90% of my clients found me after they visited the sites I'd made before. I guess I have a lot to thank to award site galleries. So I think the most effective way for me to get new clients is to do the best work I can.
Please give us a brief bio of yourself.
My name is Tamás Kósa, I use the name Kilfish only when I disguise myself in a webdesigner's skin. I live in Budapest, I've been working as a flash and motion designer since 1998. I started this business as a 3d animator and motion designer making tv commercials, and after 2 years I changed to web design, but recently I have been doing motion design works again. In most of these years I worked as an employee for a few studios, recently I've been working freelance.
What do you do for inspiration?
Browsing the web is the primary inspiration source for me. I visit Behance and TheFWA almost every day, these websites show me several excellent works. I've also got some books on design, several albums on poster art.
Please list 3 of your favourite sites.
12 years ago when I started this business I could easily answer this question, because I met less fewer inspiring sites than I do these days. But the sites I considered inspiring were really progressive works, those were new and fresh, something I had never seen before, I could easily designate them as my favourite. Most of them were experimental flash sites. As I can remember Amon Tobin's site was one of them. These days I cannot name a site as my favourite because of its design, I'd rather say that my current favourites are sites like Behance and TheFWA because their contents are of great value.
What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?
On the whole I think my biggest achievement is that I can pursue my hobby while I’m at work. As I see most people work only for the money without finding any joy in their jobs, and I feel lucky that I can enjoy my work. If I have to mention a more specific achievement, I'm proud of my 3 FWA Awards, and that 4 of my works have been published in Web Design Index books .
How many hours do you work each week?
When I was an employee, I worked 4-8 hours each working day in the studio, and after going home and at the weekends I spent a couple hours with my own projects that I did under the name Kilfish. Now that I work freelance, when there is a task to complete, I spend 8-10 hours a day on it When there is no work to do for a client, I do my personal hobby projects or learn new technologies.
How do you relax or unwind?
Running and swimming are important activities for me. Sitting before my computer for several hours a day is not a really healthy way of living so I try to balance it with doing sports. I have been running and swimming for more than 25 years as a hobby, I try to do one of them at least 5 times in a week. Certainly going to a movie or a concert is also a good way to relax, or I really enjoy traveling too, but in my day to day life the easiest way for me to relax is going to a swimming pool or running 30 minutes or more.
What's the longest you've ever stayed up working on a project?
When I worked as a 3D animator there were some days I had to stay in the studio until the next morning. And formerly I used to stay up late working at night at my home. Nowadays I get into bed earlier, I try to finish work around midnight.
Has winning FWA awards helped you in any way?
When I won my first 2 FWA awards I had a good job, so I didn't need to use them for finding a new one. Even so many clients from all over the world found me after these awards, I'm sure they raised interest for my works because of the awards. My third award is fresh, I hope it will help me find a good job or new clients.
Of all the websites you/your company have produced, which one are you most proud of?
What was the toughest thing you ever did with Flash? How long did you spend on it? Is it still online?
It's funny, but I spent a lot more time with the works menu on my latest awarded site, www.rothaniko.com/v2, than I intended to. The idea didn't seem to be too complicated, but when I wrote the codes I always found some new bugs in it, and I wasn’t sure I’d finish it without any bugs. I corrected the bugs again and again, I guess now it's okay. It's my most recent website work, so I hope it'll remain online for a long time.
Do you think Flash is here to stay?
It's disappointing to see that many mobile devices don't support flash sites. But I hope Flash will find its place in the web world. I think there are sites that you use when you're on the move, and there are sites that you visit when you are behind your home computer. There are sites that you can enjoy a lot more when you visit them on a 19" or even larger screen. Today many people tend to surf the net only on their phones. This situation reminds me when I was a child, and small sized televisions were novelty. It was cool, and our family also bought one, but now large screen televisions are more popular than small screen televisions. I hope people will realize that it's a good thing to browse Facebook or the news or their mails when they are on the move, but for visiting a spectacular site, a phone is not the best choice.
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 think a good school is the best way to get the knowledge that can serve as a base for your career. It's a great thing that all you have to do is to learn. Having said that I got into this business after completing a one year course. It gave me only small bits of knowledge, it was just an introduction into computer graphics, and everything I know I've learned myself. And I am still here after having been earning money for 14 years with doing this, so I cannot say that you cannot get into this field or be successful without education experience in a school. However if I could start again I would do anything for being able to attend a good school.
If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring FWA award submitter, what advice would you give them?
I think determination is the most important thing. You also need a minimal sense of taste, but you can learn everything else, you just have to be desperate enough. It takes years of learning and working, and if you work, it's good if you can find some extra time for evolving your own style, or just a style that you are excellent in. I think it's good when you are a professional in the corporate style, but the greatest works have something extra and this extra touch comes from your own style.
When your company was just getting started, what did you find was most effective for getting new clients?
I can speak only about what I do under the name Kilfish. 90% of my clients found me after they visited the sites I'd made before. I guess I have a lot to thank to award site galleries. So I think the most effective way for me to get new clients is to do the best work I can.
How have you learned so many Flash/design skills and techniques and can you offer any advice for newbies?
As I've mentioned before I've learned almost everything by myself. I found several tutorials on the net, I bought some good books about action script, and when I had a problem I couldn't resolve, there were always people on flash forums on the net who helped me.
How do you keep your finger on the pulse of the latest web trends?
I just try to keep my eyes open watching what happens. Regularly visiting sites as TheFWA or Behance shows me the trends, I guess. I don't consider myself a geek, I'm not one of those who buy every new devices released on the market, but when I see that something becomes a determinative tool or device supporting my profession, I buy it as soon as I have money for it.
What country excites you the most in terms of innovation?
As the world has become such a globalized place this question is losing its significance. I can see several excellent companies all over the world, but if I should choose only one country, I would choose Sweden at the moment.
There must be a project that you have always dreamed of doing, what is it?
For example if I could work for any of my favourite bands, it would be great. I mean not only a web site, but video clip, album cover art work, or t-shirt design. But I'd also be happy to do a motion design work together with my wife, Anikó Róth, something similar to the teaser of her new site ( http://www.rothaniko.com/v2/teaser.html ).
What does the future hold for your company, or you as a person?
I think changes, and I hope good changes. This business is changing all the time and you have to keep up with the trends and new technologies. I hope I can keep pace with them and I will be able to design new sites that are based on different technology than flash.
What are you excited about learning next and is there a long term challenge you are considering tackling?
At the moment I'm learning html, css and java script. These are the days when html5 is a serious challenger against flash and seems to be winning. Earlier I didn't believe that a html site can be as spectacular as a flash site can be, but now I bump into more and more web sites where I have to click the right mouse button to see if they are flash or html. And lots of times they are html. So right now I want to learn these technologies to be able to do the same things that I can do with flash. Or at least something very similar to flash.