Tuesday, September 18, 2018

People on the Move

  • Monday, Apr. 2, 2018
Optimus adds five, including editors Valencia, Glover, VFX supervisor Wood
Angelo Valencia

Production and post house Optimus is bringing aboard editor/partner Angelo Valencia, editor Matt Glover, VFX supervisor Ryan Wood, sr. producer Joanna Woods and assistant editor Emily Hayes. This quintet most recently worked together at the Chicago office of Beast/Company 3/Method Studios, and is slated to officially start at Optimus on April 16.

Valencia has spent the last 20 years helping create award-winning content for screens of all sizes. He has edited commercials, short films, documentaries, music videos, and feature films. His client partners include BMW, Capital One, Southwest Airlines and Walgreens.  

Glover, with 10 years experience, has cut two Emmy Award-winning films, including “Chicago: The Most American City,” a short film for NATO, and “Emergence,” a film about dance. He’s cut work for Apple, Maui Jim, Nintendo, SC Johnson and Walmart, among others. A Detroit Native, Glover has called Chicago home for the past 15 years. 

Wood creates high-end visual effects, including compositing, finishing, CGI/3D animation and on-set VFX supervision. Wood has helped deliver original, award-winning feature film and commercial content for a wide variety of clients including the Super Bowl Pacman commercial for Bud Light, the VFX for the commercial release of Nintendo’s last Star Fox game, and the finish and compositing for the award-winning “Dad and Andy” for Whirlpool. 

Sr. producer Woods brings eight years experience overseeing all aspects of the post process. She has post-produced campaigns for brands including Allstate, Coors Light, Hallmark, Kellogg’s and Walmart, as well as Pearl Jam’s documentary film, “Let’s Play Two.”

Hayes brings six years experience as an editorial assistant, both at premiere post houses and as a freelancer. Winner of Camp Kuleshov Tent City 2014, she has assisted for brands such as Always, Capital One, McDonald’s, Miller Lite and Reebok. Hayes is passionate about documentary content and has collaborated on biographical shorts for athletes including Josh Gordon, Mike Marjama, Justin Pugh and JJ Redick. She has also cut music videos and social content for artists including Neko Case.

Optimus president Tom Duff said, “Angelo is one of the world’s elite editors, but what really sets him apart is his sincerity as a human being, and his loyalty and commitment to his people. We look forward to having him and his core team of Matt, Joanna, Emily, and Ryan join our Optimus family.” 

  • Monday, Apr. 2, 2018
VML strengthens new connections practice with sr.-level promotions
Amy Worley

VML, a WPP marketing agency, has rebranded its channel activation team to connections to reflect the department’s role as experts in connecting brands to consumers in a contemporary and relevant way.

“Our charter as an agency, across all departments and specifically this department, is to effectively create connected brands,” said Jon Cook, global CEO. “‘Connections’ is a term that fits our progression perfectly.”

VML’s retail team will become a connections channel, joining the already established paid media, search, social media and PR channels.

VML’s connections practice will be led by Amy Worley, who will move from executive director to chief connections officer, a title that appropriately reflects her contributions to how this department has grown and evolved. In her new role, Worley will ensure that VML purposefully connects brands to audiences with results and delivers fully integrated communications planning as well as best-in-class expertise in every communications channel. 

Worley’s award-winning connections team is nearly 100 people and growing, with clients like Wendy’s, Electrolux/Frigidaire and Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. The group collaborates with VML strategy, creative and technology to unlock and enable powerful ideas. Together they maximize the value of every touch point across the connected consumer experience, including social media, paid media, paid and organic search, retail and shopper marketing, and PR. Worley is a vital part of VML’s executive leadership team and will report directly to Cook.

Lisa Purpura has been promoted to managing director, media. Since joining VML in March 2017, Purpura has helped grow the agency’s media business by more than 30 percent. In her new role, she will continue to lead and structure VML’s media practice into future growth and success. Purpura joined VML from Havas Media in Chicago, where she was VP, account director. In that role, she worked on major brands like Safelite and the American Medical Association. Purpura has more than 18 years of online and offline media planning experience and has held roles as group director, media director, engagement director and online strategy director. She will continue to report to Worley.

  • Thursday, Mar. 29, 2018
UTÖKA signs designer Maxwell France
Max France (Illustration by Jason Murphy, digital artist, retoucher and illustrator /UTÖKA)

Designer Max France has joined UTÖKA’s roster of artists. France joins the Atlanta-based studio’s growing team of collaborative talent, expanding its capabilities as a one-stop creative house specializing in meeting the needs of brands across multiple platforms.

Prior to joining UTÖKA, France honed his skills during stints as a designer at the Atlanta division of Iris Worldwide, and as a graphic designer and screen printer at Red Weir Athletic Supplier. 

France interned as a graphic designer at Columbia College while earning his B.F.A. in Graphics Design with a minor in painting. After graduating in 2013, he continued his training at The Creative Circus where he studied design and art direction. 

A fine artist, skilled at motion graphics, as well as logo, print and packaging design, Max France explores a mix of techniques and technologies, seeking out fresh, engaging ways to communicate a brand’s message with compelling visual stories.

“UTÖKA is always looking for talent that is experienced in working across a variety of genres and adept at a mix of programs. We were very impressed with Max’s range of skills as a designer, illustrator and motion graphics designer, as well as his commitment to growing as an artist,” said UTÖKA CCO Ed Dye.  “His interest in expanding into 3D, one of UTÖKA’s core capabilities, and ability to traverse mediums and creative disciplines, makes him a perfect fit with our vision.”

“I really enjoy being part of a collaborative team. UTÖKA provides me with an opportunity to work with a wide range of multi-disciplined talent - from creative directors, animators, FX artists, and photographers to editors, directors, and producers,” said France. “They’re a great group of artists with a shared creative energy that inspires me to push boundaries.”

While still a young designer, France’s talents received numerous accolades. His packaging design for Yellow Leaf Granola was a Top Ten Finalist at last year’s 48 Hour Repack Design Awards, an invitation-only, package design competition created to spotlight the artistry of tomorrow’s most talented design professional. The digital covers France designed for a trio of books by Jack Kerouac earned him the Silver Award at the Creative Circus Student Show.

“We’re all about applying our collective artistry and creative sensibilities to designing brand messages that elevate this visual landscape - while maximizing the impact of a brand’s visual identity,” said Julie Kutler, UTÖKA’s group creative director.  “Max shares this passion. He’s an emerging talent with a fresh aesthetic and the creative agility needed to strengthen the connection between the visual elements of a brand’s message and today’s consumers.”

UTÖKA is a hybrid creative agency blending strategic design and end-to-end production services. 

  • Tuesday, Mar. 27, 2018
Jordan Tarazi named head of integrated production at BODEGA
Jordan Tarazi

Content creation/production company BODEGA, with bases of operation in NY and San Francisco, continues its recent expansion by bringing on Jordan Tarazi as head of integrated production.  Tarazi’s addition follows the 2017 launch of BODEGA Animation. Over the last seven years, Tarazi has collaborated on over 30 BODEGA projects, both as producer and 1st assistant director, including spots for Allstate, IZOD, LG, TJ Maxx, and network assignments for CBS, HBO, USA, Food and NBC Universal.

“Our business is growing and our ‘production through post’ model is blessed to have someone with Jordan’s depth of experience.  He just ‘gets production’ and his determination and attention to detail are incredible assets to our directors, agency and brand clients, as well as our robust in-house team,” said EP/partner Clint Goldman.

His prior experience includes five years as an EP for New York-based Still Films and over two decades of freelance commercial, film, print, digital, social and broadcast production experience. Tarazi will oversee all aspects of production out of BODEGA’s San Francisco office and its 15,000-square foot Chelsea, NYC studio.

“I’ve produced content for production companies, advertising agencies, brands and networks,” notes Tarazi, “and it’s been enlightening to embrace BODEGA’s streamlined process, fostering start to finish projects under one roof. It just makes it easy for our clients to get the work done.”

Tarazi’s recent assignments at BODEGA include a Lean Cuisine campaign for Grey NY, an IZOD brand campaign for PVH, broadcast assignments for HBO’s Two Dope Queens and NBC’s Today, as well as digital content for Under Armour. 

BODEGA’s in-house partners include Northern Lights (editorial), SuperExploder (sound) and Mr Wonderful (branding/design).

  • Tuesday, Mar. 27, 2018
DDB San Francisco hires Whitney Ball as VP, head of talent
Whitney Ball

DDB San Francisco, part of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC), has hired Whitney Ball as a VP and head of talent. She brings more than 20 years of executive human resources experience to DDB San Francisco and is a key addition to the agency’s leadership team. In her new role, Ball will be responsible for leading the agency’s strategic human resources and recruitment efforts, talent operations, and culture development. Ball will report to DDB San Francisco chief operations officer Valerie Bengoa.

For the last nine years Ball has been a human resources consultant, helping companies in a broad range of sectors design and to implement people strategies, solutions, and programs that align with each unique organization’s business needs. She has worked with a number of different Bay Area agencies varying in size and specialty, including Camp+King, BOCA Communications, Jack Morton, and Voice Box Creative.

In addition to being a consultant, Ball was VP, human resources, at EVB, where she was responsible for building and designing the HR infrastructure for the agency. Prior to that, Ball spent 12 years at Young & Rubicam (Y&R). She began in Y&R’s New York office and was later tapped to oversee HR at Y&R’s San Francisco office. After two years, Ball’s role expanded, and she became the HR leader and business partner responsible for HR services for Y&R San Francisco, Wunderman, and Mediaedge:CIA.

Ball’s hire follows DDB San Francisco’s announcement that Ben Wolan has joined the agency as executive creative director. Additionally, the San Francisco office has expanded client relationships with Symantec to include both the LifeLock and Norton consumer businesses, and recently won a new project for Energy Upgrade California, the multimillion-dollar statewide initiative. 

  • Tuesday, Mar. 27, 2018
Eli Ash upped from sr. producer to head of production at Derby
Eli Ash

Creative production company Derby has promoted Eli Ash to head of production. Ash joined Derby last year as sr. producer and has produced numerous commercial and music video projects for the company. In her new role, she will supervise production for Derby’s commercial and music video units, oversee budgets and crew assignments, and act as client liaison.

Ash’s credits at Derby include The Beautiful and the Damned, a “visual album” for rapper G-Eazy and RCA, and directed by Derby’s Bobby Bruderle. She served as both producer and post producer on the project. “It started out as a single music video that we developed into five videos encompassed in a short film with a very cinematic approach,” she recalled. “It was very exciting and something we’re really proud of.” Other key projects for Ash include a SweeTARTS campaign, directed by John Poliquin, in which a backyard crowd is showered by candy treats (shot at 1000fps) and a multi-spot campaign for Honda.

Ash’s background includes diverse experience in advertising, branded content, reality television and music videos. She has produced content for NBC, ABC, A&E, BBC, MTV, The Travel Channel, The Food Network, Discovery Science, PBS, Sesame Workshop and Viacom. Her advertising experience includes work for such brands as Warner Bros. Records, Nike, GM, BMW, The Nobel Peace Prize, OXFAM Crisis Action, GQ, Vogue, Complex and Vice Media.

Derby represents a diverse roster of directorial talent, including Poliquin, Bruderle, The Bozzwicks, Catherine Orchard, Josh Hayward, Lucas Borras, Nickolas Duarte, Roberto Serrini, Ryan Balas and Shomi Patwary. Mary Crosse is Derby’s EP.

  • Monday, Mar. 26, 2018
Dave White named head of CG at Ntropic
Dave White

Ntropic has appointed Dave White as Head of CG in its New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco offices. White joins the team having previously worked with studios including Psyop, Mass Market, and MPC where as head of CG he oversaw Los Angeles and New York departments as well as global offices in India. 

White first and foremost considers himself a fine artist, having traveled the world creating large graffiti murals in his younger years. His keen eye for design has aided his elevation in the CG community, with work for brands like Audi, Reebok, General Electric and Pepsi. Over the years, what draws White to the industry has morphed a bit, “I originally got into postproduction out of pure excitement and enthusiasm about the aesthetic and the creative,” he said. “The technology side came in the second phase of my career when I started to take more of an interest in critical pieces of CG like pipeline and rigging. In recent years, creating a company culture that enhances the lives of artists has become what I love.”

As Ntropic expands its VFX capabilities, White’s passion, knowledge, and experience will be a valuable asset in ensuring that the studios employ not only the most talented artists, but the most fulfilled. “I want to see people really happy and excited to come to work, and set them up to succeed in an environment where they will take on new challenges, work on projects that inspire them, and grow as an artist and individual,” White said, adding, “We want Ntropic to continue to be known as a place where every artist is an assassin and master of their craft enabled with high-end tools.” 

Nathan Robinson, Ntropic founder/ECD, said, “When we started looking to expand Ntropic’s CG division, I knew we needed to find someone who was not just a skilled artist, but was also a true leader. That is Dave in a nutshell. The first time I was introduced to him I was impressed by how thoughtful he was. He spoke about not only holding the work at a high level, but also nurturing the team and allowing each person to excel at what they do best. His addition to the Ntropic culture as a whole is an invaluable asset.”

White is based at Ntropic’s Los Angeles office but will bring guidance to teams in all offices, and add valuable insight to projects for clients around the country.

  • Thursday, Mar. 22, 2018
DAVID Miami promotes from within, including staffers Fogaca, Kalathara, Casal, Wolske
Paulo Fogaca

Ad agency DAVID Miami, which also maintains bases of operation in Argentina and Brazil, has promoted several key staffers. 

Managing director Paulo Fogaca will take on the role of global chief operating officer overseeing DAVID’s three offices. Also, the creatives promoted within the creative leadership team--comprised of Tony Kalathara, Juan Peña Plaza, Ricardo Casal, Danny Alvarez, and Jason Wolske--will be leading all creative efforts from the agency. The account management department will be led by Carmen Rodriguez, head of account management. And in the year ahead, DAVID Miami will be strengthening their production and strategy teams, led by head of global production Veronica Beach, and director of strategic planning Jon Carlaw, respectively.

Fogaca will remain in Miami and will continue his role as managing director for that office, in addition to taking on global responsibilities. He was responsible for helping DAVID Miami open its doors in 2014, and has been key to helping grow the agency’s client roster, talent, and business over the years.

Tony Kalathara has been promoted to executive group creative director. He helped to create DAVID’s groundbreaking work, like Burger King’s “Burning Stores.” 

Juan Peña Plaza and Ricardo Casal have both been promoted to executive creative directors. They are responsible for work like Kraft-Heinz’s “Pass The Heinz” campaign, as well as Burger King’s “Google Home of the Whopper,” which won a Grand Prix in Cannes in 2017.

Jason Wolske and Danny Alvarez have been promoted to group creative directors. Since they joined the agency over three years ago, they’ve worked on numerous award-winning campaigns across DAVID’s client portfolio, including Burger King, Budweiser, Kraft-Heinz, and Coca-Cola. Wolske has more than 13 years of experience in the industry. Prior to joining DAVID Miami, he worked at CP+B, Deutsch LA, and Zimmerman, and was a partner at Chalk. Alvarez has more than 10 years of ad industry experience and has previously worked at CP+B, BBDO, TBWA\Chiat\Day, and Wieden+Kennedy.

Carmen Rodriguez has been promoted to head of account management and will be responsible for leading that department while being involved in key projects with her group of account directors across the agency. Since her start at DAVID Miami in December 2016, Rodriguez has been responsible for spearheading the Burger King group of accounts, including Burger King US, UK, and global. She’s also led ABI’s group of accounts, including Budweiser and Modelo, which DAVID Miami won last year.

  • Wednesday, Mar. 21, 2018
Alkemy X adds Cheryl Bohn, Eve Ehrich
Cheryl Bohn

Creative content company Alkemy X has hired Cheryl Bohn as VP, business development, based in the company’s Philadelphia headquarters; and Eve Ehrich as executive producer in New York.

Bohn joins Alkemy X following a 20-year career as an account manager at NFL Films. She was part of the initial team assembled to launch and grow the commercial division of NFL Films, working with advertising agencies and brands in a multitude of industries, including tourism, healthcare, sports, retail, banking, insurance, and pharmaceutical.

“Cheryl has consistently led her clients to success, and has gained an exemplary reputation in the creative industry,” remarks Alkemy X president and CEO Justin B. Wineburgh, who has stewarded several expansion initiatives since taking on his current role two years ago, including Alkemy X’s entry into the European market with a strategic alliance with Amsterdam-based Wefilm. “She is extremely skilled at assembling and presenting effective creative and technical teams to solve her client’s communication objectives.”

In New York, Ehrich will oversee all aspects of commercial and brand/promo production at Alkemy X’s Manhattan studio, which has doubled in size following last summer’s 10,000-square-foot expansion. She brings two decades of experience encompassing commercial, broadcast, film, digital, and print, while working with global brands like American Express, General Electric, Merrell, Jack Daniels, Mercedes-Benz, McDonald’s, MTV, Cartoon Network, Nike, and Jeep.

Ehrich was most recently sr. VP/executive producer for Taylor James, where she ran the New York office and managed every production since the studio opened in 2013. She previously held positions, including head of production at Stardust and Eyeball NYC, as well as sr. producer at Shilo, 1st Avenue Machine, Spontaneous, Click 3X, and Smoke & Mirrors.

“Eve’s deep experience across a variety of content creation and branding needs fits the mold of Alkemy X and the end-to-end services we offer our clients and creative partners,” said Wineburgh. 

Alkemy X’s recent credits include Universal Pictures’ No. 1 box office hit “Split” from writer/director M. Night Shyamalan, as well as a number of TV series, including “Blindspot” for NBC, “Frequency” for the CW, and “Power” for STARZ. Alkemy X is also active in commercials and branded content, including a recent GEICO campaign via The Martin Agency; and “Reframe This Space,” a branded makeover series for Samsung.

  • Tuesday, Mar. 20, 2018
Lee Maicon named chief strategy officer for McCann North America
Lee Maicon

McCann has appointed Lee Maicon as chief strategy officer for North America. He joins McCann from 360i where he served as chief strategy officer and head of the agency’s business consulting practice as well.

In his new role at McCann North America, Maicon will lead the agency’s multi-disciplined strategic planning team, have responsibilities for the agency brand itself, and be a core member of both of the North American leadership team and the McCann Worldgroup Global Strategic Leadership Community.

Maicon joined 360i in 2010 as VP-Insights & Planning and rose to his position as chief strategy officer in 2014. Born in Mexico and raised in Miami, he began his career as an account planner at the Hispanic marketing agency Conill Advertising and has subsequently worked in top strategy positions in both general-market and multicultural agencies as well as in PR. He joined 360i from Grey Group’s Wing multicultural agency where he was head of strategy, and previously worked as director of strategy planning at the DeVries Global PR agency. He has also held leading strategy positions at Berlin Cameron and Strawberry Frog as well as in the Hispanic marketing field at StarMedia Networks and Univision.

“Lee is ideal for this role inasmuch as he has experience across and an insatiable love for all of the different flavors of strategy from brand to social to digital to media and beyond,” said Suzanne Powers, global chief strategy officer of McCann Worldgroup. “Given that he is also incredibly passionate about finding and nurturing teams and talent, he is that rare combination of being a superstar in his own right coupled with having deep leadership and team-building skills.”

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