.

The Amiga 500 shaped me in ways I am still discovering today, on many levels. Not just as a gamer or consumer of games but also in terms of my fascination and understanding of animation and code, interface design, and the use of sound and music in an interactive context. If only my mum would have known that at the time, maybe she wouldn't have worried so much that I was always stuck in my room playing games.

question Please give us a brief bio of yourself.

I am an interactive director. I aim to create websites which are experienced, not just browsed. I used to work at Mtv and before that Cartoon Network.

What do you do for inspiration?

I search and search until something stops me in my tracks. In books, magazines and films. And online of course. And sometimes you just need to wait for it - with a nice cup of coffee. It will come.

Please list 3 of your favourite sites.

I use ffffound.com obsessively but that doesn't count? I was recently struck by the smart work on herrfrau.com. I find port.fm just beautiful in the way that it allows you to look at time and culture in a completely organised way. And conceptually, I'm still just so in love with the simplicity of a really old site, by now, but still so good. noonebelongsheremorethanyou.com

What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?

To make it into a job where I am making websites.

How many hours do you work each week?

Too many, but work and pleasure blend together oh so easily these days, so it's hard in the end to tally it all up.

How do you relax or unwind?

I find trains, planes and automobiles all terribly relaxing. If I feel like I am on my way somewhere - I am moving - that's when I can really breathe for a moment and sit back. It's only then I just look out the window for a while. 

If you weren't working on the internet what would you be doing?

Should've been an astronaut really.

What's your favourite part of your job? What's the hardest part of your job? What do you do when you get stuck?

Team work team work team work. It's hard but it's oh so good when it works Getting stuck is just a part of it - you don't do anything about it just stay focused and do what you believe is right. 

What's the longest you've ever stayed up working on a project?

I've worked days and nights and then days again. It's not nice but there's something powerful about being so focused you don't notice the sun traded placed with the moon. It's hyper productivity, even if at the same time it's bad for your health.

If there are any pivotal experiences/decisions you could point to that helped shape your career, what would they be?

The Amiga 500 shaped me in ways I am still discovering today, on many levels. Not just as a gamer or consumer of games but also in terms of my fascination and understanding of animation and code, interface design, and the use of sound and music in an interactive context. If only my mum would have known that at the time, maybe she wouldn't have worried so much that I was always stuck in my room playing games.

What software could you not live without?

Osx.

How many projects does your company juggle at any one time?

I am usually preparing to shoot one project, and working on the dev build of another. And I'm always doodling and sketching something for a pitch on the side, where ever I am.

In terms of software, is there anything new you have been playing with lately or that has impressed you?

I'm very impressed and intrigued by James George's experiments with combining a point cloud data from the Kinect with a video feed from a 5D. And I love Klynt, which is an interactive editing and publishing application made by Honky Tonk films.

Who is your target audience?

Is it terrible to say this? I am my own worst critic and therefore my ultimate target audience.

What area of web design lacks the most?

Sound and music, it's a very hard one to sell into clients. They don't really value it and thats a shame. But it's getting better.

Are there any websites that have shone through as being pioneering in the last 5 years or so?

Many. But what's really impressed me most these past few years is the emergence of the Interactive Documentary format. 

Has winning FWA awards helped you in any way?

I think it's a key benchmark for any project, and when you get one yes, it means we get more work enquiries. It also helps talented people getting in touch with me.

When dealing with major clients, how difficult is it to meet the needs of such wide target audiences?

It's never easy to do that - and often we work on such experimental projects there there's no guidelines, no research to help us achieve this. But we have some really solid and forward looking people, and in the end the kind of triggers that excite audiences out there are often the same ones that makes them feel enthusiastic about a film or a tv show. So in my work I try to think of audiences in the context of existing media. The technology fits into the story you create around that.

What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?

One of my first projects online was an experiment called 'The Plus and the Minus' and although it's not online I have it on my computer still. Some of those experiments are still relevant to my work today. And it taught me how to code.

Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?

Yes but my phone won't let me. 

Are there things you do OUTSIDE of work to ensure that you are in the right mindset to be creative and/or successful in whatever you are doing?

I travel as much as I can afford to, time and money wise. Both within London and outside. I find it really stimulating to be on the move. That aside, there's live music, art exhibits, book launches, festivals.

What was the last digital effort you saw (or were a part of) that used social media in a way that really made sense. Why?

I think the last time was a while back. Most of my work is content for the sake of content, and although I work quite a bit with social media too I don't think it's a big emphasis for the projects I tend to work on.

Have you been a part of a campaign that was rooted in digital and THEN reached over into other consumer touchpoints? Did this happen organically or was it a part of the plan from the beginning?

Sure some projects go that way, while others go in the opposite direction. What I love about the time we are in when it comes to digital content is that all these touch points are inspiring each other. There's cross pollination going on all over the place! 

The web is getting out of the web. Do you find that thinking in digital solutions alone hinders you? Do you feel the urge to solve the problem using all mediums necessary?

It happens organically on any project. You think "OOOooohhh, I could also do this, or that!" and you get excited and giddy. Often the agency team have the same instinct or maybe had another idea. it's fun and sometimes it leads somewhere.

Looking 10 years in to the future, how far can websites go?

Websites as a term I think is becoming less and less relevant. A website is a location. In ten years who knows but I think all ways with which we now get connected will combine, blend together, and they will be built more around the content we crave - be it books, articles, social media, films or interactivity.

Of all the websites you/your company have produced, which one are you most proud of?

Attraction is a job I'll be fond of for a long time, even if it was a painful birth. The Black Diamond also because it was such a small job but we did something special with it. 

What was the toughest thing you ever did with Flash? How long did you spend on it? Is it still online?

What's always hard is complex teams of people, making a project together. Communication, opinions, and different disciplines. But one detail that was a particular challenge on Attraction was working with multiple layers of sync sound. 

Do you think Flash is here to stay?

Yes sure, but it's no longer top dog. 

There is perhaps a shift in web use these days. We are seeing a decline in the purely experiential sites in flash with huge production efforts, to a relationship with clients based on tools and services, that many times have simples interfaces. How do you see that trend developing? Will Flash suffer?

The web is a big wide open space. I definitely operate more in the 'experiential' side of it. Less so in products and services. What I love is when there's a cross over, or a mash up between these types of distinct categories. The web merges and mixes things in such unexpected ways.

What are your views on design/graphic school. Do you think someone can get into the field without educational experience in a school environment?

Sure, in my way of working you need a bit of everything and it's a benefit if you're not an expert at only one thing. I don't think there's a guide nor a clear academic requirement. There's just the need to understand that a website has many facets and all of them are intimately connected. 

If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring FWA award submitter, what advice would you give them?

Content is king. Worry about the packaging when your content is good.

How difficult do you find employing the right people in a world where everyone calls themselves a web designer?

It's super difficult. I usually make my decision over a cup of coffee, I make a big effort to meet people in person because I am a big believer in instinct. Plus the kind of coffee you drink is a very strong indicator to me. 

How do you keep up with the latest capabilities of Flash or do you rely on other members of you team to do this?

We have a super strong tech team who work hard on research and development, and share, discuss their work a lot with the rest of us. I also spend my free time looking at, working with, or messing with demos and experiments. 

What would be your ultimate vehicle to travel in?

A fancy car will do. 

How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?

Make something - but do one thing at any one time and really try hard to finish what you start. The last ten steps are the hardest you will take and they'll teach you more than all that came before.

How do you keep your finger on the pulse of the latest web trends?

Twitter is a big source, some key blogs I visit regularly. I love the readability app. 

What country excites you the most in terms of innovation?

Gosh, not sure the web feels so connected I realise lately I'm thinking less in terms of countries these days. It feels like we're all in our own universe and yet hyper connected to each other.

There must be a project that you have always dreamed of doing, what is it?

Make a website that makes people cry. Tears-streaming-down-your-face-kind-of-cry. E.T.-go-home-kind-of-cry. It seems obvious but it's tricky and complex.

What does the future hold for your company, or you as a person?

I feel like I only just got started. I need more practise.

What are you excited about learning next and is there a long term challenge you are considering tackling?

Longer, deeper and more engaging stories, on the web. 

What is the most expensive thing you have bought in the last week?

Airplane tickets. 

What type of overcoat do you wear when Flashing, basically are you a labels man?

Grey trench, slightly faded. No label.

Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?

Focus on the willing. 

It has been a privilege, thanks very much

Thank you indeed, pleasure.


Links

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Attraction (The world's first interactive anime)
Attraction (The world's first interactive anime)

Stella Artois: The Black Diamond
Stella Artois: The Black Diamond

Unleash Your Fingers: Next Generation
Unleash Your Fingers: Next Generation

Unleash Your Fingers: Next Generation

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