• Monday, Aug. 4, 2014
Director Erik Buth joins Not To Scale
Erik Buth

Not To Scale, the New York-based production and animation company with offices in Amsterdam and London, has added veteran commercial director Erik Buth to its roster. Buth and Not to Scale exec producer Santino Sladavic, who previously worked together at Blind, are teaming up again at Not to Scale’s NYC office.

“Santino was the executive producer that made my first professional directing job happen,” related Buth. “We were working together at Blind when I moved from editing to directing, and the rest is history.”

Buth’s most recent work spans Sweet ‘N Low; a spellbinding short film for the long running video game franchise MX vs. ATV; sports apparel company Russell Athletic; and mattress maker Sealy.

Buth brings over 20 years of experience in the advertising, television, and film industries, in which he has worked as a director, creative director, art director, designer, animator, and editor. Buth also has extensive directorial experience for live action, 3D animation, and 2D motion graphics, and has helped create a wide variety of commercials, promos, network ID’s, spots, title sequences, and feature film trailers.

Buth moved to Los Angeles in the early 1990s and took a job at Creative Partnership as an assistant editor and postproduction supervisor before striking out on his own as a freelance editor. It was while editing the teaser trailer for Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan that Buth met Garson Yu, founder of Yu+Co, which sparked what would be an extended creative partnership. Over the balance of the ‘90s, Buth worked on title sequences for films including Enemy of the State, The Thomas Crown Affair, and Lost Souls, as well as spots for Intel, Showtime, and a theatrical trailer for Dolby Digital.

In early 2001, Buth gave up the freelance life to work for Blind, first as an editor and art director, and eventually as creative director and director. During his 13-year tenure at Blind, Buth directed spots for Chili’s Baby Back Ribs, Pringles, Verizon, Sealy, Oppenheimer Funds, Microsoft, American Airlines, Sweet ‘N Low and Russell Athletic, among others.

  • Wednesday, Jul. 30, 2014
VFX artist Patricio Fernandez joins Splice
Patricio Fernandez

Creative studio Splice has brought visual effects artist Patricio Fernandez aboard its roster. With credits that include such feature films as Wrath of the Titans, Terminator: Salvation, Iron Man 3 and Captain America: The First Avenger, Fernandez expands the visual effects capacity of Splice, as the company continues to grow its feature and episodic television visual effects team.

Early on in his career Fernandez served as a creative and producer for commercial campaigns, an assistant editor for a feature film, and an editor for a postproduction company, all in Argentina. With his mind set on future goals, he moved to the U.S. in late 2000 where he earned a Master’s Degree in Computer Animation at the Miami International University of Art and Design. Since then, Fernandez founded Illusion Factory, Inc. in Florida, a postproduction company that provided services to Discovery Channel. He then freelanced for a variety of studios but for the three years prior to joining Splice, he worked regularly with Method Studios in Santa Monica, Calif.

Fernandez has worked in a variety of roles as a VFX artist for the aforementioned feature films  as well as Cloud Atlas, This Means War and Argo, in addition to a  number of commercials and Super Bowl ads for Kia, Microsoft, Direct TV and Canon.

Splice producer Drew Sondeland said of Fernandez, “He has the know-how and experience to be plugged in early, providing our clients with valuable pre-pro insight. His vast capabilities have already opened up a lot of new exciting opportunities for Splice.”

  • Tuesday, Jul. 29, 2014
Editor Tom Vogt joins Spot Welders
Tom Vogt

Editor Tom Vogt has joined the roster at the New York office of Spot Welders, the creative editorial company.  

Vogt’s career includes an extensive background in editing long and short form comedy for broadcast and cinema. He played a key role in the irreverent storytelling of Trey Parker and Matt Stone, shaping as lead editor the groundbreaking animated TV series South Park. Vogt’s credits also include Team America: World Police and South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut.

Vogt also spent two years working closely with the Academy Award-nominated director Morgan Spurlock, for whom he edited POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Story Ever Sold, Spurlock’s take on sponsorship and branding.  Formerly on staff at Bluerock and MacKenzie Cutler, Vogt has since freelanced for a range of agencies and post houses.

The editor’s commercial work includes spots for FedEx, Axe, Oberto Beef Jerky, eBay, ESPNU and AT&T (starring Will Arnett). Vogt’s deft timing on Bud Light’s famous “Dude” spot helped launch the campaign that became an early Internet sensation.

Vogt wanted to bring his skills to a company with a strong brand and experience and knowledgeable leadership. After meeting with the key players at Spot Welders in NYC, including partner/editor Dick Gordon and EP Joanne Ferraro, he was convinced it was the best place for him.  Vogt added that the ability to move back and forth between advertising and entertainment is another factor that attracted him to Spot Welders. 

A former acoustical engineer, Vogt designed concert halls, recording studios and performance spaces for Walt Disney World, Epcot Center, Universal Studios Tokyo and EuroDisney in Paris. While in France he began to study art and photography. His work eventually caught the eye of Carter Tomassi, the head of cinematography at Colossal Pictures, the vanguard San Francisco studio behind numerous award-winning commercials, interactive media projects and TV series such as MTV’s Liquid Television.

Vogt went on to join Colossal as a camera assistant and worked his way up through the production and effects ranks.  That’s where he discovered his passion for editing, which he saw as a link between his creative interests and his technical inclinations. After Colossal he sent his work to the creators of South Park, who welcomed him to the fold. Within months he was serving as the show’s lead editor, a post he held for eight years.

Vogt credits his experience in animation with teaching him many of the fundamentals of storytelling. While he enjoyed his time on South Park--and feels what he did there has resonated in popular culture--he’s happy to ply his craft on a wider creative stage.

“For me, the joy of editing and being able to tell different kinds of stories shouldn’t be limited to a specific genre,” Vogt explained. “What I learned in animation and comedy taught me a lot about rhythm and nuance, and those lessons can apply to anything. I’m looking forward to putting all that to use here at Spot Welders.”

  • Tuesday, Jul. 29, 2014
Mikey Please, Dan Ojari form directing duo Parabella
Parabella, a.k.a. Mikey Please (l) and Dan Ojari.

Mikey Please, a filmmaker known for his multi-disciplinary work, has partnered with long-time friend and animation collaborator Dan Ojari to form the directing collective Parabella.

The new directing team is represented in the U.S. and Canada by the Hornet studio, which had been handling Please as a solo helmer. Ojari--who animated the lauded Please-directed shorts Marilyn Myller and The Eagleman Stag--is also known for his own short film, Slow Derek, which hit the festival circuit in 2012 with screenings at Sundance and the Cannes Film Fest.

  • Tuesday, Jul. 29, 2014
Julie Stone joins DRIVER Media as exec producer
Julie Stone

DRIVER Media, an outsourced advertising and content production service for agencies and marketers, has brought veteran production executive Julie Stone as executive producer.

Stone brings client-side production experience to DRIVER, having spent over a decade at Victoria’s Secret, where she was director of broadcast television and web video content, as well as creative director of broadcast for parent company Limited Brands. While there she helped create and produce iconic fashion advertising and broadcast content, helping make the Victoria’s Secret brand synonymous with beauty, sexuality, mystery and passion.

In addition to her time at Victoria’s Secret, she’s also worked with a who’s who of major fashion, beauty and personal care brands, including Ralph Lauren, Neutrogena, Bath & Bodyworks, Revlon and Michael Kors, to name a few.

Stone’s hire adds significantly to DRIVER Media’s expertise, which runs the gamut from agency producing and staffing of production teams to business affairs, in-house production, creative editorial and post, digital media production and distribution and other related services.

Besides her intimate knowledge of the fashion and beauty world, Stone also possesses a deep insight into how marketers think and act – both of which will help DRIVER Media as it increases the amount of direct-to-client work the company handles and moves aggressively into production opportunities for brands aimed at women, kids and families via the online programming provided by sister company DRIVER Digital. DRIVER Digital recently struck agreements with hair care brands John Frieda and TRESemmé to create content around YouTube personality Judy Travis and her DRIVER Digital channels, “It’s Judy Time” and “It’s Judy’s Life.”

Stone got her start as a producer at the New England ad agency North Castle Partners, where she worked on a range of consumer brands such as Ocean Spray and Slim Jim. She then moved to New York to work as sr.  producer at the boutique Carlson & Partners where she worked on Ralph Lauren and Neutrogena.  Stone joined Victoria’s Secret in 2001 and was an integral part of CMO Ed Razek’s team. 

Stone said she was drawn to DRIVER’s business model which “is perfectly positioned in this era where brands are often moving independently of their agencies to pursue and execute marketing ideas and concepts.  In this respect, there’s a lot DRIVER Media can do to help them grow by taking the burden off them as to how to get content produced, whether traditional advertising, branded content or digital.”

Stone’s hire comes as DRIVER Media expands its reach in the area of client-direct work. Recently it partnered with The Coca-Cola Company to produce a series of World Cup documentary-style web films and 30 and 60-second TV spots.

  • Monday, Jul. 28, 2014
Creative directors Sonderup, Grant join Translation
Nick Sonderup (l) and Andy Grant

Translation has added creative director duo Nick Sonderup and Andy Grant to its roster. The new arrivals mark the first major creative hires under the tenure of CCO John Norman and ECDs Jay Berry and Marc d’Avignon, who were brought on board in early 2014. Sonderup and Grant will focus their work primarily on the agency’s State Farm initiatives, having already contributed to the launch of the inaugural State Farm Neighborhood Sessions, a philanthropic concert spotlighting pop icon Jennifer Lopez in her hometown of the Bronx.

Sonderup comes to Translation following a three-year run at BBDO, and nearly five years at Wieden + Kennedy before that--having begun his career as a writer at MTV Networks. A copywriter by trade, he has delivered his wordsmithery for several top brands, including GE, ESPN, American Red Cross, Starbucks, Sharp and MTV. His work has been distinguished with AICP Show, Art Director’s Club, ANDY, One Show, Effie, and ADDY awards, just to name a few, and his contributions to GE’s acclaimed “Childlike Imagination” helped the spot to earn a primetime commercial Emmy nomination. Sonderup has also deployed his talents across numerous projects beyond the advertising industry, serving as the creative director of the inaugural Woodstock Comedy Festival in 2013, and creating the documentary “100 Bands in 100 Days,” which premiered at SXSW 2011.

Grant joins Translation from Crispin Porter + Bogusky, where he helped to create one of the most-viewed commercials of all time, “The Selfie Shootout,” starring Kobe Bryant and Lionel Messi, and boasting over 138 million YouTube views.  An advertising veteran of 14 years, Grant has spent significant time working in offices all over the world. Prior to moving to Los Angeles for his role at CP+B, he enjoyed stints as an ACD and art director at a number of top international shops, including BBH Singapore, WCRS London, TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris Johannesburg, and Ogilvy Prague.

  • Thursday, Jul. 24, 2014
Director Michael Fitzmaurice joins BRW Filmland
Michael Fitzmaurice

BRW Filmland Los Angeles has signed director Michael Fitzmaurice for U.S. commercial representation.  The helmer’s output includes spots for the likes of Lexus, Chevy and the NBA with his AICP Show-winning “Big Color.”  He’s already hit the ground running through BRW with recent campaigns for Chevy Silverado and Mazda.

Fitzmaurice successfully transitioned to the director’s chair after time serving as a regarded automotive cinematographer.  Before lensing work for assorted automakers, he was a camera assistant for legendary commercial director Joe Pytka.  With Pytka, he developed a sophisticated knowledge of the logistics of filming, working on commercials featuring celebrities such as Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Michael Jackson, Madonna and Tiger Woods. 
As a DP and camera operator, he built his reel working with top directorial talent including Lance Acord, Douglas Avery, Sean Thonson and Eun-Taek Cha.

As an aerial footage DP and camera assistant in the feature world, Fitzmaurice worked on such blockbusters as Iron Man one and two, The Dark Night, Fast & Furious 4, and The Italian Job.

Fitzmaurice comes to BRW Filmland from Park Pictures.  

  • Thursday, Jul. 24, 2014
Lenny Beckerman joins Über Content as EVP of new film/TV division
Lenny Beckerman

Production company Über Content has launched a long-form content division. Coming on board to spearhead that effort is industry veteran Lenny Beckerman, formerly of Anonymous Content and Hello & Company, who assumes the position of Über Content’s executive VP of film/TV.

Über Content has made previous forays into long-form with the production of three feature length documentaries, including 2010’s I Am Comic, which premiered on Showtime.  Beckerman will work closely with partner/EP Preston Lee to help shape the visions of Über Content’s filmmakers and guide the company’s transition into film/TV.  Along with producing, Beckerman will continue to manage a select roster of writers and directors. The new division launches with a development fund that will allow Über to seek out and secure potential properties to develop.

Beckerman has managed high-profile talent and produced over 100 pieces of content in various genres over the past 16 years. Starting in 2000, Beckerman worked at Anonymous Content with Steve Golin for 11 years, where he helped many of the roster’s commercial and music video directors break into features. Anonymous Content produced over 15 features while Beckerman was with the company, including the renowned films Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Lake of Fire, Babel, and Winter’s Bone, all of which were nominated for various awards, including Oscars. Beckerman also established the company’s Literary Management Department, acting as a liaison to film studios, independent producers and funding sources, and helping the department to grow to presently include 20 managers.

In April of 2011, Beckerman took on the new position of head of film and television at Hello & Company. There, he continued to manage a roster of writers and directors while generating new development for both film and TV as a producer. Recently, Beckerman wrapped the food noir thriller Bone in Throat with Hello director/partner Graham Henman, based on the best-selling novel written by Anthony Bourdain, due out next year.

  • Wednesday, Jul. 23, 2014
BBDO SF hires exec creative director Matt Miller
Matt Miller

Matt Miller, formerly VP, creative director at Leo Burnett,. Chicago, will be joining BBDO San Francisco as executive creative director. He will partner with Steve Rutter to oversee the Wells Fargo creative account. Executive creative director Craig Mangan will continue to lead creative for BBDO SF.

At Burnett, Miller first gained the industry’s attention as the original creator of the Allstate “Mayhem” campaign. Since then he has continued to create business-driving, award-winning fare across the agency’s client roster including work done for Secret’s “Mean Stinks” campaign and Hallmark’s “Life’s a Special Occasion.” His work has been recognized by Cannes Lions, D&AD, The One Show and the Clios, among others. Miller began his career as a copywriter at Rare Method, Salt Lake City.

“Like insurance was five to ten years ago or telecom before that, I believe banking is the next industry poised to do incredible work,” commented Miller “The opportunity to help steer Wells Fargo, one of the most iconic brands in that industry, is a gift.”

Miller is the latest senior hire to be joining BBDO San Francisco, which won Wells Fargo earlier this year. Other notable hires include Kevin Thompson and Heidi Keel, who joined the agency this month as creative director and strategy director, respectively.

  • Monday, Jul. 21, 2014
Kettle hires creative director, sr. producer
Crystal Ginn

Digital agency Kettle, headquartered in NY, has hired Amanda Hughes-Watkins as creative director and Crystal Ginn as sr. producer.

Hughes-Watkins, based in San Francisco, advances Kettle’s bicoastal offerings. She spent the last two years as a creative director at Digitas San Francisco, where she led the creative work for eBay, Paypal and Kraft/Taco Bell Sauces. While there, her digital advertising was recognized with a Clio, Webby, MIXX, OMMA, and Communication Arts award. Prior to Digitas, she worked at R/GA San Francisco on Microsoft. Throughout her career, she has worked with brands like Old Navy, Conde Nast, Lexus, Macy’s and Yahoo!

Ginn will lead cross-functional teams as they design the breakthrough experiences that clients have come to expect from the agency. Long-time accounts like American Express as well as more recent wins like Penguin will fall under her direction. Ginn comes to Kettle with experience as director of production at AREA 17, where she led work with brands like Google Chrome, Billboard, SPIN and Dering Hall. Prior to that, she worked at agencies including Razorfish, Syrup (LBi), Coty Prestige and createthe group with Axe, Marc Jacobs, Gwen Stefani Fragrances, Bottega Veneta, Calvin Klein X Underwear, Polo Ralph Lauren, David Yurman and Juicy Couture. She started her career at JWT and then Siegel+Gale.

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