Journal

ENTREPRENUERS - BRETT ZWEIBACK (SPOT-ON WEATHER)

Where are you originally from?

I was born in Brooklyn, New York, but spent most of my years growing up in Staten Island. I have lived in 4 out of the 5 boroughs except The Bronx.  Maybe I should rent an apartment for a month, just to say I lived in all of the NYC boroughs I loved the hustle and bustle of Manhattan (If I had to pick a favorite) but like it much quieter these days in the suburbs, and surely don’t miss looking for a parking space!

What is your education and/or career background?

I have a degree in Atmospheric Sciences, a.k.a Meteorology from the University of Albany, New York.  No, I'm not on television, since I often get asked that question as soon as people hear “meteorologist”, but I have worked as a producer for ABC Good Morning America and for Fox 5(WNYW) both located in Manhattan. At Good Morning America, being a freelancer weather producer involved creating weather graphics, writing and vocalizing scripts to anchors and on-air personalities. Since it was not just confined to New York City, but forecasting all of the U.S.A, I really had to be up on my A-game. It was fun, but sometime stressful and challenging, especially working straight through Hurricane Katrina with numerous hourly updates to ABC affiliates. For many years, I was an on-site meteorologist for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  I used weather instruments including an anemometer which measures wind direction and velocities and had the job of relaying critical information to parade officials and local government agencies, prior to and during the parade. Based on my input, officials would determine whether or not to fly balloons at lower heights or ground them due to the wind speeds. It was often quite cold many parade mornings, but was a rewarding experience, and I also had a front row seat to the parade every year. 

Currently, I own a meteorological consulting company, called Spot-On Weather.  We provide customized weather forecasts to numerous film and television productions across the United States, Canada and some as far as Europe and Asia. This consists of daily breakdowns of weather forecasts with always striving to be “spot-on” with our predictions. When dealing with the production industries, shooting exterior scenes is very weather sensitive and accurate predictions can prevent costly decisions. Of course, safety is also a top priority, so, we tend to keep a very close eye on severe weather, hurricanes or other dangerous weather phenomena. One key value of our company is access for production crews to call anytime, 24-7, to get live updates from meteorologists, something the internet cannot provide. We also provide past weather records, an industry called forensic meteorology, including government certified records, as well as court testimony and consultations to attorneys and insurance companies. If for example, a person slips and falls on ice and later files a lawsuit, we can reconstruct the weather conditions leading up and including the date of the incident .We can determine how much snow and or ice (or lack of) was on the ground at the scene of the incident. Our written reports or court testimony has aided attorneys winning a case or a motion for summary judgment.

What does an average day look like for you?

It starts at the crack of dawn, if not earlier, and even before I reach for a cup of coffee, I take a good scope at the national scene to see if any major change from the night before. Such as any new watches/warnings, severe weather, tropical systems, basically anything that popped up overnight. Once we have a handle on the current weather, its update time! Current productions will receive an early morning email for the day’s weather and what to expect the following six days, as detailed as possible, hourly breakdowns when necessary.  The morning updates take a few hours and clients may also call in at any time to get a more personal account of the day or days ahead or just to say, ‘good morning’.

Later in the morning, we switch gears to sales, administrative matters, and occasional client meetings, but never take an eye off the ‘radar’ since weather, as we know it, is always changing. By the afternoon, I need to wear a different hat, or “daddy duty” with homework, gymnastics, soccer, karate, snacks, so, I sometimes have a fellow meteorologist pitch in and help out.  Later in the day, we repeat full written updates, and then I get some downtime in the evening, unless of course, there is breaking weather occurring. It’s a busy, but very productive day in the weather world.

What are a few of the most recognizable movies and tv shows you worked on?

TV:

The Walking Dead (personal favorite!)

Fear The Walking Dead

NCIS

CSI

 

Feature Films:

Jurassic World

The Hunger Games

Divergent/Insurgent

The Fast & the Furious

The Wolf of Wall Street

 

We always like to end with this question, what in life brings you joy?

I would not be here today without the support of my family, my biggest and #1 fans. They've always been encouraging, enthusiastic, and very patient since it’s a 24-7 gig, I’m constantly working.  It’s not easy when my kids have sporting events, and I miss the “goal” or a “backflip” due to a phone call, but they get it, and I make it up to them by being much more present on the weekends.  

It also brings me joy, knowing I always wanted to be a meteorologist and was passionate about it since I was about 9 years old. I followed through with my dream. It’s funny as a youngster my parents actually had to block out the weather channel from the cable company since I became so addicted. I was inspired at a very young age, and still today, as I meet new and interesting people and keep up with the every changing technology in the field.  Looking back, as with any profession, I hit some speed bumps along the way, but I’m very happy where I landed, and have absolutely no regrets.  Although it’s hard work, the dividends paid off and it’s a wonderful feeling when an executive producer thanks me personally for making a “spot-on” weather call saving the production big bucks.

 

Learn more about his business here