.

There was a study couple of years ago asking teenagers how much time they spend offline; many of them didn’t know the meaning of the word ‘offline’.

Please give us a brief bio of yourself.

I'm technical director of the digital production company Honig Studios, based in Berlin. I've been tinkering with software and hardware for eight years now, developing interactive installations, indie games, websites and online shows together with festivals, brands and television broadcasters.

I co-founded Honig Studios in 2010, after an inspiring two year collaboration with filmmakers, game designers and engineers creating obscure installations combining code, film and robots. I love to create products that are naturally crossing different media, merging content with technology. 

What do you do for inspiration?

Since my life is very much digital, I try to find inspiration in offline activities: theater plays, concerts & performances, cooking, biking. Staying away from the media I work with, gets my subconscious working and new ideas and solutions emerge.

If this doesn't work, I start copying something I really liked. Very soon, the idea evolves, changes and becomes something completely different from the original starting point.

Please list 3 of your favourite sites.

I love going through kickstarter projects. Some of the coolest and most inspiring projects start at their technology category. I regularly visit the NFB website and spend hours watching their latest interactive documentaries; you can find some masterpieces there. lettersofnote.com is also a favourite; once I open it, I can't stop reading. Some of the most wonderful and notable letters, postcards, memos and faxes are collected there and it's a pure delight to get a glimpse of.

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

We focus on quality and developing our own intellectual properties with a long term plan. So we usually have two own products a year and three or four coproductions at different stages of development.

In terms of software, is there anything new you have been playing with lately or that has impressed you?

node.js, angular.js & mongo database. Flash seems so far away.

Who is your target audience?

We do a variety of projects regardless of genre or medium. Our latest project "Milli The Snail" is for preschool children aged 3-6. We've also developed projects targeting teenagers and even wider television audiences across several European countries. 

We strive to design digital experiences, thought to be simple and engaging enough even for the non-digital generations.

Has winning FWA awards helped you in any way?

Totally! It's an honour and a challenge to keep up the quality of our products.

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

I wrote a master thesis on the economy of social networks, which I didn't publish. So that doesn't count. I can't imagine writing a book; I'm a man of few words.

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?

It's an older project, but I found playspent.org mesmerizing. It's an online game about surviving poverty. You are given $1000 to live on for a month. Changes in employment, housing and medical costs have great impact. It's really hard to make it on your own, so you can ask your friends on social media for help with messages like "I can’t pay all my bills this month. Can I borrow some money?" or "My kid and I got evicted. Can we crash at your place?". Very good!

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?

Very much! A good story is medium agnostic. Using (and not abusing) the right technology at the right moment of your story can make a big difference to its impact. Now stories are moving away from the screen too. The internet of things is an exciting platform to keep people connected, without constantly shining a mobile phone on their faces. Virtual reality seems to be moving in the direction, with an all immersive experience where physical and digital merge. A new generation of storytellers will evolve out of these trends and the web will be all inclusive and taken for granted like electricity.

There was a study couple of years ago asking teenagers how much time they spend offline; many of them didn’t know the meaning of the word ‘offline’.

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

If you think that the first iPhone/smartphone launched almost eight years ago, I guess ten years is a very long time. Let it be robots.

Of all the websites you/your company have produced, which one are you most proud of?

'Milli The Snail' is our biggest bet yet. We brought the most talented and motivated people in the industry to create a unique children's brand. We started as a mobile app and are now working on an educational web platform and TV series. It's just wonderful to see this snail grow. 

Then again, I have never worked on a project I'm not proud of showing to my mom and dad.

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

Completely! School and studies are a great playground to experiment, learn and find out what you like to do. If you already know what field you want to follow, you can learn almost everything from books and online courses. But stay in school.

What would be your ultimate vehicle to travel in?

I love visiting new places, but find transit boring. I'd do everything for teleportation.

How do you keep your finger on the pulse of the latest web trends?

I read all kinds of news during my morning coffee and save the ones that draw my attention. It takes about an hour for me to be fully functioning, so I gather many cool stuff then.

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

I'd love to work with a world-class traditional director on a digital project. Imagine how an interactive project from Wes Anderson, Quentin Tarantino or Christopher Nolan would look like!

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

Our goal at Honig Studios is to continue developing our own products, keep a small and flexible team. Parallel to that we're planning to start a little lab, where young creatives can freely experiment with new technologies and stories.

What are you excited about learning next and is there a long term challenge you are considering tackling?

Webgl, node.js and relational databases. Cloud computing and scalable services.

Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?

I don't know who said that, but it completely resonates with me: Doing is the new thinking.

It has been a privilege, thanks very much

Thank you!


Links

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Milli The Snail

Milli The Snail tablet app
Milli The Snail tablet app







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