What trends, developments or issues would you point to thus far in 2022 as being most significant, perhaps carrying implications for the rest of this year and beyond?
The trend I have noticed so far in 2022 is the amount of work we are seeing come directly from clients. We still submit our work to agencies, and we have great relationships with agencies, but there is more work coming from clients and the creatives they have on staff. The big streaming companies have become their own agencies, and increasingly are having in-house creatives.
How have any societal issues--such as the pandemic, the Supreme court decision on abortion, calls for equity, inclusion, diversity, racial and social justice--impacted the way you do business, company policies and/or selection of projects/creative content?
I’m glad that every brief now asks for diversity! It’s about time that we are inclusive after having been pretty closed for so long. For myself, I have always been inclusive going back to my start in Chicago. My mentors and partners, Ellen and Jimmy Smyth, always tried to include talented people from all backgrounds.
What work (advertising, entertainment, documentary) -- your own or others--struck a responsive chord with you this year and why?
I have been helping Laurence Thrush, a friend, and very talented director, on a collective documentary about prisoners on death row and their lives - before they are put to death. The hope is that the prisoners can interact with young people who are entering the system for the first time and that their life experiences can help to reduce violence in their communities. The artist Ai Weiwei has done a book about the work called “Buddhas on Death Row” that launched at LITLIT in LA in July.