He began his career in advertising as an art director, producer, and co-creative director of Ogilvy & Mather. He moved on to directing television commercials.
It was on location in England for the Ford Motor Company that Stephen first met John Lennon. Lennon gave him the rights to the Beatle tune “I Feel Fine”, which Verona animated. When the film was finished John Lennon took Verona up to Columbia Records where they were offered the opportunity to work with anyone on their label. He chose Barbra Streisand.
He began doing the film of Streisand’s song “My Coloring Book” which ended up in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Animation Festival and the Library of Congress.
These two short films for Lennon and Streisand were considered by many as the first music videos. Between 1970-1972, Verona was the exclusive provider of musical promotional films for Columbia, and Epic records. He did videos for Atlantic, United Artists, and Buddah records, working with The Lovin Spoonful, Boy George, Mick Fleetwood, Natalie Cole, Chicago, Streisand again, Simon & Garfunkel, and more.
Verona became intrigued with stories - both still and moving, becoming Lee Strasberg’s directing protege in the Actor’s Studio. He made a 17 minute film about his experience there. Three years later, “The Rehearsal” was nominated for an Academy Award.