My work has ranged from theme park productions to Hollywood entertainment, interactive CDs and games, and all things Internet — web sites, WordPress and social media.
I have done work for clients both full-time and on a project-by-project basis for nearly 25 years. Some of my clients have included: Hilton Hotels (interactive registration system), Western International Media (television infomercials), Hyundai Computers (print advertising), Sandra’s Haarzauber Shop (German eCommerce), KLH Audio and Western Digital (animated videos).
Before returning to California, where my current focus is web design and social media marketing, I lived in Germany for 12 years. There I had the opportunity to study German at the Universitäte des Saarlands and was involved in a variety of international business opportunities, including operating a vehicle export business for classic Mercedes-Benz off-road vehicles — Unimogs. I also designed and maintained eCommerce web sites for German clients, and bought commercial air time at RTL and print ads in the Bild Zeitung for US clients advertising in Germany.
Prior to going independent with Digital VooDoo, I was a Producer for Warner Brothers Interactive. My assignment was the oversight of the game design on “The Egyptian Jukebox”, based on the book by Nick Bantock. I was also a Line Producer on the CD-ROM, “500 Nations”, hosted by Kevin Costner and distributed by Microsoft. The CD was an interactive history of American Indians based on the 8-part documentary. I was responsible for the localizations into French and Spanish.
So how does a pencil-and-paper storyteller become a digital designer? I have often said that my career was driven by evolving opportunities, although at times it felt more like chaos theory was in control. After graduating with a Master’s Degree in Journalism from USC, I began my career in earnest as a Writer / Talent Coordinator for The Merv Griffin Show in the heart of Hollywood. I and the other writers would meet with Merv before each show where we would present our interviews with the guests. In three-plus years, I interviewed hundreds of celebrities, authors, artists and statesmen. It was live television with all of its excitement, deadline pressure, and the instant gratification you get when you see the results of your work play out on stage.
My next assignment was as an assistant to the president of International Creative Management‘s television division. ICM is one of the largest talent agencies in Hollywood. It was the perfect place to learn the art of the deal. I co-wrote proposals with the company president, one of which resulted in a co-venture with Second City and Ron Howard’s Imagine Films. It created an entity called Second city Entertainment, based in Century City, the home of Ron Howard’s company.
I became Director of Development for the new company Second City Entertainment and served as Associate Producer on three television pilots. One of the TV pilots resulted in a syndicated series for Universal. The Second City also had a theater in Santa Monica for improv comedy. For a few years we traveled back and forth between the theater and television stages in a stream of production.
The demise of that Hollywood marriage (the co-venture between Second City and Imagine Films) led me to the magical kingdom of Walt Disney Imagineering as a Creative Development Executive. Together with teams of designers, engineers and artists, I co-developed theme park attractions for Walt Disney World in Florida and Euro Disney in France. One of the shows we developed was a video wall presentation with an Anamatronic® figure called the “Time Keeper”, whose original inspiration was the voice of Robin Williams. I worked in Paris until the theme park opened.
On all of these media experiences, the story — and how it is told — is the connecting point. Telling stories is the root of human communication. My job on any project is to tell the story; to connect with an audience. I also like to explore how digital technologies allow us to share our stories in more innovative ways.