Fun Fact: I funded the early days of Real Pie with the residuals I had earned performing the last series of Budweiser Frogs/Lizards/Ferret commercials.
Please give us a brief bio of yourself.
I'm Co-Founder and Principal of Real Pie Media. I started Real Pie with my wife, Holly Skodis, in 2000.
After film school I was distracted for about eight years by a career in special effects as an Animatronics Designer.
Fun Fact: I funded the early days of Real Pie with the residuals I had earned performing the last series of Budweiser Frogs/Lizards/Ferret commercials. The cinematic aspect of Flash sparked the filmmaker in me and I started out making "Flash Music Videos" for Hollywood Records on Shockwave.com in 2000. Real Pie was born.
What do you do for inspiration?
Design? I monitor FWA, Screenfluent and whatever my team IM's me throughout the day.
Marketing? My RSS feeds that include countless blogs focusing on the future of social media
and how it is impacting our industry.
Please list 3 of your favourite sites.
Wonkette (and any Gawker site, really)
What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?
My wife hasn't left me and my kids still recognize me, after eight years of Real Pie.
What software could you not live without?
Keynote. Skitch. Photoshop. Flash.
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
GetCirqued.com is a cool microsite for Cirque Du Soleil Las Vegas that suggests shows based on user input. We're also ramping up on DOUBT for Miramax Films.
Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?
What effect on traffic do your new designs have?
I think less and less because traffic is becoming an old metric. The new metrics are engagement, referral, viral, etc., and unfortunately for the sake of this interview, measurement of these is nascent at best.
Who is your target audience?
This week? Independent film lovers, Las Vegas tourists and corporate media planners.
What area of web design lacks the most?
Basic advertising imperatives and common-sense usability.
What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?
A site for my brother's band "Mission To Mars." The navigation worked like a Viewmaster slide. Very retro. Not online but on the floor, near my desk, safely hidden from humanity inside my first Bondi iMac.
Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?
No. I'd love to, but I can't imagine finding enough time.
What was the toughest thing you ever did with Flash? How long did you spend on it? Is it still online?
Two years ago, we were foolish enough to try to build a blog in Flash as a personal favor for Zach Braff. He gets so many comments that it was impossible to parse that much text. We ended up scrapping it and going hybrid. You can see it at ZachBraff.com
Do you think Flash is here to stay?
I think so, but Adobe can thank YouTube for the insurance policy. Can't really beat it for video delivery right now.
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've hired both and success depends much more on personality, work ethic and raw talent. You can't beat a great online portfolio.
Agency experience is more important, IMHO. All things being equal, I'll hire the intern over the graduate.
When your company was just getting started, what did you find was most effective for getting new clients?
Cold calling, believe it or not. Everyone says "doing good work" and yes, our biz dev is 90% inbound now. But getting started, I did my homework and cold called the right people.
How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?
"Bad artists copy. Good artists steal." - Pablo Picasso. You should copy styles until your toolbox is full, but steal the intangible that communicates ideas. I think that's what Pablo meant.
What is the most expensive thing you have bought in the last week?
My 5-yr-old's first real bicycle. I wanted to get her a Schwinn, but Barbie won out.
What type of overcoat do you wear when Flashing, basically are you a labels man?
As a HyperConsumer(tm), I'm definitely a labels man. I'm starting a trend-of-one called California Preppy - sort of a cross between George Hamilton and Vampire Weekend.
Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?
Dig in and figure it out. The Internet is rearranging the universe so that everyone is capable of everything.
It has been a privilege, thanks very much.
You're quite welcome. The pleasure's all mine.