innovators, including Douglas Engelbart, the inventor of the mouse.

Back in Miami, he continued as senior editor for the magazine, Computer Reseller News, working out of a home office; and still writing book reviews and occasional travel stories for The Miami Herald. At this time, Long decided that video was becoming more important to the web and he followed this instinct into documentary filmmaking.

 Moving Pictures

Craig KeyOn a camping trip to 10,000 Islands, Long saw the historic road across the Everglades, The Tamiami Trail, through the eyes of the potential videographer in himself.  Shooting footage on weekends and editing in his spare time, he produced a one-hour documentary, Escape to Dreamland: The Story of the Tamiami Trail which he took to Miami PBS station WLRN. They aired it on the 80th anniversary of Tamiami Trail, in April 2008.

The first film was nominated for an Emmy and the project has led to a four-year-long association between WLRN and the production company Long launched to create his films, Knockemdown Productions. Together they co-produced a second film, Key West: Bohemia in the Tropics, which aired to critical acclaim in 2010 and has now been broadcast more than 400 times on PBS stations nationwide. Earlier this year, WLRN premiered A CENTURY IN THE SUN: Henry Flagler and The Making Of Modern Florida, which began airing nationwide this summer. Also this summer, Long is completing another keys-based film, Stories from the Overseas Highway, in which he continues his digital experimentation by incorporating social media into the documentary filmmaking process.  


Portrait of Mr. James Chapman in Key West
from Long’s current documentary project for PBS,
“Stories from the Overseas Highway.”

Portrait of Connie Powers on Little Torch Key
from Long’s current documentary project for PBS,
“Stories from the Overseas Highway.”

Pulling it all together…

Long’s documentary work pulls from many of the strands of his 20-year-long career -- journalism, writing, photography, historic research, a love of travel.  It has also set him off on another journey -- that of an entrepreneur.  That’s why he came to Artist as an Entrepreneur Institute in summer 2011. 

“The AEI,” says this professional artist “is excellent in helping to develop discipline and focus; on helping you to ask the hard questions about your work, and its commercial viability.”

Long says that through his directed focus, he was able to identify a target market for a set of media services that can move Knockemdown Productions beyond PBS documentary filmmaking into the broader area of cultural history programing on various digital platforms -- television, web and social media.


Tim Long is a professional editor. He came to see Artist as an Entrepreneur Institute as the quintessential editing tool. What needs to ‘go,’ and what needs to ‘stay.’ When you are a professional artist with a prolific body of work, with many stories to tell and with much passion to be streamlined, it is critical that at some point you learn about this.

Broward County Cultural Division
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