1Please give us a brief bio of yourself, your company, job profile, etc.
I was born in a small town in Irpinia, Italy. I remembered that I've always been interested in literature, writing, poetry, technology and the visual arts. I didn't do well at school, but I had many interests.
I moved to Rome for college and lived in Paris, Berlin, London and Los Angeles before moving to New York.
Here, I studied at NYU's Tandon School, an experience that taught me a lot. My studies were a mix of design, computer science, prototyping and emerging technologies.
I believe that the Soundbyte project encompasses all my creative and technical passions.
I met Margherita Teodori and Kang Soo in New York, and that's where it all started. Those were months of hard work, but we were driven by the certainty that we would create a beautiful project that would have a strong social impact.
After working together with Soundbyte Margherita, Kang and I unfortunately had to part ways.
Margherita now lives in London where she works as Digital Creative in the BBC in-house agency, while Kang returned to South Korea.
That’s it. What I love about my job is that it gives me the chance to keep in touch with talented creative people from all over the world. In this specific case of Margherita and Kang, I must say I was particularly lucky because it was a great honor for me working with two excellent creatives like them.
2Congratulations! As the winner of the 2019 Muse Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?
It is a great honor to receive this award.
It's always very exciting when industry experts and skilled professionals welcome your work with enthusiasm. Winning this award also allows us to showcase ourselves in a considerable international arena.
To those who are now just entering this industry, I want to say that prizes must be celebrated, but they should not be the reason for our commitment; this must instead be nourished by the passion and desire to make the world a little better than we found it. (Margherita would be very proud of hearing me saying these words!).
3Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2019 Muse Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?
Microsoft Soundbyte is a prototype I developed while attending the User Experience class at NYU.
We participated in a brief led by Microsoft where they asked us to find a solution to make the workplace for people with hearing impairment more inclusive.
At the beginning, we developed the prototype and the app. Then, I thought of showcasing our project by creating a commercial video which highlighted the feasibility and immediate marketability of Soundbyte.
I called Margherita and Kang, with whom I had collaborated on other projects, and asked them: "Hey, let's do a commercial for this innovative product. We should try to sell the idea to Microsoft!".
I didn't know what would come out of it. In the end, after the last export from After Effects late at night, we looked at each other and said, "This works, let's spread it."
I chose MUSE because it is an award that rewards creativity and also very focused on innovation and new technologies. It has many categories and, above all, a jury of industry experts. Winning this award, after working on this project so much, has been rewarding for all of us.
4What was the biggest challenge with this project?
The biggest challenge that keeps inspiring our creativity is the application of emerging and powerful technologies that solve social issues and offer tangible solutions.
Advertising is a part of this process because it brings together creatives from different backgrounds and all walks of life. My project has many different components: a complex user interface, a deep user research, different degrees of prototyping, and a detailed design study.
Another big challenge was presenting this complexity in a simple yet straightforward way and squeezing all this information into a one minute commercial.
5How has winning an Award developed your practice/career?
In such a competitive market, it’s really difficult to stand out and gain visibility.
Winning this award allows me to showcase my product to a broader public. Also, it proves the viability of my project, since it has been recognized by the leading industry experts.
6What are your top three (3) favorite things about our industry?
One of the things that fascinates me the most about our job is the power of advertising and how it can change the direction of thought.
Here in the United States, advertising enjoys great power and effects many people. This means that not only can advertising lead people to buy the product, but it can also make them to change their mind, reflect, take a stand, and buy more consciously.
I recall the Trash Isles campaign, which invited people to sign up to become a citizen of the Trash Isles, an area the same size of France made of plastic waste in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
We must use the sounding board that big brands have to also talk about common issues, as well as social and ethical ones. I believe this is the direction that advertising must go today.
My second favorite thing about the advertising industry is - as I said above - the fact of being able to get in touch with the most creative minds in the world.
For example, just a few weeks ago Margherita called me from London. She had an idea on a project about sensitizing people to the low quality of clickbait information, and she wanted to involve me.
My third favorite thing is that advertising is the only industry where GIFs are allowed in presentations, and this says a lot about how fun this job can be.
7Where do you see the evolution of creative industry going over the next 5- 10 years?
I think technology will be increasingly integrated within creative processes.
The creatives of the future won’t just stop at the conceptual phase as they will also have to know the various media at their disposal. This could mean both from the technical point of view as well as from the perspective of their social impact.
For example, I believe we can explore augmented reality much more. It is already widely used, although not to its fullest potential.
8If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring Muse Award submitter, what advice would you give them?
To keep pushing boundaries, to take risks, to do what they like and to
￼believe in what they are doing.
9Who has inspired you in your life and why?
I remembered having this conversation with Margherita.
Coming from ￼the countryside, we talked about how the isolated environment and ￼the people who live there have somehow strongly influenced our personal and experiential growth and therefore, our creativity.
10What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?
I always try to learn new things and never assume I know everything even in my field of expertise. Listen to the expert's advice, but make sure you ￼also have your own opinion and listen to your gut before acting.
11 Do you have anything else you would like to add to the interview?
I want to thank my teammates, Kang and Margherita, without whom I
￼￼wouldn’t have been able to complete this project.
Their expertise and professionalism along with their outstanding creativity allowed us to ￼always keep improving. I also want to thank IAA for the opportunity given to me and to all the members of the jury that supported my work.