1Please give us a brief bio of yourself, your company, job profile, etc.
I was trained at NYU, where I received a B.F.A. in Film Production from the Tisch School of the Arts. I originally grew up on the Main Line of Philadelphia, but I’ve lived in San Francisco’s Mission District since 2008. I’ve collaborated with hundreds of brands like Sony PlayStation, Capital One, TNT, Apple, Google, GitHub, Norton, Campari, Blue Shield of CA, and Environmental Defense Fund. My short films have appeared in festivals like San Francisco DocFest, Oxford International, Cannes, and others. When you ask my team, they will tell you that I’m the first to acknowledge when I’m wrong. It’s that sense of integrity and transparency that has helped me grow Slow Clap and keep clients happy. And these core values carry through into the work.
What I love most about running my own business is the collaborative relationships I have with my clients. Always open to brainstorm a new project, or contribute to an existing campaign, I love developing and producing stories in a truly collaborative way.
I won’t mention my interests outside of work, because Slow Clap is my passion and it keeps me busy around the clock. But if you spend any time at the office, you will definitely meet my better half, Rahel, who’s the secret sauce of Slow Clap’s success.
2Tell us a bit about your business and what you do.
After a decade in the film & video industry, I realized that in a web-centric world, the captive audience that broadcast commercials took for granted no longer exists. I believe that authentic, entertaining, and meaningful content is what drives people to share a story–not a powerpoint slide filled with value propositions. I started Slow Clap in 2014 with the hopes of having an outlet to tell stories authentically; something I rarely got to do once I left film school.
We take projects from concept to delivery. We brainstorm, write, storyboard, schedule, shoot, light, record, direct, edit, design, color, compress, and post our videos… fresh out of the oven!
We are filmmakers that came of age in the internet era. And we apply the same rigor to web video that the filmmakers we most admire apply to their films. We want viewers to watch our content over and over, the way they would with their favorite movie or TV show. We team with brands, artists, and agencies that are willing to take creative risks, in the belief that an audience will follow.
Slow Clap believes that authentic storytelling lies at the heart of all great videos, campaigns, and outreach programs. In a digital world where viewers have a trillion different choices, it’s authentic, entertaining, and meaningful content that connects peoples with brands and drives them to share. We create stories that feel so right that you actually want to stand up and clap… slowly.
3Congratulations! As the winner of the 2019 MUSE Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?
This is a great award for us to win. This video project was the most ambitious, time-consuming, and challenging project our team has ever taken on. We had a team of more than 40 collaborators, including a great creative team at GitHub, a brilliant producer, Cassandra Jabola, leading our side of things, a gifted cinematographer Heyjin Jun really bringing a level of detail and beauty to our visuals we’ve never seen before, and some amazing custom robotics developed, designed, rigged, and operated all by one person, Brandon Menton, self-described “prop scientist.” Getting this award, the top honor at the MUSE Awards, is just great acknowledgement for our team.
It’s also nice to have another trophy for the mantle!
4Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2019 MUSE Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?
This brand story we developed and produced for GitHub is the largest project Slow Clap has ever undertaken. GitHub had just turned ten years old, and it was looking towards the next ten. This video is intended to give their loyal audience an idea of where GitHub saw itself, and the technology community in the next ten years.
That meant we had to imagine, design, and actually create technologies that don’t exist yet. And, because GitHub is all about connecting tech with human impact, we had to find a way to put people at the center of our story. We put our heads together, and came up with a collaborative, open-source story that may seem way out there, but could also totally come true sometime soon. From a girl’s college dorm room to Mars, from Latin America to India, we wanted this story to really cover the gamut of GitHub’s reach.
5What was the biggest challenge with this project?
The biggest challenge of this project was just how much uncharted territory it covered. We had to build robotics from scratch, design, build, and light sets for scenes that took place on Mars and India, and shoot in twelve different locations to cover fifteen different scenes in just five filming days. Then, we had to squeeze all that into a short film-like narrative brand story in under two minutes!
6What are your top three (3) favorite things about our industry?
I love that every client, every story, every challenge, and every day is totally different from the last. Whether it’s bringing in new business, getting deep in the edit timeline, consulting with a robotics designer about the color of a synthetic hand, directing talent, or so many other things… I can never predict what I will be working on in six months’ time, let alone six days!
7Where do you see the evolution of creative industry going over the next 5-10 years?
There’s so much technology that will change so much about how we make films. Full frame sensors, 8K image resolution, HDR, ubiquitous RAW workflows. I think that change and evolution is all a given… video is gonna look better. So much better than film. Pretty soon.
But what always amazes me… something I have to constantly remind myself… is what doesn’t change. Story trumps everything, and always will. A great story, told effectively, with just the most basic cinematic language and techniques, will always be better than something with shitty story, filmed on the most fancy cameras, with the best codecs, and the most time-intensive, flashy motion graphics.
8What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the creative industry?
I’d recommend going out there and working on some passion projects. Working on low-budget or no-budget short films around smart, passionate people will teach you more than any online training course.
9What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?
I don’t know exactly how successful I am, and how much further I have to go. But all I can say is, that I try to be better today than I was yesterday. That’s the gold standard I live by. And I apply that to my work, my creative projects, and my personal life.
Nobody is perfect, and everyone starts knowing nothing, so just try to be better than the day before.