The best designers are those that are self-taught, self-motivated and most importantly naturally talented. FI strictly do not employ those with an education within the design and programming field.

  Please give us a brief bio of yourself.

Hi, my name is David Martin, 24, 5ft 11” and incredibly good looking :). I was born in Dublin, Ireland and lived there almost all my life.

I moved to Sweden at 21 where I started a firm called Dolphin Ocean AB and later Fantasy Interactive (FI).

Sweden has A GREAT broadband infrastructure compared to Ireland, which allows me to develop material closer to the standard I want. Besides working, I love anything adventurous from hiking, camping and rock climbing (a true scout), snow boarding and skiing is a totally cool experience, too.

  What do you do for inspiration?

I REALLY try to avoid forums and looking at other sites as I feel websites have very little inspiration for me compared to the special digital FXs and “Fantasy Interfaces” you would find in Hollywood movies.

I have been totally fascinated all my life by what’s on the computer screen, in the background of movies like Red Planet, Final Fantasy, Mission to Mars.

I can’t explain it, it’s a little freaky. When I went to see Final Fantasy I just analysed its interfaces and didn’t care about the rest. I buy DVDs and pause the movies during any scenes with digital interfaces, screenshot, print them up and stick them around my desk for inspiration. When I develop motion graphics for flash or TV, I listen to “Crystal Method – keep the hope alive” every time, this gets the fire burning.

  Who is your target audience?

Game developers and publishers. Motion picture studios such as Warner Bros. Digital design studios such as Fido and Visual Arts. I would like to make the website for xbox.com, which is an audience for me that suits my style.

  Please list 3 of your favourite sites.

www.skynews.co.uk – everyday since Sept 11th I have been here.

www.ultrashock.com and www.favouritewebsiteawards.com

I take a look at both of these, US/FWA, to look out for things that I can improve on. I don’t surf them for inspiration as such but just to stay sharp making sure I don’t fall behind. To be honest I have always been a little scared of sites like these in case I found something that was completely awesome and I could not do better in any way. I was almost shooting myself when I saw www.thevoid.co.uk a few years ago.

  What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?

Oh.. tricky one. A lot of people think I drive around in a Ferrari etc, but it’s not the case right now.

I feel that I have struggled extremely hard in the past 2 years trying to get FI off the ground and being caught up in the market crashes and falls has been no easy task. We have produced some sites that I am very proud of and each one has been groundbreaking in many ways.

The fact that we are still here and 2002 looks like it will be very strong for us, I consider that to be the best overall achievement.

  What projects do you have in the pipeline?

O3 Games is one I am doing right now which is looking to be my fav so far. Also I will start on a Warner Bros project next week and a Play Station 2 title.

I am going to be working on the GUI’s for titles being released on the Xbox and Nintendo Game Cube next month also.

In a few months I will launch www.propod.com (Professional Platform) which I have been working on since last year. It’s a personal project devoted to broadband media and I’m pretty excited about it as it’s for me the next step in creating websites and user interfaces. The new FI site has been delayed due to time restrictions as we do not want to release the site until we feel it is perfect. For now we are going to lay low and cycle some corporate versions. A little work with Fido here and there, some cool stuff going on at Stadsgarden.

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

Nope. Was approached last year but no time, although planning to after I produce 4 or 5 projects this year on the same level as Fido or Starbreeze.

  Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?

I gotta be careful here :). In fact I have to say 5 are equal in terms of sites I have seen. I think FI, Kioken, 2A, WDDG and Hi-Res! produce material which is of a standard I consider to be excellent as all 5 produce a variety of different designs which are unique and ground breaking, each firm with their own styles. However there are so many new firms out there producing great sites it is difficult to know.

Interesting to see what all 5 could do together?

  What effect on traffic do your new designs have?

When we launched Starbreeze it received 15 million hits in the first 24hrs. We had the thing on 3 servers and then 4. It was a staggering response and most of the hits were generated from ICQ users sending the usual “take a look at this!” etc… It has calmed down now big time but generates a couple of thousand visitors a day.

I know when we launched Fido it received a good response to the design community. Fido now gets an average of 5 – 6000 visitors a day which isn’t bad.

  What area of web design lacks the most?

The communication between Flash and Quick time was a joke, but it’s been solved now due to number 6. I think web design, flash design in particular lacks the executive corporate decision maker who believes in spending some of their budget on anything “fancy” or to do with image. We need more younger CEOs who own a PlayStation, watch re-runs of Friends and would consider having a board meeting in McDonald’s, then the internet would be a better looking place.

  What software couldn’t you live without?

Flash 6, Photoshop 6, After Effects 5, without them I am a fish without water.

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

My first site was literally a joke.

It was a site dedicated to funny pictures and conspiracy theories. I was so proud when it was complete.

I remember sitting pressing F5 (refresh) every few seconds to see if my counter would register another visitor.

Is it online? lol, If it was online now, you would delete this interview and FI would overthrow me, so God no!

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

Henrik (Julle) Juhlin is FI’s actionscriptor and a God. He has made possible our concepts and designs that were never accomplished before.

I have done nothing hard in flash compared to him. I’m a pure designer working with graphics and motion graphics. Julle is the pure actionscriptor. I don’t think people realize what he has done to make the likes of Fido and Starbreeze actually work. It took us a few weeks day and night, long thinking times while stuck on trains and many equations on Henrik’s white board.

  Do you think Flash is here to stay?

I think unless Macromedia develop a flash player which is stronger and more powerful at pushing graphics around, something by Microsoft or Adobe might rival it pretty fast.

Since flash 3 the performance of the player has increased very little which is what I am VERY disappointed with.

Unfortunately the flash 6 player is no improvement for us.

Flash is here to stay yes, but the last thing I want is Flash 7 and 8 with no more power in the player. Power to the player!!!!

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

The best designers are those that are self-taught, self-motivated and most importantly naturally talented. FI strictly do not employ those with an education within the design and programming field.

  When your company was just getting started, what did you find was most effective for getting new clients?

Making revolutionary and next generation sites that wow the audience and cause an abundance of publicity. Pushing the barriers and breaking into the future is what attracts clients today and what attracted them back then.

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

3 new Dell Laptops valued at $6500 each. They have a 128mb Geforce Fx’s, 15.4 inch screen, 2 gig ram, 60 gig drive, Pentium M 1.7, DVD burner, 1000mbit Net Card, a whole lot of other stuff that we get excited about.

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

I have worked with flash every day for the past 2 years and I mean every day. Most days at least 7-8 hours. One learns by knowing their tools inside out, knowing how far you can push before lagging occurs.

You must know what feels good and comfortable and get used to finding a balance between motions and content.

When I started out I used to copy sites, totally copy them from head to toe just so I could prove to myself I could make them technically. I would then redo them leaving out the parts I felt could be done better and improve upon them.

Of course I would never publish them or risk showing them to anyone but I realize now that was a good way of learning.

There are over 5 million flash developers, try to be original, clean and smooth and you will do well.

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

Funny question, “overcoat when flashing” :). Actually I love to design in my PJs my girlfriend bought for me in Kapp Ahl (Swedish brand) and at the kitchen table where I feel most comfortable with my laptop. Going out etc…labels are a big thing in Stockholm where image is everything.

  Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?

If you love and are addicted to your job whether you are a flash designer or a bin man, you will be among the best. Simple!

  It’s been a privilege, David, thank you!

My pleasure! Best of luck with FWA Rob! It’s bookmarked :)

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