Most people don't want to say what they've got coming up... Is it really that top-secret?
Please give us a brief bio of yourself.
Shorthand version: Irish-Mexican Southern California native, more or less. Always into art, but ended up joining the Navy out of school.
Got out of the Navy with a scholarship and went to USC where I double-majored in Communications and Fine Arts.
Got exposed to graphic design and my future career was decided. Initially, I worked in design studios that had more of a corporate / hi-tech clientele, doing primarily print design for annual reports, identities, and collateral.
Illustrator 3.0 and Photoshop 1.0 were rapidly phasing out waxers and paste-up in most shops at the time.
Made the switch to the entertainment design niche just as Photoshop 2.0 was released.
I’ve been working for or in the entertainment industry ever since, as both a client (studio side) and vendor.
I’ve worked at most of the entertainment design shops in Los Angeles, Cimarron Group, BD Fox, Seiniger etc.
I’m currently a partner/creative director at Ted. Perez. + Associates, prior to that I was at dna studio and genex.
What do you do for inspiration?
Sketch, sketch, sketch. Check out the websites and work of illustrators and photographers.
Play with my kids. Do push-ups. Drink coffee. Bake. Play Tekken. Visit my favorite bookstore, Hennesey + Ingalls. Do word association. Watch movies. Daydream.
Brainstorm with the peeps here at Ted. Perez. The owner of Ted. Perez., Taj Tedrow is a conceptual dynamo.
Please list 3 of your favourite sites.
What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?
Lifewise, convincing Elisabeth to marry me, and having our two sons, Henry and Jack.
Careerwise, managing to excel and enjoy a career in a very demanding and trying design industry niche.
What software couldn't you live without?
Photoshop, iTunes and Flash
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
Most people don’t want to say what they’ve got coming up...Is it really that top-secret?
We’re finishing up sites for the Idlewild (Outkast) movie and The Last King of Scotland (Idi Amin biopic) movie, and we’re starting on The Good Shepherd (History of the CIA) movie.
And it seems like we’re constantly reading scripts and pitching something.
Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?
That’s a real tough one. I admire the work of so many companies out there.
Someone is always coming up with something inspiring.
I like the work that odopod’s been doing lately. Crispin Porter + Bogusky continue to push the conceptual bar higher. And in terms of the entertainment design space, Lionsgate continues to set the standard for film marketing print work and campaigns.
What effect on traffic do your new designs have?
That’s an interesting dilemma we currently have. Traditionally, studios don’t let you see the numbers.
They generally control their servers, and are very tight-lipped on sharing the traffic data. In the past, when we have been privy to that info, we made the biggest impact when we created communities around the specific titles.
Examples of this would be titles like Napoleon Dynamite and T3.
Who is your target audience?
Who goes to the movies? It varies with every title.
What area of web design lacks the most?
Within the entertainment design space, I think it’s the art of capitalizing on what the web does best, creating communities of like minded individuals.
It’s pretty rare for a studio to be willing to let their online audience be more than a passive user on their sites.
Designwise, typography always seems to be the red-headed step child online.
What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?
(Speaking of typography problems.) It was a flash site, a take on 50’s style advertising graphics. No, its original version is gone.
Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?
God, no. I have a hard enough time writing proposals and the like. I do ok with simple copywriting, though.
What was the toughest thing you ever did with Flash? How long did you spend on it? Is it still online?
As I’m more of a designer/animator, I’d say it was just mastering flash to a degree in which I could create engaging opening animations for some of our sites.
I’ve always liked the opening for T3. Ice Age and Minority Report had their moments as well. On all of those I had great tutelage from Mike Kellogg, an amazing flash guru.
Do you think Flash is here to stay?
I think, ultimately, the lines between the major Adobe apps are going to continue to dissolve until you have a hybrid of photoshop, after effects and flash.
What are your views on design/graphic school. Do you think someone can get into the field without educational experience in a school environment?
Definitely. But I think there are certain life experiences to be had during college/design school and connections to be made which can’t be replicated anywhere else.
When your company was just getting started, what did you find was most effective for getting new clients?
Capitalizing on pre-existing connections and doing work that went beyond client expectations, even if it hurt the bottom line a bit, ultimately paid off in new clients/business.
How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?
Well, first off, “so many” is not a good description in my case. What I’ve learned has come from the people I’ve been fortunate enough to work with, and keeping an eye on other like mediums, broadcast and theatrical motion graphics work.
What is the most expensive thing you've bought in the last week?
Credits on istockphoto.com
What type of overcoat do you wear when Flashing, basically are you a labels man?
I’m a family man, labels are a thing best reserved for single people without a mortgage. Also, fashion is fleeting, buy what you like, not what everyone else says you like.
Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?
ATTENTION TO DETAIL, my friends. It really does make all the difference.
It's been a privilege, Eric, thanks very much.
De nada, my pleasure.