CrowdSource for Life’s Amazing Creative Team

Maitri River Productions has assembled an impressive team of creative experts from across the country to collaborate on CrowdSource for Life.

Donald Griswold,
Executive Producer & Director

Donald Griswold is an author, director, writer and producer. His drive to write and create started early as he was an avid reader as a child. While living in his childhood home in Rochester, New York, Donald Griswold was first published inThe Weekly Reader as a 1st grade student.

Donald has lived in the Dallas, Texas area most of his life. He graduated from the University of North Texas with a Bachelor of Arts in Radio, Television and Film, specializing in the narrative of film writing. Since 1998, Donald has owned Dog Star Media, a boutique content marketing company with a national clientele of high-end small businesses. Professionally, Donald has written and directed narrative, comedic and marketing scripts for video and radio. Donald experience includes writing, directing, and producing a wide range of video projects ranging from full-length DVD concepts to television commercials. He also has ghost written a memoir for a notable figure in the field of engineering.

Donald writes works of fiction and non-fiction, and he published his first novel, Dying Light, in 2017.  Giving is of the main themes of Dying Light and, in researching the novel, Donald learned about the world of living organ donation.  Inspired by his readers’ comments, Donald chose to explore the realities of living kidney donation further through non-fiction programs produced for television and theatrical release.

In 2018, Donald opened Maitri River Productions, a non-fiction media production business to make media that inspires social change.   The documentary projects that grew out of the response to Dying Light include CrowdSource for Life, a feature film and Abundant, a five-episode television series currently in development.  Donald is an executive producer, writer and the creative force behind these productions.  Through association with Laurie Lee, Maitri River Productions has provided guidance on the development of the podcast Donor Diaries.  Maitri River Productions has several productions also in development that address topics such as institutional racism, progressive movements, and social equity.

As a storyteller, Donald has appeared in Oral Fixation, the critically acclaimed Dallas-based storytelling show.  In 2015, his story for the show Push the Envelope was voted by the public as Best in Show and he performed the story in the annual Best of Season show.  Donald has also produced Word of Mouth, a live storytelling series, that hosted shows in Dallas and Atlanta.

Donald, some friends from high school, and local musician friends sometimes perform around Dallas as Driver 8.  Donald manages the band, plays guitar, and sings lead vocals.  Donald is a long-time supporter of the arts in Dallas. He supports museums, local artists and live performance, especially ShakespeareDallas. Donald frequently visits the best Dallas-area music venues to support local musicians and live performance.

Donald lives in Downtown Dallas, not far from The Dallas Arts District.  He has two daughters and his family lives in the Dallas area.  Donald and his girlfriend, Libby, enjoy travelling (especially to the United Kingdom), cultural events, movies, music and family activities.

Laurie Lee,
Producer & Content Consultant

Laurie Lee, is from Hawthorn Woods, IL, and now lives in Algonquin, IL with her husband Rob Lee. Her passions include her family & friends, adventure travel, SCUBA diving, her pets, her business Swift Passport Services, the outdoors, and transplant.  Laurie is a non-directed kidney donor whose donation sparked a 6-person transplant chain on Nov 22, 2016.  She was compelled to become a donor after her father, Dan Dickinson, received a lifesaving liver transplant in 2011.  She has a solid track record if making a difference in the world of transplant.

Laurie is one of the original members of Northwestern Medicine’s Transplant Advisory Council, that powers Transplant Village, founded in 2011. Transplant Village is an inspired group of organ recipients, donors and their families is united in their mission to support the future of organ transplantation at Northwestern Medicine while connecting and supporting the transplant community. 

Laurie’s main role with Transplant Village is facilitating a monthly workshop called the Kidney Champion Program which teaches people who need a kidney different strategies to attract a living kidney donor. Laurie was instrumental in creating and launching this program and has never missed a workshop since the program launched in 2018.

Laurie enjoys working on projects in the transplant world that make an impact! Laurie and her friend Kate Griggs organized the 2018 Donor Rally in Chicago, IL which resulted in a Guinness World Record for the largest number of Living Organ Donors (410!) in one place. The 40K that Laurie raised through this event was used to create a Living Donor Assistance Fund at Northwestern. This fund covers expenses for living kidney donors that are not covered by the kidney recipient’s insurance.

Laurie is currently wholeheartedly invested in CrowdSource for Life and is a producer for the docuseries Abundant which explores the concept of abundance through stories of non-directed organ donation. She believes this project is the catalyst that our society needs right now to pay attention and to act, so that people don’t have to die or suffer waiting for an organ transplant. Her podcast, Donor Diaries, was developed to support this project and its initiatives. After six months, Donor Diaries already has thousands of downloads, and has even been shared by Al Roth, the economist who won a Nobel prize for using economic theory to create the modern day kidney exchange program.

Laurie is extremely interested in connecting with people who share her interest in flooding the donor pool, so that nobody has to wait for a life-saving transplant.

Wyatt Cagle,
Director of Photography

“I grew up with a camera in my hand and was always making little movies. Showing them to my Boy Scout Troop for fun. I realized from a young age that video is the most powerful tool to get an idea across. Video can do so much. It can entertain and educate. It can move someone to action or tears. That’s powerful and I love it. I’ve never wanted to do anything else but make great videos.”

Starting in the film and TV production business in 1999, Wyatt Cagle has been all over the world developing his craft, contacts, and business models for the evolving video production market. As a novice, Wyatt was hired as a camera operator on a new series for Travel Channel Europe, "Underground,” providing a unique opportunity to work throughout Europe. Returning as a veteran, he dove into the world of large-scale commercial production and feature film production, with companies like POV, Inc. of Houston, and Somnio Solutions out of Austin. 

Wyatt is an award-winning editor, cinematographer, and director Wyatt has completed several multi-award winning independent film projects, television series, and advertising campaigns including the development of Team Baby Entertainment (TBE), developing and directing for the popular PBS show Profiles with Greg Scheinman and the establishment of his own production company, CGL Studios and has since completed several multi-award-winning independent film projects including a historical film, “The Example”, that is currently distributed on Amazon Prime Video.

“Many video production companies don’t stand the test of time, but South Coast has. South Coast stood through the decades because it had integrity. I joined the team because I felt it was important to keep that legacy alive. Houston’s film and video production community need to have a local company that does things the right way. That leads as an example of how to do video right. Doing right by our clients, our crews, and our community. That’s South Coast and I’m honored to be the steward of that.”

Avery-Jai Andrews - Stage Producer

Avery-Jai Andrews (she/her) is a classically-trained dance artist, now non-profit executive-slash-entrepreneur based in Dallas, Texas. She graduated from NYU Tisch School of the Arts and freelanced in Israel, Germany, and Italy.  She returned to her hometown with a mission to create an “artists’ kibbutz,” a community that empowers, supports, and funds individuals to build their livelihood as arts workers. 

Through her work as the Associate Artistic Director at Arts Mission Oak Cliff (AMOC), Avery-Jai manages the operations and programming of the community arts center and performance venue. She is also the Founder and visionary of Agora Artists, a grassroots 501(c)(3) that provides resources and professional development opportunities for freelance dance artists. 

Additionally, as a proud graduate of Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (BTWHSPVA), Avery-Jai is a consultant for the Advisory Board and leads the initiative to build the official alumni association.   

 Avery-Jai is a fierce advocate for the local arts and is eager to see and experience Dallas as a thriving arts community.

2nd Story - Story Editors & Performance Coaches

CrowdSource for Life’s cast of living kidney donors will perform their stories in a live, staged storytelling format. Chicago’s 2nd Story has joined our production team to help our storytellers develop and stage the strongest, most resonant telling of their stories through workshop and individual coaching. With core values of inclusion, craft and courage, 2nd Story is a perfect fit for our creative team.

South Coast Media – Television Production

A diverse production team from South Coast Media will produce CrowdSource for Life . South Coast has created media in the Southwest for the decades because it had integrity. Based in Houston, Texas, South Coast has a national reputation for quality craftsmanship and production. Wyatt Cagle currently serves as CEO of South Coast Media Services with long-time collaborators Michael Bell and Bill Brauer after acquiring the business in 2019. As CEO, Wyatt helps to drive South Coast forward to cut technology and creativity in all aspects of video production. Onset, Wyatt fills the role of Director and Cinematographer (Director of Photography) for many of South Coast’s productions. Ensuring the vision and needs of South Coast’s clients are met.

Statement on Diversity

JTK Studios – Set Design

The stunning visual talents of Joshua King will enhance CrowdSource for Life’s production value as he puts his special touch on the staging and set pieces for the live performance. Joshua is an award-winning visual artist who will interpret the core concepts of the show into unique visual staging.

Brittany Padilla, Sound Design

Brittany Padilla is a music performer, composer, and producer residing in Denton, TX. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of North Texas and a Master's of Education in Instructional Design and Technology from West Texas A&M University. She began her experience and career as a dance musician during her time at UNT and is currently the staff dance accompanist and composer at Texas Woman’s University. She performs and composes in collaboration with local dance companies and individual artists around the United States for various dance workshops and festivals as well as colleges and universities across DFW. As a multi-instrumentalist, she plays and records an array of acoustic and digital instruments with emphasis on percussion and voice. Brittany works with Ableton Live, a software for producing music and is a certified Ableton Specialist.

Visit here for more on Brittany’s music

Libby Bennett, Wardrobe and Style

Style consultant Libby Bennett will lead a team of hair, make-up and wardrobe professionals working with our cast of storytellers. The CrowdSource for Life style team work will add the final touch to our cast’s stage- and camera-readiness on the night of the big show.

Hal Karp, Storytelling Consultant

Hal Karp’s eye for detail is exceptional. He will consult on the final stage production of CrowdSource for Life to assure the best possible performance by our storytellers. Aside from being an accomplished storyteller and communicator, Hal’s work in journalism has spanned the spectrum, from parenting and public health to true-life adventure and business. His Reader’s Digest article on the dangerous misuse of child safety seats broke open not just a national story, but the discovery of an international problem. Reprinted in 19 languages, his article spurred changes to state, national, and international laws. His Family Circle article about a high school built atop a toxic waste dump left behind by the U.S. Army (resulting in graduates dying with unexpected cancers) was nominated for a National Magazine Award and led to the final shuttering of the school. And for his piece on eating disorders, he was given the “Star of Hope” award from one of the nation’s leading advocacy groups. His work has also appeared in Parents, American Way, D Magazine, and Black Enterprise. Hal also broke the amazing crime story that eventually became Tickled, the 2016 documentary that was in the running for an Academy Award nomination.