My approach to directing projects reflects my vision of good leadership: focusing on what’s important, inspiring collaboration and making decisions that are grounded in what’s achievable.
Whether creating videos, animations or art projects every project begins and ends the same way - with extensive planning and tracking ensure that we tell the right story, the right way while maximizing time and resources.
My approach to crafting a creative approach always begins with two ingredients: the story and the audience. On this solid foundation we then begin to layer as time and budget allows. Sometimes I feel it’s necessary to push boundaries and other times I eschew the idea of “out of the box thinking”. Indeed, I often strive to create a unique box for each project to live in - having boundaries allows us to lean against them as we build our creative concepts higher.
The power of editing is unique to cinema - the ability to conjure up emotions and meaning from the sequencing and pacing of shots is a marvel I will never tire of exploring. It is truly the ability to create a whole that is greater than sum of its parts in isolation. Whether building ideas through juxtaposition, carving away dead weight or creating tension through rhythmic pacing, editing is my favorite aspect of filmmaking.
When editing, I generally hold to a “less is more” philosophy even though I am content to let shots play long if I feel it is warranted. And for me, editing has been a stepping stone into other areas of content creation. On set whether behind the camera or not, my experience in the editing bay guides my instincts for what to shoot and how to shoot. And it was as an impatient editor trying to beat deadlines that I began to create motion graphics which itself led me to delve deeper into design.
For me, motion graphics are another nexus in filmmaking as they draw from so many disciplines and crafts. The beauty of graphic design, the synchronicity of sound design and the synthetic power of film editing all coming together in a wash of pixels. Without any background in design or visual arts, I began creating my own motion graphics as a freelance editor because they frequently were a bottleneck in finishing projects. The tools had by this time become so sophisticated and yet so approachable that I was able to begin walking so readily I barely noticed when I was flying.
Today, After Effects is often the first arrow pulled from my quiver when I begin any design project - be it for video, print or the web. I have had the privilege of working on a wide variety of motion graphic projects including many that featured unusual screen dimensions.
All style with no substance to back it, is just pretension. All substance is just boring. When designing graphics for print, the web and other media, I always strive to achieve a balance between the two. When done right, communication is simultaneously explicit and implicit - emotional and rational - engaging and substantive.
As a self-taught designer I see my creative journey in Buddhist terms: an endless road forward approached one step at a time.
How you deliver your message is just as important as the message itself. Pretty words and a clever turn of phrase won’t fix a muddy story that’s missing clarity, direction and reason for us to care. But even a great story can get lost in a sea of confusing language and tortured phrasing. With even the most technical ideas and jargon laden copy, there still needs to be a dramatic arc - we crave a beginning, middle and end because we need our stories to take us on journeys.
Whether writing copy or editing existing content, I’m adept at helping my clients get their message across. I have experience in crafting stories from directed interviews, by distilling (or expanding) existing content and through sheer invention alone.
Everyone loves to talk about what’s important to them - but not everyone enjoys doing so in front of a camera. When conducting interviews I aim to make subjects feel comfortable, and let them know that we are engaging in conversation instead of interrogation. When the flow comes naturally and willingly, it’s easy to find clarity, depth and passion. And to help make that happen, I carefully craft questions that are designed to spur thought and direct the flow of ideas not to elicit simplistic or forced answers.
I have conducted interviews with C-level executives, scientists, engineers, artists and many other professions. But more importantly, I have helped them to relay their thoughts, feelings and ideas in a way that others can appreciate and understand.
Although my degree* is in fine art, I never considered myself an artist in its pursuit. But as time has passed I have found myself drawn towards alternative means of expression. After attending Burning Man for the first time in 2002 I felt inspired by the incredible range of artwork I had experienced there. I am most drawn towards interactive art - works that require the viewer to become a participant to achieve fruition. In creating my own works I see the realization of what I hope to offer my employers - a synthesis of general skill in a number of areas and a fascination for exploring any subject matter.
* B.F.A. Film and Video Production, York University.
I stumbled into documentaries almost accidentally having originally intended to work in feature films. But my first job out of college, as an assistant editor for a ten part television documentary series, Life After Death, led me in a different direction. Even though most of my work is behind a computer, I have, nevertheless, shot three feature length documentaries and worked on others in various capacities including editing, motion graphics and interviewing.
Documentaries are something of a nexus in the film world, combining many disciplines both creative and technical. By engaging with real people in an attempt to tell their stories and share their ideas, I learned not just to question, but how to question. Being able to tease out stories, to research new concepts and to conduct interviews all while moving at “run and gun” speed is experience that is transferable to almost any topic and has served my clients well.