I would say that my biggest commercial achievement was Elf Yourself. 194 million people in 6 weeks was something that is hard to replicate.
Please give us a brief bio of yourself.
I am a commercial and music video director signed to Tool of NA. Always being attracted to storytelling and interaction, I love to direct large projects that have many moving parts. Previously, I spent most of career as an advertising creative director. I was the co-founder of the digital agency EVB (evolution bureau) and helped dozens of brands create entertaining advertising content.
What do you do for inspiration?
I play a lot of video games. I think anyone working digitally should be playing video games. The worlds that are created, the stories, the characters and interfaces. It's amazing how much work goes into creating the worlds we play in. Storytelling is really reaching the quality and depth, and some times surpassing, of feature films.
What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?
I would say that my biggest commercial achievement was Elf Yourself. 194 million people in 6 weeks was something that is hard to replicate. Recently I did a project called David on Demand, in which we live streamed David's life 24/7 and allowed anyone on the internet to control him. It was technologically and conceptually something I am very proud of.
How do you relax or unwind?
I watch a lot of movies and play video games. When I want to unplug, I usually take my daughter to the park and leave my cell phone behind. Kids, while stressful at times, can really put things into perspective. I love the simplicity of being young and curious.
Has winning FWA awards helped you in any way?
i think that the FWA is a great real time meter of creativity and inspiration. I don't know a creative team out there that doesn't start by looking through the FWA when wanting inspiration while concepting. I remember winning the first FWA for work we were doing at EVB. It is always hugely inspiring to be included in the best of the digital work in the world. I think I have had the opportunity to help win over 27 FWAs, so I am very lucky to have worked on so much inspiring work.
What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?
My first web site was a record label I started in 1994 called Manipulation Records. It had poker chips and a "vegas-y" theme. It's not online anymore, but you can see parts of it via the way-back machine. I have had the manipulation.com web address for over 15 years now. I think when I registered it, you could pretty much buy most company URLs as well, since the internets wasn't really on a lot of people's radar.
Are there things you do OUTSIDE of work to ensure that you are in the right mindset to be creative and/or successful in whatever you are doing?
I really like to take photos.
What was the last digital effort you saw (or were a part of) that used social media in a way that really made sense. Why?
I recently had the opportunity to direct a project called David on Demand. We allowed anyone to control a live person in the south of France via Twitter. It was spread via social influence and was live streamed 24/7 for 6 days straight. There was a moment in which David was up in the sky, parasailing, and we were live streaming across the world and he was signing songs that people were requesting all in real time. It's really incredible how far technology has come and with the a good simple idea and story, the world watched and controlled a human being.
Have you been a part of a campaign that was rooted in digital and THEN reached over into other consumer touchpoints? Did this happen organically or was it a part of the plan from the beginning?
Elf Yourself was one that was a pure digital campaign that transcended into everything Office Max did for the holiday season. Everything from the elf costume we created to the tone of the elf and the dance became part of the brand culture once the calendar moved closer to the holidays. It happened very organically, since the first year was a surprise hit and second over-exceeded everyone's expectations. It's great to still see the elves pop up come holiday season.
The web is getting out of the web. Do you find that thinking in digital solutions alone hinders you? Do you feel the urge to solve the problem using all mediums necessary?
I really believe that the world is going to be a series of screens. Everything will move, animate and come to life. I doubt that there will be still photos attached to anything that is associated to advertising. Touchscreen technology will transform flat surfaces into interactive environments. I love that my knowledge of storytelling interactively is effect my view on broadcast work and vice versa.
Looking 10 years in to the future, how far can websites go?
Websites, I think, are a product of what the web currently can offer. Over the next 10 years, as bandwidth and technology evolve, I am hoping that everything will move towards content and is personalized, customized and available on any screen you will want to consume it.
If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring FWA award submitter, what advice would you give them?
I am just hoping that creatively we continue to push for what hasn't been done. New ideas executed in new and exciting ways. I would urge them to never say never and leap into the unknown, embracing the most creative idea they can think of. Execution is so important in this space, so polish it until it's perfect.
What would be your ultimate vehicle to travel in?
An electronic car that goes 0-60 in 3.6 seconds.
When your company was just getting started, what did you find was most effective for getting new clients?
Having a fresh and distinctive voice in a sea of sameness. Not being afraid to tell them what you feel is right and making work that made other clients say, "i want that".
How do you keep your finger on the pulse of the latest web trends?
Hours and hours of tirelessly pouring through sites and links to find what the latest and greatest is which is constantly inspiring. Never stop looking for inspiration. Part of being great creatively is digging into the past and applying to the future.
There must be a project that you have always dreamed of doing, what is it?
i think the concept of 'real time' is really intriguing. Twitter changed the way we get information and news. I saw a lot of the top digital winners in Cannes this year about 'real time' and digital meeting analog. Watching TV with other people online is another example of real time. We all want to connect to something and know that we aren't alone. Chalkbot, Twelpforce, World's Biggest Sign Post, are all examples of digital manifesting itself instantly in the real world. I love the idea of interacting in the digital world and having that effect the real world.
What is the most expensive thing you have bought in the last week?
I just bought the newest high end iMac. I am excited for quad processors. Whatever that means, it sounds like a lot of power.
Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?
I really would love to see the world of broadcast and interaction to keep colliding further and further. I love directing for broadcast television and I love the interactivity of the web, so I am excited by being busy doing more projects that combine the two worlds into a kick ass HD experience. So creatives... concept more of those!
It has been a privilege, thanks very much
Keep inspiring the world and keep demanding this industry to be better and better. Let's keep pushing ourselves and clients to do more things that haven't been done and to take chances. I live to be inspired. Inspire us.