I formed dsire, inc. about 5 years ago... and we need to redo our website! I'm like the plumber whose toilet doesn't work.

  Please give us a brief bio of yourself.

I was born at home in a four poster bed in an old English farm house with a thatched roof and mud and straw filled timber-framed walls.

I moved to London when I was 6 and I moved to the US (Vermont) when I was 11. I stopped going to school when I was 12 (not my choice, just a consequence of the commune where I lived - in Oregon by now).

My first job was at 17 in San Diego (Jack in the Box, lasted 2 weeks), then I started servicing and repairing 3/4" Umatic VCRs.

I then moved into construction, became a tile contractor (Marin County CA then Aspen CO), designed and built a house in Colorado (with one other person), was asked to design some houses, bought a computer (instead of a nice drafting board), did some residential architectural design, sold the Colorado house, moved to Los Angeles vowing never to do construction work again (unless it is on my own home), partnered with a graphic designer who did a lot of VHS and LaserDisc package design, started using my computer (6100/60 Power Mac) for print design, got a web design job... and here I am.

I've mostly worked for myself, for a short stint (about 1 1/2 years) I was a Creative Director for IBM during the dot com years, and I've done quite a bit of freelance work for different agencies in L

I formed dsire, inc. about 5 years ago... and we need to redo our website! I'm like the plumber whose toilet doesn't work.

  What do you do for inspiration?

Try to relax... it may sound like a cliche but all my best ideas come when I'm doing something totally unrelated to what I'm working on, and stress never has been a good fuel for creativity.

I also look at things I like visually, mostly books.. and usually a shape or a font pops up and says "hey" and that's the spark that leads to something else.

I also talk to my wife Dominique, she's the most talented person I know.

  Please list 3 of your favourite sites.

These change every now and then of course, the congo site I saw on FWA a few days ago and I love it, so powerful, so tragic, so real...

Forests-Forever.com is brilliant, so nice and clean, every view in every moment is beautiful, the architecture is easy to follow and it has a great message.. and it's relaxing!

And it's about six years old now but one of my all time favorites is RequiemForADream.com, I think this site broke a lot of boundaries for a lot of people, myself included, great work.

  What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?

Being a father, and it's something I'm working on every day, my son Bruno is only 3 now so there's still LOADS to learn. The biggest gift and biggest challenge of my life.

  What software couldn't you live without?

Hopefully none.

  What projects do you have in the pipeline?

Nothing definite right now, possibly another movie (I hope, it looks like a good one), and

it looks like we'll be doing a few projects with tomandandy - geniuses in their own special way.

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

There are so many people doing great work...

I often see things that I like coming from Post Visual in Korea, Hi-Res in London, the folks at group94 have wonderful IA in their very sleek sites and pay really nice attention to the details of a project... but I couldn't say these are the top 3 because new work and innovation happens all the time from many different places.

I think the best design is the work that moves me the most, whether it be forest-forever.com which was built by an agency, and supervisors with input from outside writers and extremely talented photographers, or it could be a simple visual statement in an illustrators portfolio.

I guess I don't feel 'worldly' enough as a design critic to tell you who I think the top 3 are, in fact I don't think there are a top 3, I think that's impossible because things are always changing (how's that for a Piscean answer?)

  What effect on traffic do your new designs have?

Tricky question since lately most of our work has been for film which is event based and doesn't have consistent traffic over long periods of time...

What I can say is that I was told that over 50% of people polled after seeing Aeon Flux in Southern California stated that the online campaign was a big part of why they came to see the film. That's pretty awesome!

  Who is your target audience?

My client's target audiences.

Moviegoers, bikers, people who want to be bikers, Ad agencies, health conscious types, people in the market for an $18,000,000 private Caribbean island... all sorts really, dependent upon what current project I'm working on.

  What area of web design lacks the most?

Real Estate and Hotels & Resorts.

This is slowly starting to change but it always startles me that people try and sell destinations and properties with really crap sites (for the most part) that give you no experience of what you possibly are about to spend loads of money on to have an experience!

I think in Real Estate it's so bad because it's so prolific, the internet has dramatically changed this business but the agents and offices are only just beginning to realize that bad design won't help them (at least I think they're realizing... some of them.)

Most realtors websites are poorly designed and I wonder what they're thinking when they take the pictures of the houses that they are selling ( I get crazy about this because I like looking at homes for sale online and always get annoyed at what I don't get to see).

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

My first site was for the movie City of Industry (1997) with Harvey Keitel, it's no longer online.

With my partner at the time we designed it for a very small company in LA, <TAG>media which later got bought by Razorfish.

It was very dark and had flashing neon lights and explosions all done as gif animations.

For the time it was pretty cool, not many people were doing javascript rollovers with sound attached to them, we did our best to make it feel 'theatrical'.

It was a lot of fun and got me hooked on doing web design as opposed to print. I didn't have to deal with color separations and offset printers, and the files were much smaller which was very beneficial back then.

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

No I haven't and don't plan to, but it's a nice idea.

If I were to write something I think I'd want it to be about including our hearts into the work we do and the lives we live, more specifically as men rather than a general statement.

It goes back to feeling, because I know for myself when I'm connected and feel an emotional investment in what I'm doing it's more fun, more profound and I usually learn something from the experience.

And, it always seems harder for men to be connected to their true hearts desires than for women (I'm a man, just in case anyone is wondering).

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

Probably my first full flash site. It was for A Band Apart in Los Angeles.

It was only tough in that I was learning as I was going so every step was a challenge and I worked very, very, very long hours to complete it.

Fortunately it was also when I cemented my working relationship with Natalia who is my wonderful actionscript guru, so she stopped me from going completely insane.

The site is only online as an archived version on my server: http://www.dsire.com/archive/aba/swf/Base.html

  Do you think Flash is here to stay?

As long as it evolves, which it seems to be doing quite nicely.

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

Well.. speaking from experience :) I stopped going to school when I was 12 and have since practiced graphic/web design and architectural design (residential) so I'd have to say yes.

And as a caveat I sometimes wonder how my work would be different if I'd have had the opportunity to go to art school.

I mean, it must be a lot of fun to get to work on projects which don't have client budgets/deadlines attached to them.

My dad went to art school in London when he was about 50, so I guess it's never too late.

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

Word of mouth is the best, and I'm not much of a 'word of mouth' type guy so it's been challenging at times.

The next best thing has been having some credit or link somewhere on the work you do, but this isn't always possible.

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

I just learn by doing, I always have. That's how I learned to build houses too.

I'm fortunate in that I can look at most things and then figure out how they're done, or put together... I'm not much of a programmer though.

I think the way I've learned the fastest is to work on things with people that are better than I am and just absorb as much as possible from them.

My son's godmother almost made it to the Olympics as a freestyle skier; I love to ski with her because she's so amazing my skiing always improves dramatically.

So my master plan would be this:

step 1) get a project that is on a deadline, even if it requires something you don't know how to do.

step 2) get someone who can help you (even sporadically) who knows what they're doing.

step 3) make sure you have plenty of time to stay up late.

This may not be ideal, but it worked for me. And of course the internet is the biggest resource anyone has ever had for anything.

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

A 20 gallon hot water heater.

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

I think I know what this means... I like what I like, it has to be comfortable (especially shoes) and I don't care who makes it.

Warm sun, comfy shorts and a very soft cotton t-shirt (james perse, I know it's a label but it is some of the softest cotton).

  Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?

Don't spend too much time in front of a computer! See the world, it will make you a better person, smarter too!

  It's been a privilege, thanks very much.

Thank you, I'm honored to be asked. Keep up the great site!

All rights reserved © 2000 - 2016 Favourite Website Awards (FWA) -  Terms & Conditions -  Privacy statement -  Cookie Policy -  Advertise -  About FWA -  Contact