Websites are the future of most entertainment. We are already seeing most network programming and movies available online. It is only a matter of time before TV and the Internet converge.

question Please give us a brief bio of yourself.

I have lived a very untraditional life and my career is really no different.  Although, like most people I fell into advertising by chance.  A lot of my experience and educational background should have led me to career as an Art Director, which I never pursued, Instead, I happened to luck into becoming a Producer.  It really has been a perfect fit- I have the opportunity to be very creative by bringing an idea to life, which is what really drives me.

question What do you do for inspiration?

All visual experiences are planned whether that is a painting, a film, a website, or a stroll through a park.  I can usually find inspiration when I consider experiences in my everyday life.  For example, why does the park entrance wind?  Are there multiple exits?  What kind of experience am I supposed to have as I walk though? Asking questions like this carries over into my work to help solve issues in production that come up all the time. 

question How many hours do you work each week?

That depends on the week, but integrated projects tend to be very time intensive since I am doing both the video content and the digital develop. I also get pretty invested in what I am working on so in the thick of it I usually think about work even when i am not working. I'll just say, I work a lot.

question How do you relax or unwind?

I am not really big on sitting around and doing nothing, but anything that makes me laugh or takes my mind off things for a little while.

question What's your favourite part of your job? What's the hardest part of your job? What do you do when you get stuck?

Favorite: putting the pieces together and finding a way to make every project better, watching the creatives faces when they really like something, and learning what each person’s tastes are, these are the types of things that make my day interesting.

Hardest: Politics. I sometimes wonder why that is always the hardest part of a job.

When I get stuck: Do what is best for the creative. If the creative suffers then so will the project's success.

question If there are any pivotal experiences/decisions you could point to that helped shape your career, what would they be?

I started my advertising career in broadcast production, but during the recession I began to learn digital.  I have always been interested in the technical side of production so I have made a big effort to learn more with each project by asking questions and talking to people with all kinds of experience. This can be challenging of course since the capabilities of the web are always evolving and there is always something new to learn, but I am now as comfortable working in digital as I am in broadcast/ content.

question How many projects does your company juggle at any one time?

I only work at one agency at a time, but it depends if I am doing TV or integrated. TV, I can do a few spots at a time. Integrated usually one at a time unless I have an assistant.     

question Has winning FWA awards helped you in any way?

Having your work recognized is always rewarding. It validates the effort that went into the project.  

question 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 have two children so there is always something to help give me a little perspective on what is really important in the grand scheme of things. I also like to sleep in from time to time and enjoy downtime when I have it, even if it is just for an hour or two.

question 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?

The Fun Audit had a very cool strategy and execution. It launched right before taxes were due and 'audits' how much fun you are having by scraping your Facebook profile and gives you pretty personalized results integrated into dynamic video content. I am really proud of it, but then again it's like my baby that I raised with my creative team so I may be a bit biased. thefunaudit.com

question 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?

Not yet, but someday soon I am sure of it.

question 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 have worked at a ton of agencies since I am freelance. It is always surprising to me how TV, Print, and Digital often have different strategies and creative. I think/ hope in the future clients and agencies will begin to think of them more cohesively.

question Looking 10 years in to the future, how far can websites go?

Websites are the future of most entertainment. We are already seeing most network programming and movies available online. It is only a matter of time before TV and the Internet converge.

question Do you think Flash is here to stay?

I think Flash is here for a while. However, the topic of my next roundtable is going to be “Is 35mm film dead?” There was certainly a time when cameras companies wouldn't have considered not making a 35mm camera, but that time seems to be here. Flash is certainly still relevant, but nothing lasts forever. http://magazine.creativecow.net/article/film-fading-to-black

question There is perhaps a shift in web use these days. We are seeing a decline in the purely experiential sites in flash with huge production efforts, to a relationship with clients based on tools and services, that many times have simples interfaces. How do you see that trend developing? Will Flash suffer?

Right now, there is an increasing demand for mobile platforms and the lack of desire to create or pay for two experiences. Building in HTML where the capabilities aren’t as robust yet are somewhat limited to the simpler interfaces. More and more clients are interested in capturing the web traffic in a single experience so HTML5 will likely become the norm for brand sites at least. That said, sites like The Fun Audit wouldn’t have been possible without Flash. The survival of Flash is somewhat dependent on the ‘what’s next’ factor and if a language is developed or evolved that has flash capability, but is still mobile friendly. I am sure a 13 year old is working on that now though…

question If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring FWA award submitter, what advice would you give them?

Ask yourself if you would be interested in this experience and if the functionality is intuitive.  

Also, find out about your seeding strategy well before you launch.

question How difficult do you find employing the right people in a world where everyone calls themselves a web designer?

I generally hire the Digital Production Companies not just a designer, so researching the best company for the job is essential. I have mostly been brought on to projects that are content heavy and usually involve some sort of api/ social media integration. So, I generally I go for companies that have multiple capabilities under one roof for this reason.  I find they have the right man for each part of the job and communicate more easily with each other to make sure nothing gets lost in the mix.

question How do you keep up with the latest capabilities of Flash or do you rely on other members of you team to do this?

I like asking the Flash Developers or Creative Technologists. I can keep up with the tech talk for the most part, but it would take a lot of research to keep up with everything on the cutting edge. When I have project, I start researching through people who do keep up with it more regularly or who actually program.

question What would be your ultimate vehicle to travel in?

Easy, a 1968 Chevy Camaro SS. I'm a southern girl. What can I say?  Although guess I would own a fuel efficient car to make up for the gas guzzling purr of the Cameo's engine.

question There must be a project that you have always dreamed of doing, what is it?

I’d like to do an integrated campaign where I produce the TV and Digital on a creative brand.

question What does the future hold for your company, or you as a person?

I am starting to flirt with the idea of staff since I have never done it.  It would have to be the right opportunity, but that might be something I look into in the next year or two.

question Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?

Always be open to learning new things and accepting change.

question It has been a privilege, thanks very much

Thank you Rob.


Karen McKibben
Karen McKibben

Subodh Samudre (left) and Karen McKibben (Right) on The Fun Audit set.
Subodh Samudre (left) and Karen McKibben (Right) on The Fun Audit set.

Make sure to click 'I'm ready for my Audit' on TheFunAudit.com if you watch the video here.

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