logo

Team

Founders

Harry Ralston

Founder, Writer/Director/Producer

Harry Ralston

After graduating from Syracuse University, Harry Ralston entered advertising as a copywriter at J. Walter Thompson and worked as a writer and creative director at several agencies, including Bozell, Leo Burnett, Jordan McGrath and Y&R creating award-winning advertising for Coleco, Revlon, Minolta, the NY Times, Nestle, Tropicana, and Burger King, among others. He then traveled and worked as a writer in Mexico, emerging in Los Angeles, where he wrote and directed his first feature, The Last Man, an award-winning comedy released by Lion’s Gate. Harry spent the next several years writing screenplay assignments for producers, and in collaboration with writer/director Roger Avary. Additionally, Harry wrote on TV shows for MTV, Paramount, Animal Planet, and Comedy Central. He and Tamara Stern formed Productive Playhouse in 2008 and met with immediate success, producing, writing and directing several children’s series over the following years, focused on teaching fundamental skills. To date the company’s work has won nine parenting and educational awards.

Tamara Stern

Founder, Writer/Director/Producer

Tamara Stern

Tamara Stern began optioning and selling screenplays while still a student at UCLA. After college she wrote several scripts on assignment and then began making films. Her first short film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and then internationally at the Cannes Festival. Her first feature as writer/director won the grand prize at six film festivals, including South by Southwest. After marrying and having two children, Tamara focused on documentary filmmaking for a period, directing two films, including The Chicano Collection an examination of the Chicano art movement for Cheech Marin. The film has been used to teach children about Chicano art in schools and museums throughout the US. Tamara then formed Productive Playhouse with partner Harry Ralston and as a first project, developed a children’s multiple foreign language series and curriculum with the Kidspace Museum in Pasadena. Tamara’s talent and insight as a writer, director, producer and mother of two has deeply shaped Productive Playhouse, and helped the company to win many of its awards and sell millions of dollars of our children’s series.

Children’s Production Team

Tom Stern

Writer/Director

Tom Stern

After NYU Film school, Tom worked with writing/directing partner Alex Winter to create music videos for various bands including The Red Hot Chili Peppers, television comedy for MTV, and feature films for 20th Century Fox and Walt Disney Pictures. He then created and directed TV shows for Comedy Central, MTV, The Cartoon Network, Turner Broadcasting and ABC Television, among many others. His series The Andy Milonakis Show and Crank Yankers have joined the ranks of cult comedy legend. Tom most recently produced and directed the show Marc Saves America for MTV and will be working with Productive Playhouse on an upcoming children series for Warner Brothers.

Nathaniel Sticco

Writer/Editor/Graphic Artist

Nathaniel Sticco

Nathaniel studied film and media at the University of Florida. In 2009, he drove across the country to pursue filmmaking in Los Angeles. After interning at Productive Playhouse for several months, he was invited to join the Productive Playhouse team as an editor. He has expanded his role to include graphic art and has contributed as a writer.

Colleen Lawless

Illustrator/Animator

Colleen Lawless

Colleen is originally from Pittsburgh, PA. She received a BFA in Experimental Animation from the Maryland Institute College of Art, and her work focuses on computer animation, traditional animation and illustration.

David Sims

Editor/Graphic Artist

David Sims

David received a film production BA from UC Santa Cruz In 2009 and works as an editor for Productive Playhouse. He resides in Hollywood and whenever he isn’t working on his myriad film projects, he might sneak in a little video game time here and there.

Tim Burns

Songwriter

Tim Burns

Tim Burns has written, composed and performed for children’s television for many years, with scripts for The Muppets, a current series for The Disney Channel, and two Emmy awards for his PBS Sprout children’s music.

David Arnott

Songwriter

David Arnott

David Arnott has written, composed and performed for television, theater and film for the last twenty years. His credits include music for Steven Spielberg’s Casper the Ghost series on Fox Family Channel, various shows for Tim Robbin’s The Actor’s Gang company and his Ascap-award winning score for the musical Clube.

Language Services Team

Senior Management:

Laura Maccabee

Operations Director, Vice President

Laura Maccabee

After graduating from Cornell University, Laura worked as an assistant to legendary theatre producer and film distributor Castle Hill Productions, in New York. She then relocated to Los Angeles, where she started at Productive Playhouse as a team manager and advanced to her current position as Operations Director. Laura supervises senior staff and oversees all PPH Language Service daily operations.

Kara Smith

Senior Manager

Kara Smith

After receiving dual degrees, Kara started teaching children voice and drama in 2008 at The Playground Acting Conservatory. She then designed curriculum for young actors at Valley West. She moved to administration as a manager overseeing HR for Barney’s Beanery restaurant chain, where she oversaw invoicing, payroll and HR, payroll, and invoicing for six locations. In 2014 Kara joined Productive Playhouse as a Senior Manager handling all company invoicing and payroll.

Rainy Kerwin

Senior Manager

Rainy Kerwin

After completing her BA, Rainy began her career as a writer, producer, and teacher, co-writing a pilot for TBS while starting a long standing position teaching drama to young students, As a producer and administrator she moved into licensing, working with major studios and networks negotiating agreements for specialty footage use. Rainy then created a platform to curate films online written and directed by women, and stepped into the producing and directing seat to make an award winning independent film. She joined Productive Playhouse, working on special projects, and then stepped into a larger role as a Senior Manager.

Transcription Team Management:

Josh Brandon

Transcription Director

A native of Sydney, Australia, Josh graduated with Honors from the University of New South Wales with a degree in Media & Communications. He made his bones as New Media Producer for Hoyts, the largest cinema distribution/exhibition chain in Australasia, before moving to Los Angeles in 2008. Josh joined Productive Playhouse early as a transcriber, and worked to develop and broaden our operations around the world.

London Kim

Transcription Operations Manager

Born in his namesake of England’s capital, London studied at Oxford, where he earned his MA in French and Italian. London worked for Language Testing International, heading up projects in New York and then eventually joining our team here in Los Angeles.

Jack Saalfield

Senior Transcription Manager

Jack Saalfield

A Los Angeles native, Jack has worked in the creative fields of video editing, writing, photography, and animation, as well as gaining experience in marketing and promotion. Another transcriber-to-management success story, Jack now holds the position of Senior Transcription Manager, responsible for overseeing transcription staff on our US projects. Although well-traveled—stateside and in Europe—Jack currently resides in LA.

Matt Foster

Senior Transcription Staff Manager

Originally from Sydney, Australia, Matt spent many years as a Copy Editor for an Australian television network. He joined the team in 2011 and has accumulated experience in just about every possible side of the company, from transcribing to production to management. Matt has designed staffing and training protocols, spearheaded management procedures and initiatives, and is in charge of day-to-day staff management our US projects. He currently resides in Los Angeles.

Vinnie Donadio

Team Manager

Originally from Oneonta in upstate New York, Vinnie made his way to Los Angeles and started as one of our very first transcribers back in 2011. He is proud to say that since then, he has personally transcribed over 150,000 utterances on his way up through the ranks. In 2013, Vinnie became a Team Manager, overseeing projects in several language divisions across a number of countries.

Janel Benisch

Team Manager

Originally from Chicago, Janel graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a degree in theater after receiving The Sarah Siddons Scholarship. Since moving to Los Angeles in 2009, her work has been featured on Huffington Post, Politico & Jezebel. Janel joined the team as a transcriber and is now a Team Manager.

Anika Contos

Team Manager

Anika grew up in rural Western Australia on a sheep & wheat farm. She later moved to Sydney to study and completed an Advanced Diploma in Dramatic Art. Anika currently resides in Los Angeles, where she continues her creative endeavors on a multimedia level. Having worked for many years as a transcriber and PM, Anika is now the company’s latest Team Manager.