• Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019
Brand Innovators hires Gavin O’Hara as chief creative officer
Gavin O'Hara

Brand Innovators has appointed Gavin O’Hara as chief creative officer. He had spent almost 14 years with Lenovo as global social creative lead, pioneering the tech giant’s editorial identity and launching its Brand Newsroom. 

“Gavin’s unique voice and approach to creativity made him the failsafe choice for CCO, as we look to transform our website into an attractive destination for stories about brand marketing and the people who love, live and breathe it,” said Marc Sternberg, co-founder and CEO of Brand Innovators.

While at Lenovo, O’Hara told brand stories from a unique perspective--stories about geriatric gamers, Ugandan skaters and more--that stressed the importance of community and fan voices, not to mention putting people before products. Prior to Lenovo, Gavin served as a marketing communications writer for IBM as well as a freelance music and sports journalist from his home base of Durham, North Carolina. 

In addition to his editorial work, O’Hara will help sharpen Brand Innovators’ social media voice and host select summit events. 

“I’m excited to bring a journalist’s eye to Brand Innovators’ channels and to help develop and grow an already incredible platform so we can keep pace with an ever-growing and ever-changing industry,” said O’Hara. “I hope to bring our community of actual brand innovators closer together through the storytelling we do.” 

  • Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019
VMLY&R promotes McDonald, adds Haddad, Derderian
VMLY&R's (l-r) Najla Haddad, Jen McDonald and Michelle Derderian

VMLY&R has made three key leadership movies. Jen McDonald has been promoted to chief client officer, North America. In her new role, McDonald will oversee client engagement across all U.S. offices and is responsible for driving growth, developing talent, and delivering and integrating VMLY&R’s evolving offerings. In addition to this remit, McDonald will continue to lead the Wendy’s business for VMLY&R.

The agency has also appointed Najla Haddad as executive director, client engagement, based in New York, and Michelle Derderian as executive director, client engagement, based in Chicago. 

Throughout her career, McDonald has established a track record of nurturing long-standing client relationships and building world-class teams. McDonald has led a portfolio of the agency’s foremost client partners during her 11-year tenure at VMLY&R, including NAPA AUTO PARTS, Dell, Sam’s Club, Navistar, Stella Artois and Wendy’s. Her strategic focus and emphasis on creating connected brands has helped generate culturally relevant, effective, and award-winning work that has been widely recognized by the industry’s top awards, including Cannes Lions, One Show, CLIOs, and Effies. Prior to joining VMLY&R in 2008, she served as SVP of brand and partner marketing at Revolution Health, a player in the health information space that was later sold to a top health publisher. She also held marketing leadership roles at AOL, XM Radio and a variety of technology startups.

McDonald will report to Chuck Searle, global chief client officer, and will continue to be based in VMLY&R’s Kansas City office.

Haddad joins from Digitas.  In her new role as executive director, client engagement, Haddad will lead global digital transformation initiatives for Colgate-Palmolive and be part of the VMLY&R New York leadership team. She will report to McDonald and Carl Hartman, CEO of Red Fuse Communications, working jointly with them to identify new growth opportunities and data-driven marketing initiatives for Colgate. 

Haddad brings a wealth of experience that complements VMLY&R’s Customer Experience (CX) and wider digital capabilities. Most recently, she served as EVP at Digitas where she led key accounts including Delta and Comcast, and expanded the use of the agency’s digital, marketing, social and content transformation capabilities. With 15 years of agency experience, Haddad has a portfolio of accounts which includes American Express, Nestlé Gerber, Nestlé Purina, Coca-Cola, and IHG.

Derderian joins from FCB Chicago to run key accounts, including Kraft Heinz. As executive director, client engagement, Derderian will be part of the VMLY&R Chicago leadership team and responsible for the agency’s growing client engagement team and all key accounts in the office. She will report to McDonald and partner closely with executive director and office lead Madeline (Nies) Larsen and executive creative director Aaron Evanson to focus on growth in the market. Derderian has nearly 20 years of experience in the industry, having served most recently in a number of senior positions at FCB Chicago. She has a diverse background working with brands such as The J.M. Smucker Company, Kellogg’s, Target, GlaxoSmithKline, Jimmy John’s, and New Orleans Tourism.

  • Friday, Aug. 16, 2019
Cabin adds 3 editors to roster
Greg Scruton

Editors Greg Scruton and Debbie Berman have joined Cabin Editing Company. Also added to the company roster is Scott Butzer who’s been promoted to editor.

Scruton joins Cabin from Arcade Edit, and brings an innate talent for visual storytelling and comedy. He has worked on dozens of high profile commercials and music videos throughout his career including Pepsi’s 2019 Grammy spot “Okurrr” starring Cardi B, Palms Resort Casino’s star-studded “Unstatus Quo,” and Kendrick Lamar’s iconic “Humble” music video, which earned an AICE Award. Scruton has longstanding relationships with some notable ad agencies and directors including Anomaly, Wieden+Kennedy, 72andSunny, Goodby Silverstein & Partners, Dave Meyers and Nadia Lee Cohen.

Feature film standout Berman joins Cabin on the heels of her successful run with Marvel Studios, having recently served as an editor on Spider-Man: Homecoming, Black Panther, and Captain Marvel. Her strengths as a storyteller extend across mediums, with experience editing everything from PSAs and documentaries to animated features. Now expanding her commercial portfolio with Cabin, Berman is currently at work on a Toyota campaign through Saatchi & Saatchi; she will continue to work in features as well.

Cabin’s Butzer was recently promoted to editor after joining the company in 2017 and honing his talent across many platforms, including commercials, music videos, and documentaries, with particular strengths in visual storytelling, narrative, and automotive work. His recent credits include “Every Day Is Your Day” for Gatorade celebrating the 2019 Women’s World Cup, “The Professor” for Mercedes Benz, and Vince Staples’ “FUN!” music video. Butzer has worked with many ad agencies and directors including TBWA\Chiat\Day, Wieden+Kennedy, Goodby Silverstein & Partners, Team One, Marcus Sonderland, Ryan Booth, and Rachel McDonald. Butzer previously held editorial positions at Final Cut and Whitehouse Post, and he studied film at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

  • Friday, Aug. 16, 2019
VFX supervisor Jesper Kjölsrud joins Cinesite London
Jesper Kjölsrud

Cinesite has brought Jesper Kjölsrud aboard its London office as VFX supervisor. The 20-year industry veteran has successfully led teams both as a VFX and CG supervisor on many award-winning projects. 
Kjölsrud has worked on a wide range of feature film and episodic television fare. His credit list includes Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, Outlander, The Lone Survivor, The Thing, Alice Through The Looking Glass and District 9.

Kjölsrud is well known in the industry for his mastery of CG. Having initial studied in northern Sweden, he then moved to the UK in 1997 where he worked as a 3D Artist at MPC before becoming one of the original members of Double Negative when they opened for business as a small boutique in 1998. Over 10 years at DNEG, Kjölsrud supervised CG and VFX on many projects including Enemy At The Gates, The Chronicles of Riddick, Doom, The Da Vinci Code and 10,000BC. In 2009 he made the move to Vancouver joining Cinesite’s partner company Image Engine as sequence supervisor on District 9. Kjölsrud went on to work as both production side VFX supervisor on The Thing and Lone Survivor as well as facility VFX supervisor for Image Engine’s work on The Losers, R.I.P.D and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Kjölsrud returned to the UK in 2016 to supervise a number of projects at Goodbye Kansas including Robin Hood, season 2 of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan and seasons 3 and 4 of Outlander.

Kjölsrud’s appointment comes at a busy time for Cinesite, which is in production on various projects, including The Witcher & Lost In Space (season 2, Netflix), Outlander (season 5, Starz) and a special live action experience project based on a high-energy franchise for Universal Studios. Recent VFX credits include Avengers: Endgame (Marvel), Rocketman (Paramount Pictures) and Murder Mystery (Netflix).

  • Friday, Aug. 16, 2019
We Are Social names Lore Oxford global head of culture and insights
Lore Oxford

Socially-led creative agency We Are Social has appointed Lore Oxford as its first global head of culture and insights.

In the newly created role, Oxford will be responsible for diversifying the agency’s research and insight function; bringing with her a qualitative specialism which will enable the agency to more effectively respond to questions around society and culture. She will also be leading a series of work-streams across the business, aimed at encouraging greater collaboration between markets, to build on the agency’s already expansive body of global insights.

Oxford will report directly to We Are Social’s chief strategy officer, Mobbie Nazir, who oversees the agency’s strategy and research and insight teams at a global level, with a focus on championing the role of social thinking to drive business value.

Before joining We Are Social, Oxford worked with global brands across a variety of industries to support their creative communications by unearthing cultural insights and consumer behaviours to inform their businesses more broadly. Most recently, she has worked within the strategy teams at AMV BBDO--providing audience understanding for Bacardi and Samsung--and Karmarama, where she delivered cutting edge youth insights for Nando’s and the National Citizen Service (NCS).

Prior to her time in creative agencies, Oxford built her career at global research agency Canvas8, where she worked across multiple markets to help Google understand how teens use their phones globally, and support MTV in understanding the science of boredom and how it manifests across different cultures.

Nazir said, “Cultural insights and understanding are core to our agency offering and Lore will help us to scale and operationalize our expertise in this area at a global level.”

Oxford added, “There’s never been a better time to work in cultural insights. At a time when attention is more fragmented than ever, and declining trust in social platforms is seeing people turn to more private digital spaces, genuinely understanding how people think, feel and behave is the only way brands and marketers can guarantee cutting through the noise.”

  • Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019
Steffen Wild to head virtual production at Techicolor's Pre-Pro Studio
Steffen Wild

Technicolor (Euronext Paris: TCH, OTCQX: TCLRY) has named Steffen Wild to head its Virtual Production department.

In this role, and reporting to Kerry Shea, head of the Technicolor Pre-Production Studio, Wild will be instrumental in the studio’s ongoing success as he partners with storytellers to bridge the gap between filmmakers and VFX throughout the production pipeline. His group will work both in facility and on-location to deliver a fully integrated pipeline and shooting services with the flexibility of a small, manageable team--allowing critical players in the filmmaking process to collaborate, view, and manipulate media assets and scenes across multiple locations as the production process unfolds.

“As head of Virtual Production, Wild will help drive the studio’s forward-looking approach to efficient filmmaking by bringing previously separate departments together into a single pipeline,” said Shea. “We currently see what used to be separate departments merge together. For example, pre-vis, tech-vis and post-vis, which were all separate ways to find answers to production questions, are now in the process of collaborating together in virtual production.”

An industry veteran, Wild has over 20 years’ experience, including 10 years spearheading Jim Henson’s Creature Shop’s expending efforts in innovative animation technologies, virtual studio productions and new ways of visual storytelling. As SVP of digital puppetry and visual effects at the Creature Shop, Wild crafted new production techniques using proprietary game engine technologies. As such, Wild brings to Technicolor in-depth knowledge of global and local VFX and animation production, rapid prototyping, and cloud-based entertainment projects. In addition to his role in the development of next-generation cinematic technologies, he has set up VFX/animation studios in the U.S., China, and South-East Europe.

“I’m absolutely excited that Technicolor is committed to virtual production as we are embedded into the mindset of filmmaking,” said Wild. “The history of filmmaking that is in our company’s DNA and the fact that we can now extend our playing field from the very early stages of pre-production across all aspects of the filmmaking process to final color correction is an extremely exciting idea. MPC’s creative collaboration with Jon Favreau on The Lion King laid the groundwork for the new fabric of how we’re going to create and experience content in the future.”

  • Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019
Method adds Brian Farhy, Michael Bennett
Bryan Farhy (l) and Michael Bennett

Global digital production company Method Studios, a Deluxe company, has made two key hires. Bryan Farhy has been named managing director, West Coast, for Method Studios, while Michael Bennett comes aboard as sr. VP and executive producer, West Coast, for MethodMade, the design-focused arm of Method Studios.

Both Farhy and Bennett bring deep industry knowledge, proven leadership, and creative vision to Method. As head of business development and an EP at B-Reel, Farhy helped the company earn multiple top honors, including a place on Forbes’ list of America’s Most Promising Companies during his tenure. Farhy has also held EP and head of sales roles at Ridley Scott’s RSA Films, and Stink Films, and is the founder of Fireflies West, a non-profit that organizes an annual charity bicycle ride between Los Angeles and San Francisco to raise money for cancer research.

Prior to joining MethodMade, Bennett served as managing director of Laundry, where he established and spearheaded operations for the design and animation studio’s new San Francisco location. He also has held EP and business development roles at Laundry Los Angeles, Ntropic San Francisco, yU+co, and Belief Design.

“The needs of our clients are changing as advanced technology and the way media is consumed transform the entertainment experience at every level. Bryan, with his extensive background in production and experiential, and Michael, coming from the world of animation and design, bring in new perspectives and that’s really exciting,” said Stuart Robinson, managing director and executive VP of North American Advertising Production for Method Studios.

Farhy said, “Method is a vanguard in digital production at a time when content is in great demand. The studio creates characters, creatures and the worlds they live in, and if you’re a creator right now, you’re running towards the right goal post.”

Bennett noted, "I love content that feels like a gift to the audience instead of an ad, while still aligning with a brand’s identity. The work of MethodMade feels authentic and relevant across visual styles."

  • Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019
Karen Berkowitz joins Greenpoint Pictures as head of production
Karen Berkowitz

Greenpoint Pictures, a production company with bases of operation in Brooklyn and L.A., has added Karen Berkowitz as its first head of production. 

Berkowitz has been in advertising for more than a decade. After starting her career at JWT, Berkowitz worked at the motion graphics studio Leroy + Clarkson, and then Park Pictures. She continued working in production management for a few years before most recently working as the NY bidding producer at Smuggler. 

Greenpoint Pictures’ directorial roster includes Ghost + Cow, Nina Meredith, The Hudson Dusters, E.J. Mcleavey-Fisher, Renee Mao, The Roos Brothers, TJ Misny, Micah Perta, Jesse Heath, and Lauren Sick. Recently, Mao’s short film Panthera premiered on Dazed and was a Vimeo Staff Pick, and Mcleavey-Fisher’s short documentary The Guy was a Vimeo Staff Pick, took home the Audience Award at Independent Film Festival Boston, and awarded Best Short Documentary winner at the SOMA Film Festival. The film also was an official selection at the Montclair Film Festival, the Nantucket Film Festival, L.A. Shorts International Film Festival, and the Rhode Island International Film Festival.


  • Friday, Aug. 9, 2019
VFX creative director Jerry Spivack, colorists Michael Pethel, Matthew Schwab join SHIPPING + HANDLING
SHIPPING + HANDLING's (l-r) Matthew Schwab, Michael Pethel and Jerry Spivack

SHIPPING + HANDLING, producers of high-end postproduction finishing, color grading, motion design, and animation work for commercials, music videos and feature films as well as VR and AR media, has added VFX creative director Jerry Spivack as well as colorists Michael Pethel and Matthew Schwab.

Alongside executive producer Scott Friske and current creative director Casey Price, Spivack will support in leading the creative bandwidth of SHIPPING + HANDLING. As the creative director/co-founder at Ring of Fire, Spivack was responsible for crafting and spearheading VFX on commercials for brands including FedEx, Nike and Jaguar; episodic work for series television including Netflix’s Wormwood and 12 seasons of FX’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia; promos for NBC’s The Voice and Titan Games; and feature films such as Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man 2, Bold Films’ Drive, and Warner Bros.’ The Bucket List.

As a founding partner of Company 3, colorist Pethel has been delivering beautiful content to screens, small and large for over 20 years. For the last five years, Pethel has serviced client and director relationships under his BeachHouse Color brand which he will continue to maintain. Pethel’s body of work includes campaigns for Carl’s Jr., Chase, Coke, Comcast/Xfinity, Hyundai, Jeep, Netflix, and Southwest Airlines. 

Colorist Schwab of Roving Picture Company has worked closely with SHIPPING + HANDLING on multiple campaigns for Apple, Acura, QuickBooks, and numerous others over the last two years. He now formally comes on board the SHIPPING + HANDLING roster. Aside from SHIPPING + HANDLING projects, Schwab will continue to also be available through Roving Picture Company. Schwab has collaborated on projects for Amazon, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, NatGeo, Netflix, Nike, Sony PlayStation, and Smirnoff.

Spivack, Pethel an Schwab will be operating out of SHIPPING + HANDLING’s office with sister company, editorial post house Spot Welders’ shared creative campus on the West Coast.

  • Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019
Digital Arts adds Boyle, Beatrice, Verderosa, Scarpulla, Spano, Donnelly
Lauren Boyle

Postproduction facility Digital Arts NY, headed by owner/CEO Axel Ericson, has added several creative talent and production staff members formerly of Nutmeg to its roster--sr. producer Lauren Boyle, sound designers/mixers Brian Beatrice and Frank Verderosa, colorist Gary Scarpulla, finishing editor/technical engineer Mark Spano, and director of production Brian Donnelly. 

As part of this expansion, Digital Arts will unveil additional infrastructure featuring an ADR stage/mix room. The current facility boasts several state-of-the-art audio suites, its historic first-ever 4K finishing theater/mixing dubstage on the East Coast, four color/finishing suites and expansive editorial and production space, which is spread over four floors.
The former Nutmeg team has hit the ground running servicing their long-time ad agency, network, animation and film studio clients. Scarpulla has been working on color for HBO’s Veep and Los Espookys, while Verderosa has been working with Ogilvy on several IKEA campaigns, and Beatrice has been mixing for Tom Ford’s prestigious cosmetics line series of spots. 

Digital Arts’ in-house theater/mixing stage has proven to be a valuable resource for some of the most popular TV productions including recording recent commentary sessions for the HBO series Game of Thrones and the final season of Veep

Additionally Ericson and finishing editor Spano collaborated with Oscar-winning directors Karim Amer and Jehane Noujaim, bringing to fruition their recently debuted Netflix documentary The Great Hack which delves into the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Digital Arts also recently expanded its offerings to include production services. The company has already delivered projects for agencies Area 23, FCB Health and TCA.

“Digital Arts’ existing infrastructure was ideally suited to leverage itself into end-to-end production. Now we can deliver from shoot to post,” said Donnelly.

MySHOOT Company Profiles