At about the time that I realized I was not fulfilled doing CAD design and that I likely would not become a rock star, the Dot Com "Boom" occurred.
Please give us a brief bio of yourself.
My name is Scott Robert Vernon Cook. I was born in Tom's River, NJ in 1971, before moving to an Atlanta suburb in 1979.
I spent most of my youth immersed in Dungeons and Dragons, or lazily daydreaming the time away (despite pleas from my parents to "get outside and get some exercise!").
Having flunked my way thru grammar and high school, it was a surprise to everyone when I actually graduated on time and then proceeded to garner Dean's List status in college. During the college years I experienced a small degree of success as vocalist and bassist for a couple of active Atlanta-based rock bands.
In college I pursued a course of study in "Engineering Graphics". This would result in my first "real" job with a Civil Engineering company. At about the time that I realized I was not fulfilled doing CAD design and that I likely would not become a rock star, the Dot Com "Boom" occurred.
I realized that this could provide a tremendous outlet for my creativity and promptly began teaching myself HTML and spending late nights playing with the Macromedia suite of programs. I landed a job with a prominent Dot Com agency, at the time, and the rest was history.
Oh, and I enjoy Margaritas and a spontaneous dance in the rain.
What do you do for inspiration?
Music, primarily. Music, good music, has always struck an emotional chord in me. I tend to have some sensory confusion (Synestesia). Like, I see certain words and numbers in particular colors.
This carries over with music. I hear certain melodies and I visualize textures, colors and landscapes. It's strange.
Please list 3 of your favourite sites.
Wow. Right now I'd have to say:
What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?
Becoming a parent. Or, that time I ate all those hotdogs at that contest and then... ah never mind.
What software couldn't you live without?
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
I'm about to start a website for a company that sells organic SPA & Wellness products from Brazil. Has a nice indigenous vibe.
Also, I have some upcoming site projects for BACARDI. Finally, I'm about 75% finished with the new version of driftlab.
Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?
These come to mind for web design companies:
What effect on traffic do your new designs have?
Well, minivans tend to zoom right on by as though there were nothing there. The Tractor Trailers tend to yield and look it over as though a terrible accident has taken place.
All in all, very few casualties result due to my work. Which I'm thankful for.
Who is your target audience?
Anyone who won't heckle. Ideally, I try to approach each site project with the target audience in mind and produce a design that will appeal to the appropriate demographic.
What area of web design lacks the most?
I'd like to see the trend continue in the vein of concepts and story-telling with web design.
Gone are the days of slick metallic interfaces and relying on photoshop skills. We need to pursue and embrace the theme.
What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?
(Gulp) Mercifully, no, it's not still online. I can tell you that it was black with lots of clunky CAD generated 3D renders of space ships and random 0bjects animating in and out, compliments of Flash 3. A real gem, it was.
Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?
I have not. No one has approached me in this regard. I'm not sure that I would have anything to say that hasn't already been said more eloquently.
But, I'd certainly be open to it if I was approached with the right topic or, if I get overwhelming inspiration on a particular subject.
What was the toughest thing you ever did with Flash? How long did you spend on it? Is it still online?
Hmmm, probably when I first really learned how to write conditional statements with Actionscript.
I recall writing this huge block of "if" statements to control the in and out transitions for all the sections of a site. I then realized how inefficiently I had done it and went back and rewrote most of it. It was a hassle, but a great learning experience.
Do you think Flash is here to stay?
Sure. It's become an industry standard. It will evolve of course.
What are your views on design/graphic school. Do you think someone can get into the field without educational experience in a school environment?
My experience in the work world has been that clients and agencies are looking for talent... period.
They want to see that you have the skills and that you can get it done and done right.
Let me put it this way: I cannot recall when I was ever asked by an employer about my schooling/education in design. They want to see what you can do.
That being said, I think there's a tremendous benefit to the theoretical aspects of design and approach that can be gleaned from schooling.
When your company was just getting started, what did you find was most effective for getting new clients?
My previous work on the web. I always hear, "Such n such showed me this site you did over here and I wanted to contact you and...".
We've been staying consistently busy with only a temporary portfolio up with old work samples (which will soon change).
How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?
Steal. No, I'm joking. Honestly, I just experiment. I play around with layer filters in Photoshop and I spend countless hours in Flash's Actionscript dictionary, looking at the examples.
I recommend doing just that. Experiment and look at what others have done and try to, just for fun, to recreate those techniques. This often leads to your own unique "style".
What is the most expensive thing you've bought in the last week?
Stainless steel gas grill. Lots of sausages getting grilled over here these days.
What type of overcoat do you wear when Flashing, basically are you a labels man?
If I understand the question correctly, I use the convention: mc_movieclip, etc...
Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?
Don't eat yellow snow. And if you are a designer, find your own unique voice.
Embrace the challenge of creating something novel even though there's nothing new under the sun.
It's been a privilege, Scott, thanks very much.
Thanks a ton. It's an honor.