• Friday, Sep. 15, 2023
International creatives Janice Ko and Jack Harrison join We Are Pi
Janice Ko (l) and Jack Harrison

Canadian art director Janice Ko and Australian copywriter Jack Harrison have joined We Are Pi as it expands its creative innovation consultancy offering to new international clients. Ko and Harrison have been recognized as Future Lions contenders at Cannes and their work has been awarded at D&AD, The One Show and London International Awards.  

We Are Pi co-founder and executive creative director Rick Chant said, “Janice and Jack’s unconventional attitude brings relevant and radical solutions to every opportunity. They look at things sideways, their twists on briefs are enough to make a pretzel jealous.”

Ko grew up in a Cantonese household on the east coast of Canada before moving to Australia as an angsty teen. Now an adult, she works as an art director, most recently plying her trade at Special Group and VMLY&R Melbourne, working on brands such as Red Bull, Uber Eats, Sharpie, ANZ and the Australian Defence Force. Outside of ads, she enjoys dancing badly and hanging out in hammocks (sometimes at the same time). Ko’s work has been recognized at D&AD, LIA and The One Show.

Harrison spent four years at VMLY&R in Melbourne, and worked on major campaigns for the Australian Defence Force, Monash University, and PTV. Now he finds himself in Amsterdam brushing stroopwafel crumbs off his shirt. 

We Are Pi is an award winning creative innovation consultancy that partners with clients to build brands worthy of thriving in changing times by initiating transformation programs. We Are Pi client partners include Amazon, Nike, IDFA, Heineken, Intersport, Pepsico and Patagonia. We Are Pi cultural research platform, New Society Rules, helps brands navigate cultural change. We Are Pi content arm, Pi Studios, produces groundbreaking stories about cultural change. 

  • Tuesday, Sep. 12, 2023
Ghost VFX adds VFX supervisor Jessica Norman
Jessica Norman

Feature film visual effects supervisor Jessica Norman has joined Ghost VFX, part of Streamland Media’s visual effects division. Norman’s career has spanned over 25 years, working with some of the industry’s most visionary filmmakers on productions such as Wonder Woman, World War Z, Robin Hood, and Watchmen.  

“Jessica is extremely well-respected in the industry, and we are thrilled to have her at Ghost VFX,” says Streamland Media CEO Bill Romeo. “She will be instrumental in our continued growth in servicing feature films across the globe.”

Prior to Ghost VFX, Norman was at Moving Picture Company (MPC) as a visual effects supervisor. She has received two VES Award nominations, most recently for her work on the Ridley Scott-helmed film The Last Duel.

“I’m very excited to be joining the talented team at Ghost VFX,” noted Norman. “They are doing some great work, and I’m looking forward to being part of the team helping filmmakers realize their visions.”  

Norman will be based out of Ghost VFX’s London studio and available globally to service any project in the world.

In addition to London, Ghost VFX has studios worldwide in Copenhagen, Los Angeles, Manchester, Toronto, Vancouver, and will open a new facility for its Pune studio later this year. Recent credits include the upcoming film Fast X, The Book of Boba Fett, Troll and The Mandalorian.

  • Thursday, Sep. 7, 2023
ColorNation adds colorists Vincent Taylor and Lea Mercado
Vincent Taylor (l) and Lea Mercado

ColorNation, a remote color grading service founded by veteran postproduction entrepreneur Reid Brody, has added two colorists to its roster. The veteran artist Vincent Taylor, based in Los Angeles, is now available through ColorNation, as is Lea Mercado, a young artist based in Southeast Asia. 

The signing of these two talents coincides with ColorNation celebrating its first anniversary. Since opening last summer, ColorNation has provided high-end color services for a range of agencies and brands, working on projects for the U.S. Army, Duluth Trading Company, Michelob, Dove, Deloitte, Carrier and McDonald’s, and for such agencies as DDB Chicago, Burrell, BVK, Highdive, Burrell, UWG and Lerma.

Taylor brings an eclectic and well-traveled resume to his work as a colorist. Born in the U.S. but raised in Australia, prior to entering the color suite he built a strong reputation there as a cinematographer, working closely with directors and film crews and winning numerous industry awards as a DP. Once he made the transition, he rose quickly through the ranks, and has been on staff at such global postproduction shops as Deluxe, Technicolor, MPC, Chimney and Harbor, in addition to running his own color studio in Melbourne.

Along the way, Taylor has worked on everything from features to commercials, collaborating with clients and agencies everywhere from Shanghai to New York. With a prolific social media presence, not to mention his sought-after podcast, The Color Timer, he’s become an influential voice among senior colorists around the world.

Taylor was referred to ColorNation by Heather Hay, a ColorNation artist and colleague from their days working together in Oz, whom he both trusts and admires. “When Heather recommends I meet with someone I generally do, because I respect her judgment,” he explained. “And she said one thing about Reid that appealed to me, which was ‘old school.’ To me, that means having a great work ethic, with respect for workflows and the way things should be done. That jumped out a mile, because it’s honestly what I’m constantly craving.”

Mercado came to color grading from her work as an editor and motion graphics designer in various postproduction houses as well as a short stint as an art director in the Philippines. She eventually made her way into color grading, starting in the Philippines, then eventually moving to Vietnam, working remotely with various directors from L.A., Australia, Israel, Malaysia, Singapore and Spain, even before the pandemic. With a strong client base of both established and up and coming brands throughout Asia and the Americas, she’s graded for such agencies as Publicis, Dentsu, Ogilvy and TBWA. Her color work includes spots and brand content for such advertisers as Honda, Unilever, Nestle, Samsung, PepsiCo, Honda Motors, Kimberly-Clark and Nike.

“Being represented by Reid and ColorNation is definitely an honor,” said Mercado. “This isn’t the first time I’ve been noticed for my work internationally, but this is the first time someone has acknowledged my work to be on par with the U.S. market. It’s truly gratifying.”

Taylor and Mercado join a ColorNation roster that includes Gino Amadori, Calvin Bellas, Yohance Brown, Ben Federman, Andrew Francis, Paul Harrison, Heather Hay, Mark Todd Osborne and Ben West. 

  • Friday, Sep. 1, 2023
Framestore's Montreal studio adds VFX supervisors Jeremy Robert and Francois Lambert
Jeremy Robert (l) and Francois Lambert

Visual effects and animation studio Framestore has added two seasoned VFX supervisors to its Montreal team: Francois Lambert and Jeremy Robert. They come aboard as the Montreal office celebrates its 10th anniversary and the delivery of landmark projects like Barbie, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, and season two of Foundation.

Over almost three decades in the business, Lambert has contributed to iconic film franchises including Star Wars, Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Indiana Jones, James Bond, Star Trek, and Fast and Furious, during his tenure at ILM and more recently, DNEG. A recipient of a VES award, Lambert has also been honored with three Emmy nominations, two additional VES nominations, and three HPA Award nominations. He has been a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) since 2017.

“I’ve always admired the work of Framestore, their attention to detail, asset builds and exceptional animation and creature work,” said Lambert. “With a reputation as a trusted client partner, solving creative challenges with the imaginative use of technology, Framestore is also known for its collaborative and supportive work culture. I’m looking forward to taking on fresh challenges and working with an ambitious team alongside visionary filmmakers to bring their stories to life.”  

Robert’s portfolio includes a wide array of VFX-heavy blockbusters like Blade Runner 2049, X-Men: Apocalypse, and acclaimed episodic projects like Twin Peaks. Joining from MPC, Robert made contributions to such work as Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story and Jordan Peele’s suspense-filled Nope

“Joining Framestore’s tightly connected community of global supervisors and specialists is really energising,” explained Robert. “The cooperation across studios brings in an exciting mix of talent and expertise creating incredible opportunities for clients. I’ve admired Framestore from afar for many years so I’m definitely ready to get started.” 

The delivery of Zack Snyder’s Rebel Moon and the musical adventure Wonka will mark the beginning of the studio’s next decade.  

“Every artist brings a distinct set of skills and experiences that enriches the work we create, the relationships we build and the culture we foster,” said Chloe Grysole, managing director, Canada, film and episodic, for Framestore. “Welcoming Francois and Jeremy to our Montreal team strengthens our ranks with decades of experience and insights having worked on incredibly complex and creatively challenging features. Alongside our talented teams, I can’t wait to see what they create together.”

  • Friday, Aug. 25, 2023
Beekman Social appoints Madison Lindekens as social strategy director 
Madison Lindekens

Beekman Social, a social-first digital marketing agency specializing in brand campaigns and partnerships across multiple platforms, has appointed Madison Lindekens as social strategy director. Having worked with Beekman Social as a consultant since 2022, she now joins the agency in a full-time leadership role. Her responsibilities will include guiding campaign strategy, development and execution, as well as serving as a client liaison. 

Additionally, as part of Beekman Social’s leadership team, she will focus on new business efforts and continued agency growth. Madison will report to Jeffrey Tousey, founder and CEO of Beekman Social.

Lindekens’ wide-ranging contributions to Beekman Social have included social strategy, web design, copywriting, content development, audits, research, and franchise ideation. She has worked across the majority of Beekman Social’s client portfolio, creating inspired, social-first storytelling that drives results. 

Prior to Beekman Social, Lindekens oversaw digital marketing for the female surf company Sisstr, creating all-encompassing marketing campaigns that shared the personal, compelling stories of female surfers both in and out of the water. She also served as the media marketing manager for the surf brand Vissla, strategizing its approach to strategic partnerships, social media, films, and email marketing and planning their Creators & Innovators Gathering, an annual experiential event documented across film, media, and social. She has a substantial background in freelance web design and social media.

  • Saturday, Aug. 19, 2023
Saylor hires Francisco "Chesco" Ferrara as sr. content strategist
Francesco “Chesco” Ferrara

Creative agency Saylor has hired Francesco “Chesco” Ferrara as its sr. content strategist. Working in social and digital media for almost a decade, Ferrara will leverage the experience he gained from conceptualizing and executing digital marketing campaigns for seasons 1-3 of “The Kardashians” on Hulu and “Welcome to Wrexham” on FX. At Saylor he will bring his strategic acumen to bear for a roster of clients which includes Prime Video’s comedy brand “Laugh Track,” and Postmates.

Saylor founder Will Trowbridge said, “Chesco brings an incredible combination of social, creative, and strategy know-how to Saylor. His past work leading ‘noisy’ campaigns for the likes of Hulu and FX have set Chesco up perfectly for his role at Saylor and we’re so thankful to have him on board.”

Ferrara said he is “looking forward to bringing my fan-forward entertainment perspective to the team.”

Ferrara’s journey into the world of digital media began with an editorial internship at MAXIM, then honing his skills at Viacom Nickelodeon where he found his true calling within the realm of digital and social media marketing. He thereafter swiftly worked his way toward a digital production assistant role for Viacom MTV, where his love for entertainment, including a deep affinity for pop culture, TV, and film, naturally led him to become a driving force in content creation and fan engagement. Ferrara moved to Buzzfeed as its social video producer, where he stayed before landing a job as creative social producer for YouTube. He then segued into a producer role for digital branded content at NBCUniversal Media prior to making his agency debut as a creative social strategist for the Ralph agency. 

  • Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2023
Brunner elevates Dan Magdich to VP, exec creative director
Dan Magdich

Dan Magdich has been promoted from director of creative services to VP, executive creative director at integrated marketing agency Brunner.

Within his new role, Magdich will drive Brunner’s creative product forward leading all creative projects, progress, and execution--from big-idea campaigns to scrappy video productions and a slew of work in between. His current client roster includes Blistex, Church’s Texas Chicken, Dairyland, The Home Depot Rental, WesBanco and YellaWood.

With nearly 20 years of experience, Magdich has demonstrated a penchant for playful and elevated creative advertising. He has helped build brand recognition through his big ideas for several companies, such as Dick’s Sporting Goods, Field & Stream, Dropbox, Google, GNC, Nationwide, WebMD, Huffy, Duck Tape and Walgreens, among others. Previously, Magdich has worked at other creative companies, including Moxie and Animal Inc.

“Dan has consistently demonstrated exceptional dedication, an unparalleled drive for creative excellence, and a passion for the work and the agency. As Brunner continues to expand, Dan will continue to remain a vital part of the growth of the people and the agency as a whole,” said Ken Johns, partner and director of client experience, Brunner. “Dan ‘gets it’--not only as a creative leader of the organization but as a leader overall. His unique set of skills and experiences, his dedication to our clients, and his enthusiasm for the work makes me excited to see where he leads us creatively.”

  • Monday, Aug. 14, 2023
Brian Smego joins Dictionary Films as managing director
Brian Smego

Brian Smego has joined Dictionary Films, the integrated production arm of Cutters Studios, as managing director.

Most recently the executive producer for Framestore in Chicago, Smego earlier served as exec producer at Mill+ for five years. Prior to that, his 20-plus years spearheading groundbreaking production spanning all categories of media include nine years as director of integrated production at Y&R. 

“Brian has a vast knowledge of the world of advertising production and a plethora of contacts and relationships in Chicago and across the entire industry,” said Craig Duncan, president/managing director, Cutters Studios. “He will be working closely with head of production Joe Kirkendall, sr. producer Cody McGuire, production manager Lilly Hanson, and our amazing directors to take Dictionary Films to the next level.”

Smego said, “Dictionary was one of the first production arms to emerge from a post house, and I know first-hand there are amazing talents here. Looking at the marketplace, I’ve seen how very rare it is to find a studio that can offer its clients such a high level of talent and service across all the varying disciplines of production, editorial, VFX and design, as well as audio. Having this kind of creative firepower at your disposal is an incredible asset.”

Smego continued, “I’m looking forward to working with Dictionary’s many gifted talents, and bolstering them. There will be an emphasis on adding more underrepresented and diverse talents in the near future.”

  • Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2023
Framestore hires creative technology directors Manon Dave and Brian Solomon
Brian Solomon

In a strategic move to bolster its immersive team, Framestore has brought Manon Dave and Brian Solomon as creative technology directors. Dave joins the London team while Solomon strengthens the New York contingent.

Dave brings a wealth of experience across product design and music, offering a diverse and multifaceted perspective. As a creative director focusing on everything from brand development to immersive installations, Dave has work with clients including  Mercedes, HBO, Christian Dior, Magic Leap, Native Instruments, and many web3 and generative AI startups. His endeavors in music have led him to collaborations from co-writing songs for the likes of will.i.am and Idris Elba, to executive producing two albums for U.K. rap sensation Che Lingo. Dave also acts as a music and technology advisor to some of the world’s leading musical artists and is a published songwriter/producer via Universal Music.

Dave said, “I look forward to leveraging the endless possibilities of emerging technologies, including web3 and AI, to extend Framestore’s rich portfolio of work to new audiences.”

Solomon has dedicated his career to mapping uncharted pathways where entertainment technology and the real world blur. Solomon founded the XR team within Meow Wolf where. as creative director, he and his team drove the application of real-time and computer vision technology to enable digital narrative layers within real-life exhibitions that visitors could touch and explore. Throughout his career, Solomon has lent his creative and technical prowess to startups and entertainment brands, including LivingCities.ai, Hexagram, AMC Television Network, Expo 2020 Dubai, and MSG’s Sphere, a technologically advanced entertainment venue. 

“The world is craving evolved content that the new wave of modern experiences allow for, and that’s part of what makes me so excited about joining the team at Framestore,” said Solomon. “They’ve demonstrated a unique ability to scale and collaborate in the digital and machine learning realm at an award-winning level, and as new AI and spatial workflows emerge, who better to explore their application than a team renowned for inventing their way through the toughest creative challenges.”

Global head of immersive Karl Woolley said, “I am humbled to have Manon, a multifaceted artist who has been recently appointed as artistic director of TED Tech, and Brian, one of the pioneering creatives of the MSG Sphere, which captivated audiences on a global scale, join our immersive team. I’m excited to witness Manon, Brian, and our creative technologist and resident futurist, Johannes Saam, join forces to shape the very future of technology and storytelling.”

  • Thursday, Jul. 20, 2023
Chris Batten promoted to managing director at Absolute

Absolute has promoted Chris Batten to managing director. Batten, known as “Chopper” to some, joined Absolute as executive producer in 2022, following more than 20 years at The Mill. He’s proved to be an integral part of the production team, spearheading new business pipelines and bringing a wealth of industry knowledge to the table. 

Batten has built a career dedicated to cultivating relationships with leading agencies, production companies and directors around the globe, working with key talent across award-winning projects.  With a continued focus on elevating Absolute’s end-to-end offering industry wide, Batten in his new role he will also provide strategic input into the studio’s plans for the future, which include an office move and a complete tech overhaul.

Batten said, “It’s been brilliant to work with such a talented and dedicated team. Even in a difficult market, we’ve continued to gather momentum, opening doors to some fantastic opportunities. We’ve some exciting times ahead and as MD, I’m wholeheartedly looking forward to developing further what is an already highly regarded and respected studio.”

Absolute CEO David Smith added, “Chris has quickly made a lasting impression on the entire team. Not only is he passionate about the work, he is also widely respected within the industry and has such a calm and considered approach. I look forward to having him by my side as we look towards Absolute’s next chapter.”

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