I graduated from the University of California at Santa Cruz in 1991. And only a year late! I got my bachelor's degree in fine art,determined to make it as an artist. I moved to Los Angeles that same year and took a temp job with The Walt Disney Company in the marketing department for their motion picture division which includes Walt Disney Pictures, Hollywood Pictures and Touchstone. It was supposed to just be a temporary job but I stayed for 4 years. My time at Disney allowed me to learn about marketing and promotion at one of the biggest marketing machines in the world. I spent much of my time with the artists and got them to teach me the basics of graphic design: photo-retouching, typography, layout and color. I bought my first Mac in 1994 and I stayed up every night teaching myself every application I could get my hands on: Photoshop, Illustrator, Freehand and Quark. I would go to Kinko's and print my work and,in about 6 months, I had a modest little portfolio of mock ads and photo-retouching work.
I was unsure as to what I wanted to do with my newfound skills but doing graphic art work gave me as much pleasure as working with clay or chalk pastels. In 1995 I offered to work for free at a small photo retouching shop called Outerspace in Santa Monica. I apprenticed there under the tutelage of a renowned re-toucher named Tom Slatky. Through the fine details of graphic design and art direction, Tom taught me how to really see and I had the opportunity to work with just about every ad agency in Los Angeles on their image-intensive movie posters and print ads. I learned how to work quick and in front of clients. I also learned how to pull the all-nighter (Hint: 7-11 Big Gulps).
Eventually, I was hired by American Cybercast which was a division of the Fattal & Collins advertising
"My role is to ensure that all of our clients are getting the most out of the Internet."
agency. I basically reinvented myself and many more opportunities began to open for me. I became very involved with the Internet, working on the first online "shows", The Spot and EON-4 (a sci-fi episodic web show) and eventually became the creative director for the largest Internet consulting firm in the country, iXL. Along the way, I created online brands for The Experience Music Project (Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's multi-million dollar interactive music museum in Seattle), Spinner (the internet's largest streaming music site), Playboy.com, Alanis Morissette.com, Wherehouse Music, Nike.com,and many others.
My work at iXL made it relatively easy for me to transition to Deutsch, one of the most prominent advertising agencies in the country. My role as the head of the agency's interactive division, iDeutsch, is to ensure that all of our clients are getting the most out of the Internet. This can mean different things to different accounts. For example, one of the agency's clients is The California Milk Advisory Board for whom we have developed a campaign touting Real California Cheese. Maybe you've seen the talking cows on TV in the commercials which use the tagline "Great cheese comes from happy cows. Happy cows come from California." The goal of the website (www.real californiacheese.com) is to support the branding effort for California cheese so we integrated the talking cow concept into the site.
Creating a website for a company is a lot like creating an ad. You have to develop a thorough understanding of your client's business, marketing objectives and consumer goals. When you do it well, you create something that's really entertaining as well as useful. And it sure beats flippin' burgers.
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