Sure it's hard work and stressful at times, but it sure beats selling DVDs at the Virgin Megastore (which I actually did once... but they weren't DVDs... they were Laser Discs!).
Please give us a brief bio of yourself.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, but moved to New York in January 2000 (everyone needs to live in New York at a certain point in their lives).
Began working at Firstborn in the role of Executive Producer in June of 2002 and have been with the firm ever since.
This past summer Firstborn decided to expand and I’ve headed back to Los Angeles to head up our new west coast office. I’m sitting pretty up here on the Sunset strip working on cool assignments while my cohorts are back in NY getting ready for the gloriously cold winter.
Prior to Firstborn I worked for a now defunct broadcast/interactive design firm called Pittard Sullivan.
What do you do for inspiration?
My life seems to center around art, food and work, and luckily the same holds true for my wife (she’s a creative director at a competing design firm in LA).
We’re foodies and get inspired by cooking and creating great meals. It’s a bit stressful trying to cook something fanciful for friends and family, but we’ve done it on occasion to much success.
Art plays a huge role in our lives and it inspires me on a daily basis. We have a pretty solid collection of contemporary art and I continuously mill about our home reexamining some of the work we’ve collected.
I can’t seem to stop looking at some of our newest acquisitions, which include works by Slater Bradley, Dave Muller, Philip Lorca diCorcia, Erik Parker, Chiho Aoshima, Tim Lokiec and many others.
Living in LA again after being a way for 6 years is inspiring as well. I look upon the city with new eyes and a different attitude and I’m finding a lot of joy explore Los Angeles’ numerous facets all over again.
Please list 3 of your favourite sites.
Tough one. Seem to visit so many each day.
Well, I always hit up artnet for the latest art news.
Not going to list the flash portal sites…those are too obvious.
Now that I’m in LA I seem to miss Page Six, so I check it out online as I drink my morning coffee (and write a boat load of emails at the same time).
And I’d have to say this is one the best sites I’ve seen in awhile, Door to Art. Just love everything about it. The display of imagery, the unique navigation schemes per artist, the immense attention to detail. Such care went into this site and it shows.
And that new Comcastic site was killer. Whoops…guess that’s four. Oh well.
What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?
I suppose having a rewarding life/job/family.
Working at Firstborn is a culmination of a lot of hard work, and I’ve ended up at a firm that enables me to work on some of the best projects with the best designers/developers, not to mention our executive staff in New York who I’m in constant communication with.
I really look at the projects that we create as little works of art and I try to produce the finest work possible. This enables me to go home at night feeling really proud of what I’m doing, and in turn, enables me to get the most out of life.
Sure it’s hard work and stressful at times, but it sure beats selling DVDs at the Virgin Megastore (which I actually did once…but they weren’t DVDs…they were Laser Discs!).
I love sharing my stories of the day with my wife over dinner each night.
What software couldn't you live without?
Outlook. MSN Messenger. IE. Word. ThumbsPlus (I use it to show our work to clients). That is about it. Sorry. Boring answer.
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
Things are actually going really well over here in Los Angeles and business is pretty good for our new office.
We’ve started working with a local ad agency (actually, a global agency that has a pretty big west coast office) and we’re helping them with some automotive sites.
There are few other things in the works that I can’t really mention. You’ll just have to check out www.firstbornmultimedia.com in the months to come for updates.
Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?
That’s a hard question to answer as there are so many great shops in our space.
I like the attention to detail and craftsmanship of the work Enjoy Greener Grass has been doing.
And outside of our space, Firstborn had the privilege to work with Kohn Pedersen Fox on their website. They are a global architecture firm who are designing some of the most impressive buildings, structures and master plans that I’ve seen in a long time.
What effect on traffic do your new designs have?
As a producer, I’m always interested in knowing if our designs are a success in terms of traffic; however, I certainly don’t obsess over it.
I merely am curious if the site was well received from a metrics standpoint and if we developed a site that was successful in our client’s eyes. For the most part, they’re always happy with the work we deliver.
Who is your target audience?
People interested in the artistry of interactive design. I love producing sites that people really take notice of.
After that, the audience really runs the gamut because we develop sites for so many different marketplaces (resorts, apparel, fragrance brands, cable networks, automotive companies, etc.).
What area of web design lacks the most?
Attention to detail; however, this area is improving.
I can’t stand sloppy design and I hate sites where designers/developers didn’t follow through all the way with their designs or flash development.
Luckily, I’m starting to see more and more sites that have just the right amount of care and polish, and that’s making for a better online experience for all of us.
What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?
The first site I really produced from start to finish was called “Real Hollywood” and it was an original entertainment-based chat site I did for Universal Studios online.
I produced the site, booked the talent for our weekly moderated chats, and served as MC for each of our one-hour shows.
Some were an absolutely disaster where no one would show up in the chat rooms and I had to think up an hour’s worth of questions for some B-list actor from Xena: Warrior Princess, while other times we had tons of people in the chat room asking thousands of questions.
The whole thing was pretty silly but my team and I had fun doing it. Lots of the transcripts are still out there.
Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?
No and no.
What was the toughest thing you ever did with Flash? How long did you spend on it? Is it still online?
I personally don’t work in Flash at all, but I’ve produced some sites that I know my developers wanted to kill me over.
We had one particularly massive and complex site that took a long time to develop. Just as we were about to launch our developer left town (it’s a really long story) and I had to tell another Senior Developer that he had to step up the plate and not only finish the site, but fix the bugs that he didn’t create in the first place.
I’m surprised the developer still speaks to me, yet he understood the situation we were in and came through for us.
Do you think Flash is here to stay?
Yes, in one way, shape or form. Something interesting will happen with the Adobe/Macromedia merger.
What are your views on design/graphic school. Do you think someone can get into the field without educational experience in a school environment?
I interview a lot of young designers and I’m always more impressed with the ones that went to design or art school.
They are more well rounded, focused and eager to put their skills and education to good use. This holds a lot of weight in my book.
As for producers that I hire, I also think that ones that have somewhat of an “artistic” background that was gained through education impress me the most.
When your company was just getting started, what did you find was most effective for getting new clients?
I wasn’t at Firstborn when it was getting started, but I do know the story.
The first thing we did was to create a promotional, exploration based CD-ROM called Terracommunica.
We wanted something that clients would remember us by after we pitched them our capabilities. Guess it worked. We’re still here and going strong after 8 years in business.
How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?
I’m certainly not qualified to answer this one as I have no flash skills and my design skills go about as far as an almost incomprehensible sketch (luckily my team generally understands what I’m getting out when I toss out an idea or two).
What is the most expensive thing you've bought in the last week?
I actually didn’t spend a lot of money this past week, so I’d have to say that the two pairs of Vans I bought online were probably the most expensive purchase. About 90 bucks with shipping and handling.
I also bought two great books that I highly recommend for art lovers and foodies alike. The first is Vitamin D: New Perspectives in Drawing and the other is The Silver Spoon, which is a massive 1200 page Italian cookbook. Both are by Phaidon.
What type of overcoat do you wear when Flashing, basically are you a labels man?
Man…I’m back in Los Angeles and I haven’t busted out a coat in a long time.
It’s too bad too; I’ve got some nice jackets that are going to see little to no use anymore.
Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?
I thought it would be nice to end with a couple quotes from people whom I have a lot of admiration for, both poets in their own right.
First, Bob Dylan: “Something is happening here, but you don’t know what it is, do you, Mister Jones?”
Next, Glenn Danzig: “I want your skull.”
It's been a privilege, Jeremy, thanks very much.