What the most creative advertising idea you’ve seen recently?
That box truck driving around North Carolina with a sign saying 'Don’t get vaccinated', with a url at the bottom for Wilmer Funeral Home. It got nationwide coverage for the price of a U-haul. Brilliant.
What website(s) do you use most regularly?
Honestly, I’m on YouTube all day, everyday. It’s a problem. Recently I’ve been binging Business Insider which has a surprisingly awesome YouTube channel. Most of their content revolves around either manufacturing processes or breaking down the economics of various industries and services. It’s all really slickly produced and is a goldmine for curious minds.
What’s the most recent piece of tech that you’ve bought?
I don’t make many tech purchases. I still have a 720p Samsung mounted on the wall in my home office. Considering what we do for a living, that has to be some sort of high offence worthy of getting my editor’s card revoked. Nevertheless, I did get a pair of Airpod Pros last year, and I think they are the most amazing piece of tech to be released by anyone in the past decade. They actually fit my ears, seamlessly work across all my devices, and make folding laundry while listening to a podcast a highlight of my day. And the pièce de résistance? Spatial audio. It’s not perfect for everything, but if you put on a jazz album and close your eyes, it’s like you're right there in the room with the band. It’s so good.
What product could you not live without?
This is a super boring answer but my iPhone, without a doubt. It’s so fully integrated into my life I get physically sick at the thought of being stuck somewhere without it.
What’s the best film you’ve seen over the last year?
With two young kids at home and a pandemic, I’ve been on a steady diet of Disney+. However, I did just see Dune and it’s excellent. Denis Villeneuve has quickly become my favourite storyteller. All of his recent films, on the surface, are these huge blockbusters, but he has perfected the ability to transform these action/adventure movies into visually arresting masterpieces that not only elevate the emotional connection with the audience, but also deliver at the box office. He is a master of his craft.
What film do you think everyone should have seen?
Adaptation. This was one of the first films that I really obsessed over. The concept of the film and their execution of the storytelling was so unique, it really blew my mind and expanded my views on what a film could be. It proved to me the importance of the idea that great storytelling isn’t about telling unique stories in an ordinary way, but about telling ordinary stories in a unique way.
What’s your preferred social media platform?
Instagram. Life is hard enough, just give me pretty pictures.
What’s your favourite TV show?
So, I never had a TV in my bedroom until I got married. My wife loves watching shows in bed before we go to sleep, so who am I to deprive her of that simple joy? The only problem is, I can never seem to stay awake for most shows we watch together. If I do stay awake to finish an entire series of a show, then we know we’ve found a winner. Lately, White Lotus was that show for me.
What’s your favourite podcast?
Stuff You Should Know. This is a seriously nerdy pick, and always gets an eye roll when I put it on in the car, but I love it.
What show/exhibition has most inspired you recently?
I recently read a piece on mid-century architect and furniture designer, George Nakashima. He was a modest dude, who was incredibly skilled, and created a unique signature style all his own. While other designers were trending toward mass production, this guy focused on building things with his hands. It was all about quality and precision for him, and that’s something that will always inspire me. Definitely worth checking out.
What’s the most significant change you’ve witnessed in the industry since you started working in it?
The switch from shooting film to shooting digitally. In the early days I remember getting sent RED camera cards from production, and all the assistants were trying to figure out how to get the footage into Avid without losing the metadata needed for finishing. It was like the wild west, there weren’t any standard practices, we were making the rules up as we went along. For a while there we were bringing in the raw RED files into the Flame, laying it back to HDCAM SR, loading the tapes into Avid, and then conforming back from the HDCAM SR for finishing. Then the tsunami in Japan happened, which crippled the tape industry because everything was being manufactured there. We switched to tapeless delivery overnight and never looked back. Crazy to think about it now, but it took an act of God to get us finally over the hump.
If there was one thing you could change about the advertising industry, what would it be?
To be fair, I think we’ve got it pretty good. But if I had to choose, I would love for us to have a little more faith and follow-through in the original creative concept and a little less fear and second guessing that’s inevitable when we start sending spots into testing. I mean, I get it, we want to use all the tools at our disposal to produce the most effective piece of content, I just feel the end product never gets better when we start looking for problems.
Who or what has most influenced your career?
In the early 2000s I had a summer internship in the music video department at Capital Records. At that time I had wanted to get into music production, and had little to no experience with film. I spent that summer duping and distributing VHS director’s reels to all the various executives in the MV department. Reels of Spike Jonze, Michel Gondry, Chris Cunningham etc. The work was so fun and creative and accessible. It changed the trajectory of my career.
Tell us one thing about yourself that most people won’t know.
I have this unquenchable thirst for consuming nonfiction exploration novels. Stories of traversing the polar caps, shipwreck diving in the Atlantic, or summiting Mount Everest. Yet, I can’t even manage to drag my ass out of the house to go on a 30-minute hike with the dog in the hills above my backyard.