Millions of people tune in each week to see “Dancing With the Stars.”
And although they don’t know it, they’re also catching the work of Austintown native Jeff Shood.
Shood is the screens programmer for the ratings monster, which is filmed in the CBS Television City lot in Hollywood.
The floor and the walls of the “DWTS” studio are lined with screen panels that provide an ever-changing artistic backdrop for the show. Shood is the behind-the-scenes technician who uses a computer to bring that programmed content to life.
Shood was born and reared in Austintown, where he went to Woodside Elementary, Austintown Middle School and, briefly, Fitch High School. He moved with his parents to San Diego in his early teens.
“DWTS” is on break between seasons, so Shood came back to Austintown to visit his mother. He also found time to talk about his career.
It began in high school in San Diego, where Shood became friends with Michael Zinman, who also had an interest in technology and entertainment.
“He did lighting, and I did sound for all our high school theater productions,” said Shood.
Zinman would go on to found Zinman Co., which provides programmed screens and floors for televised productions. He handles a number of shows in addition to “DWTS,” including the recent Miss USA Pageant.
Zinman and Shood had fallen out of touch for about 10 years after high school, during which time Shood moved back to Austintown for four years (he was the drummer for local rock band Dimstarshining, which often played at Cedars Lounge in 2006 and 2007).
After returning to San Diego, Shood started a computer-repair business called PCRepairAnywhere.com. Zinman contacted Shood a couple years ago and asked him to build a computer for his screen programming work.
Zinman’s business was growing rapidly, and Shood showed a strong aptitude for the job. Before long, Shood was working for Zinman. He started working on “DWTS” in March, and he is listed in the show’s closing credits as screens programmer.
The set of “DWTS” is lined with 29 panels. Shood takes the content that Zinman created and executes it during shows.
“The work is exciting because it’s real and it’s live," said Shood. “You can’t falter on this job. When the director asks for something, you’ve got to be there.”
The 15th season of “DWTS” will begin in September (there are two seasons each year).
Warren native’s film HAs a shot at Emmys
“Lake Effects,” the Hallmark Channel original movie that was produced by Warren native Sara Elizabeth Timmins, has made the Emmy nominating ballot in the category of Outstanding Movie or Miniseries.
Members of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences nominate films they think are worthy of an Emmy nomination, and there are about 50 films at this stage in the movie/miniseries category (including History’s recent “Hatfields & McCoys”). Academy members next will narrow the 50 down to six for the final ballot, with the winner to be announced during the Emmy broadcast Sept. 23 on ABC.
The deadline for Academy members to return nominating ballots is June 28. Final nominations will be announced July 19.
Though Timmins is pleased with the honor, she’s not stopping there.
Her independent film doesn’t have the financing to compete with the expensive Emmy campaigns that studios muster, but Timmins and Co. are using every means possible to get Academy members to consider “Lake Effects.”
“It would be a dream for our ‘little film that could’ to actually make it to the final ballot and show indie filmmakers everywhere that with preparation, passion, persistence and integrity, you can make your dreams and films a reality,” said Timmins in a news release.
“Lake Effects,” starring Jane Seymour, premiered May 6.
The family film centers around a woman who reconnects with her family during a visit to her hometown of Smith Mountain Lake, Va.
Emii’s dance-club hit gets dubstep treatment
Emii, the LA dance-pop songstress who grew up in Youngstown, has released a dubstep club remix of her hit song “Stilettos” (check it out on electrocutieblog.com). “Stilettos,” an ode to the power of spiky high-heel shoes, is Emii’s (aka Emily Morrison) follow-up to “Mr. Romeo,” which featured Snoop Dogg.
Emii has been performing across the country lately, including a recent appearance at renowned Las Vegas nightclub Krave.