You might have noticed that I’m not a geek. I’m unable to write a single line of code.

 Please give us a brief bio of yourself.

First of all, I’m French and English is not my native language even if I spent 5 years (a long, long time ago) in Puerto Rico, where I used to practice daily when I was not wind surfing. After graphic arts studies, and coming back from the Caribbean, I worked as an art director and production manager for an advertising agency specialized in publishing and print media.

A couple of years ago (the 1st of june 2012) I created La Souris Qui Raconte, a digital publishing house for the 5-10 years old, first one online, and also available for the past 3 months on the iPad and Android market. I’m now a publisher, specialized in children stories, witch are all animated and interactive with voice over. 

A tale off the top of my head is one of my favorite because it is the story of a relationship between an author (Séverine Vidal) and a publisher and soon after between words and an illustration. Claire Fauché the illustrator worked for 9 month on the text, bringing it to life in drawings. She made an incredible job on the diverse characters of the story.

 What do you do for inspiration?

As a publisher, I read a lot and dream about the books I've read! I’m looking for the best! Séverine and Claire gave me just that!

 Please list 3 of your favourite sites.

Moving Tale with Pedlar Lady is just astonishing.
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore by Moonbot drive me crazy. I wish I could have published that one! The third one is probably The heart and the bottle by Harper & Collins. The 3 of them offer a smart and beautiful story as well as beautiful illustrations with animations. All interactivity is also well placed and balanced.

 What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?

La Souris Qui Raconte, my publishing house, the business I’m working on with all my heart and determination too. It’s tough but so exciting!

 How many hours do you work each week?

It depends on what you mean by work because it’s more an adventure! I’m wearing multiple hats right now so I would  say between 10 and 12 hours a day.

 How do you relax or unwind?

I read some more. You cannot imagine the power of books!

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

I don’t know very much about html or xml. As an art director, I wanted something special for La Souris Qui Raconte’s web site. It had to be made for children first. This is why its design is so colorful with an animated and speaking logo. I’m not the one who designed the web site. I’m the one who choose to have it done this way.

To answer precisely to your question, I have two other passions: cooking and gardening! So I would be probably be doing one of these two.

 What's your favourite part of your job? What's the hardest part of your job?

My favorite is to work with authors and illustrators. Discover characters. Read different texts. Look for new talents. 

The hardest is to do PR and work on your exposure. You know better than anyone how difficult it is. Web is the world, and where am I in this world?

 What software could you not live without?

You might have noticed that I’m not a geek. I’m unable to write a single line of code. I do use a lot of different softwares though because of what I’m doing. From Adobe suite to Microsoft Office, it all depends. I’m not a specialist in any of those, but I’m using them daily.

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

iBook Author was the one. When I heard of it, I immediately decided to use it. I built a 100-page multimedia catalog about LSQR titles that you can find for free on eBook Store. That was fun!

 Has winning FWA awards helped you in any way?

Of course! First it’s good for ego. Some experts liked what I’ve done! Wow! Beside, it will help me with exposure. I will buzz around that event. Some people will discover who I am and what I’m publishing. A tale off the top of my head is not our only app. We have some more on the Apps store and Google play too, it will probably help these too!

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

I did actually. Adhi, le petit porteur de soufre (Adhi, the young sulfur carrier) and Polo le clodo (Polo the Hobo). They’re not yet translated. The first one is inspired by scenes I've seen on a journey to Java island where I saw men carrying huge sulfur blocks on their shoulders. Those men are so humble, always smiling and suffering without complaining. The second story is a kind of modern poetry about a homeless person who chooses to be homeless because the only thing he cares about is freedom.

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

As I said, I’m not the one in charge of Flash programming, but Claire Fauché who drew A tale off the top of my head will be much more able to answer this question.

Claire: « A tale off the top of my head » was tough: 4 months for animating and programming. The animations were made frame by frame and that caused problems later because of the size and quantity of the files. It would have taken longer to finish without some tips from the Flash Doctor. I don't often work on Flash with complicated programming. Generally I only do animation. So I'm proud I managed to finish the whole thing nearly on my own.

 Do you think Flash is here to stay?

More than 80% of the websites around the world are built using Flash. Some developers are saying that html5 will replace Flash. Until now, I haven't seen better results with html5. Maybe that time will come, maybe not, it might still be too early to tell! Beside that all the artists I’m working with are comfortable with Flash, not so much with html5 yet.

 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?

Yes you’re right for websites. But for the stories I’m publishing, it’s still the easiest way to have animations, interactivities and sounds, all mixed together it makes the best stories to the youngest!

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

To have one is definitely easier to start. But in those trades, what you need first is talent in the matter. If you like what you’re are doing, if you work hard at it knowing exactly where you want to go, it will definitely help you succeed!

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

Believe in yourself is the starting point. But for that, you need to play the role. Be strong and determinate, but mainly work more than somebody else. Success is part of talent and part of work. “Success is ten percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration” Thomas Edison.

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

The illustrators I work with know Flash. Of course they can get stuck, so I found them a Flash Doctor for all issues!  My Flash doctor signs off on all the stories you can find on the web site!

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

- I will let Claire answer to that question.

I believe you must use Flash daily in order to master it, which is not the case for me. It's like drawing, you need to practice every day in order to stay at a good standard and learn new ways to make your work better. I learnt from tutorials, forums, people and determination. 
A tip: make friends with programmers, ask for help when you are stuck, use the advice they give you and make it work. Don't forget to thank the person, send a present or a voucher in return maybe.

 What country excites you the most in terms of innovation?

You find amazing things in Poland, or Czech Republic. Machinarium from Amanita Design is just gorgeous.  

Of course United States are not bad either!

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

Like I said before, Morris Lessmore would be the one, especially since they published a paper book using augmented reality. It was first a film, than an app and now a paper book using innovation! Brilliant!

 Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?

The one I’m using like base line says:

"Le verbe lire ne supporte pas l'impératif. Aversion qu'il partage avec quelques autres, le verbe aimer… le verbe rêver…" (The verb read doesn't support the imperative. Aversion that it shares with a few others, the verb love, the verb dream …)

Daniel Pennac one of my favorite french authors.

 It has been a privilege, thanks very much

Thank you for having chosen A tale of the top of my head

for FWA Mobile Of The Day Award. It’s an honor for me and for all the people who worked on that unique book.

Author: Séverine Vidal

Illustrator: Claire Fauché

French narrative: Cécile Giverney

English narrative: Christopher Davis

English Translation: Amy C. Fechtmann

Flash Doctor: Ivan Timsit

and also Avant-Goût Studios who ported the Flash story to the app.


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