There are no rules now - we are creating them. Best thing to do is create your own. Chase your own dreams. Passion will always get you the answer.
Please give us a brief bio of yourself.
Brief huh? Well back in the early 90's I was a devoted DeadHead. I would actually follow those freaks around. =D At the time - I was in love with creating music - jamming out - however the deeper and deeper I got into their shows - the more I realized the power of the visuals they would be generating alongside their incredible improvisations.
At that point I decided I wanted to explore the "multi-media" aspect of performance – the combination of audio and visual. Unfortunately there wasn't really Photoshop yet - and when it was there we had NO layers!! Talk about challenging!
So I remained entirely self-taught dabbling on Macs until 1995 - when our friend the InterWeb came along ; ) I immediately got tapped into the Vrave community and was hooked. Mass communications = stoked.
From there I became completely self-taught - purchased HTML in 24 hours and within 2 hours was on my way. ; )
Everything since then really has been self-learned. There were no schools teaching internet skills of any kind back then - so I took a Digital Media course - which was for the most part useless - and instead I began instructing and formed CRASH!
THEN CAME FLASH. BOOM. HOOKED. Have been mucking with it ever since - to the point where I have contributed to 3 publications and authored another. This has now opened up into speaking opportunities - which is what I love. Hooking up with like minds around the world - sharing information, ideas and insight.
What area of web design lacks the most?
Truly - I think Audio is still VERY underused to convey emotion and message. Sound is the strongest sensory experience - yet it gets abused online. Clever sound production is one of the remaining gaps in successful online experiences.
What do you do for inspiration?
hehe..who's the audience here? Still - to this day - I find music very inspiring. I prefer to listen to music that displaces time, nothing too on the beat, but more ambient / atmospheric. I find if I immerse myself in sensory information, which is abstract - it tends to lend to a more creative approach to what I am doing. When in a creative block - quite often just getting outside and into a new environment starts stimulating again - otherwise just pick up some magazines or read - get other parts of the brain rolling.....
What software couldn't you live without?
Browsers. Flash. Photoshop. ACID.
What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?
I would have to say the work we've done with looplabs www.looplabs.com . That site was created by just myself and two others - in our spare time. It was built out of passion. Beyond the numerous awards which we're very thankful to receive - the REAL reward is in the emails we receive. We've had hundreds of the most positive emails you can imagine.
It seems we've really struck a chord with a segment of the Internet audience. We've created something that has added a lot of value to a lot of people - and that's what this is all really about. So that would have to be one of the greatest achievements.
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
Well, we're currently about to release an interesting International site we created for Miller Brewing. It's a Flash based site - multi-user, multi-lingual - has some cutting edge functionality for sure.
We're also very stoked to be developing the northpole2003.com site. This site will document Ben Saunders solo mission to the North Pole over 50 days. It's extremely exciting to be developing it with some bleeding edge technology - so we'll be able to be in LIVE contact with him during his expedition through wireless connections. Of course we have some other fun things we are working on - including the next generation of looplabs.com
Who is your target audience?
Well, each project is different - and brings with it a new audience. But ideally (overall) 18-35 tech-savvy and culturally aware.
What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?
haha. It was for a friends' band - they were called braintoy. It was my first chance to push audio/visual on the web - using some very outdated technologies. It's offline - now - they gave up the fight.
Do you think Flash is here to stay?
Absolutely. It's pretty much the ONLY tool to use to communicate with multiple media online - and reach users. It's capabilities just keep on growing. There is almost nothing that you can't do with flash now as the front end. With some of the new technologies coming out - there is absolutely no chance that Flash is going away. We'll see it embraced even more as it continues to expand outside the 'web' world and into more set-tops, PDA's, handhelds, etc. Flash will be synonymous with Wireless development soon.
Have you written any books?
Yes. I've contributed to a number of titles including: FLASH5 For Dummies, FlashSite Workshop, FlashMX Audio Magic as well as authoring XML in Flash.
What was the toughest thing you ever did with Flash?
I think the most ambitious Flash project would probably be looplabs.com. It's a project that we've tinkered with for over a year - through different iterations and versions. Although this new Miller web property pushed as much Flash as we could throw at it without breaking.
How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?
RTFM! Truly - number one way to learn. Pick up the best books, read documentation thoroughly and learn to stay up very, very late. That's pretty much the route I have gone. Exploring. Playing. There are no rules now - we are creating them. Best thing to do is create your own. Chase your own dreams. Passion will always get you the answer.
What type of overcoat do you wear when Flashing, basically are you a labels man?
Umm..sorry I prefer robes ; )
Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?
Keep it real. Remember that what we do is communicate - and we are using a new tool, which is constantly changing. Anything is possible - or will be soon. Focus on what it is that you want to do - and do it, with all your heart.
Spend your time creating your own cool shit instead of slagging someone elses. Life is about sharing experiences. So get out there and create some memories!
It's been a privilege, Craig, thanks very much.
My pleasure. Soon again hopefully....