Bob Maraist is a show runner, producer, & director, who has had the good fortune to work on provocative and entertaining non-fiction projects. His collaborations run the gamut of documentary and reality, while rooted in authenticity and character driven stories.
Some of the highlights include months, Bob field produced and filmed the Chicago character in the HBO documentary, American Standoff, which premiered at Sundance, produced by two time Academy award winner Barbera Kopple, directed by Emmy award winner Kristi Jacobson, and DP Kirsten Johnson.
Academy award nominated & and Emmy winning producer RJ Cutler, Actual Reality, brought Bob on to help film the Emmy winning documentary series on Fox & PBS, American High following high school seniors as they navigate their final high school year and the next year of the rest of their lives. This collaboration with Cutler continued for several years, including shows like American Candidate, Showtimes Reality series with the goal of fielding a "people's candidate" in the November 2004 Presidential Election. It also included FX’s 30 Days with Morgan Spurlock, where Spurlock, or individuals, spend 30 days immersing themselves in a particular lifestyle with which they are unfamiliar, navigating their opposing views. A good laugh is never out of the question, so Bob also helped shoot RJ’s goofy The Real Roseanne, on ABC that followed Roseanne Barr create her next show.
American High was the beginning of additional collaborations with the core of that Actual Reality team, who have gone on to build successful companies, and hire Bob:
- Dan Partland (GRB, Docshop) brought Bob on to DP a number of episodes for A&E’s Emmy winning Intervention.
- Ted Skillman (Snackaholic): MTV’s It Gets Better
- Jonathan Chinn (LightBox)
- Ken Druckerman: (Left/Right): Bob helped Field produce and shoot A&E’s House of Dreams.
- Rich Bye (Goodbye Pictures): has called on Bob to shoot & produce development pieces, and Supervise Animal Planets, Ned Bruha: Skunk Whisperer.
Neil Cohen, EP for House of Dreams, brought Bob into ITV/Granada to be the dedicated camera of the challenging celebrity Steven Seagal:Lawman, seasons 1,2,3, connecting with Ausie EP, Simon Hobbs, producers Joe Venefro, Kelly McKlurkin, & DP Charlie Gruet, among others. Bob also field produced some segments for ITV’s/A&E’s Airline, and was a producer shooter when it returned as On The Fly, and ITV’s/National Geographics Explorations episode on Bionics.
For years Bob traveled the globe to shoot & field produce, both scripted and documentary, some of the most popular curriculum children’s programs on Discovery Education for writer/producer/director, Warren Colman (Colman Communications). Series like, Children of Other Lands, Christmas Tales from Foreign Lands, and Holiday Facts and Fun, are staples in classrooms around the world.
Lion TV also hired Maraist to shoot & produced segments for Discovery Channels Miracle Cures, one on robotic surgical equipment, and another where a man's big toe surgically replaced a severed thumb.
Back in Chicago he’s filmed for Oprah Winfrey and the Oprah show. Many of the days would be gut wrenching & dramatic including following a family struggling with childhood cancer or being present for the birth of a child. There were plenty of lifestyle feature segments as well, including segments with John Travolta, Jacylin Smith, Cameron Diaz, and the launch of interior designer Nate Berkus.
Bob has executive produced & directed dozens of award winning branded content for fortune 500 companies and Nonprofits, especially those in Health, Safety, and Environmental. With Bob’s messaging, Pepsi Bottling Group grew from a handful of safety managers to over 60, while reducing the ratio of accidents and injuries dramatically.
Bob’s passion for telling stories that make a difference started at the University of Iowa. His documentary short helped spread the news about the newly developed bilateral knee brace, known at the time as The Iowa Brace, which was the starting point for today's knee bracing that is credited with dramatically reducing knee injuries suffered by football players.
After graduation, Bob worked for Allstate, a nationally recognized in-house film and video production department. Whether shooting PSA’s on film with the likes of legend Bill Kurtis, or capturing adjusters comfort home owners just hours after an earthquake or hurricane, the experience was very hands on. Allstate's award winning team produced: Training, infomercials, internal informational & inspirational communications, and customer POP pieces to be shown by agents. Bob became a director of photography and director both in studio and on location, scripted and verite pieces. Some of the more notable would be following insurance adjusters as they tried to help families pick up the pieces after Hurricane Hugo, and after the earthquakes that rocked the Oakland and San Fransisco areas. In the scripted arena, Bob shot legend Bill Kurtis for a PSA, and directed a young Stephan Colbert in an interactive module that tested prospective customer service applicants, putting them in mock scenarios to assess aptitude for the position.
While at Allstate, Bob worked closely with Dan Grainge, who had moved over to Fletcher Chicago, a leader in supplying production equipment and new technologies. Dan & Tom Fletcher contracted Bob to become one the first operators of the Hot Head, the device previously used by Ron Howard to film the interior fire scenes in Backdraft. For the next few years, Bob and this small team made sports technology history placing these remote heads and cameras in unique locations that directors like auto racing great, Mike Wells, only dreamed of. What started as a few overhead cameras at center court of the NBA on NBC, or the “crash corners” on a race track, has become literally tens of thousands of units annually creating some of the most innovative and memorable images for the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, plus many other sports broadcasts. The highs for Bob being multiple NBA finals series with Micheal Jordan, the World Cup, and the Olympics, awarding our team multiple national Emmy’s.
Having grown up playing sports, Bob didn’t mind blending this groundbreaking work with his other interests. Fletcher was also Bob’s path to the Steadicam. When the smaller EFP Steadicam was created, Bob learned the techniques from Spike Lee’s operator, and Guy Bee who was operating on ER. Bob would end up operating for Oprah, the opening ceremonies and game coverage of the World Cup, films, and music videos. The job had developed into being on the road 200-250+ days a year, so he returned to his love for storytelling, and started a family.
An avid outdoorsman, Maraist has helped his amazingly talented wife Jean, raise two incredible daughters, Mary and Michelle, a half dozen cats, two dogs, and a horse, all while renovating 50+ & 100+ year old homes to LEED-like specifications.
If you made it this far, I'm so thankful to you for taking the time.