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October 11, 2002

UMBC Grad Student Makes History Ready for Prime Time

UMBC history graduate student and budding film producer Ron Simon is helping to make his field exciting enough for prime time TV. Simon will get his first associate producer credit on October 13 at 10:00 p.m., when October Fury, a documentary about the secret submarine conflict during the Cuban Missile Crisis, airs on The History Channel.

Simon, an MA student in UMBC's Historical Studies program, is excited to reach this career milestone. "I wanted to be able to entertain people as well as create a solid piece of historical research," he says. "My graduate work at UMBC has helped me learn to approach my work as a historian, which allows me to produce work that is educational as well as entertaining."

"What impresses me about Ron," says Barry Lanman, Simon's mentor and Director of UMBC's Martha Ross Center for Oral History, "is that he knows how to find a story and then has the persistence and skill to develop it into a product that any audience can understand and appreciate."

Simon's advice for aspiring documentary filmmakers is simple. "Production jobs are out there," he says, "but I had to be willing to work my way up and prove that I would take the initiative to do whatever needed to be done." For Simon, the work is its own reward, even when it includes long hours and low pay. "I can always say that I enjoy going to work in the morning," and, as Simon observes, "I don't know very many people who can say the same."

Simon discovered his chosen career during an internship with CNN while still an undergraduate at the University of Maryland, College Park. Since then, Simon has had the opportunity to be involved in every step of the production process, from writing to camera work, while paying his dues.

Simon's first job was working as a production assistant with Arlington, Virginia's Henninger Productions, which led to his current position as Associate Producer with Washington, D.C.-based Team Productions. In addition to ongoing work for The History Channel, he has worked on projects for C-SPAN, The Learning Channel and The Discovery Channel.

Note: October Fury airs October 13 at 10 p.m. on The History Channel

Posted by dwinds1 at October 11, 2002 12:00 AM