- Son of German refugee parents.
- Attended college on a football scholarship.
- Worked as a news reporter.
- Won a Christopher Award for his work in Everybody's Baby: The Rescue of Jessica McClure (1989).
- His column If I Ran The Zoo was recognized by the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association.
- Has taught at the American Film Institute, the University of Southern California and the Tisch School at New York University.
- Founder of the Cascadia Film Workshops at Western Washington University.
- A member of the Director's Guilds of America and Canada, and the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences.