Interview with Vinnie Urdea from United States

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Vinnie Urdea

Vinnie Urdea is the creative director at Halteres Associates, a leading bioscience consultancy offering strategic and tactical services in diagnostics, medical devices, and life science research. His career began as an actor and performer, followed by a decade as a freelance video producer before joining Halteres full-time in 2020.

Interview with the 2023 MUSE Creative Awards Winner -
Vinnie Urdea

1Please give us a brief bio of yourself and your creative background.

My name is Vinnie Urdea and I am the creative director for Halteres Associates, a leading bioscience consultancy that provides strategic and tactical services in the areas of diagnostics, medical devices, and life science research to clients of all sizes. I've had an interesting path to my current position, as I started my career as an actor and performer, but have spent the last 10 years as a freelance video producer before taking my full-time position at Halteres in 2020.

I graduated from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts with a major in Drama and a double minor in Producing For Film and Cinema Studies.

2What made you become/why did you choose to become a creative?
I've always been a creator, it has always been that way since I can remember. I have always enjoyed seeking out musicals or film editing classes or whatever opportunities I could find as a kid. So, it was always in my nature; I never knew another way.
3Tell us more about your business/company, job profile, and what you do.

One of the most vexing challenges in the business of bioscience is how to communicate dense scientific information to those who may not yet know the foundational aspects of your work. This is where Halteres Associates' technical expertise and video production creativity meet.

The symbiosis between the Halteres video production team and the Halteres bioscience experts ensures that your videos will pop with professional editing and eye-catching visuals while maintaining the technical integrity that is critical to success. When bridging the gap between substance and presentation, our clients rely on our technological competency and our creative efficiency to deliver an exceptional result.

The nationwide Halteres video production team of trusted professionals makes up an in-house boutique video marketing agency that offers a full menu of production services to help you with every step of the production process, from pre-production, storyboarding, scriptwriting, filming, animation, directing, editing, post-production, and distribution.

4What does “creativity” mean to you?
I think creativity comes in many different forms but it comes down to the root word of "create" - as long as you are making things, whether that's sculpture or screenplays, or spreadsheets or car parts, there are different ways to create and feel "creative". A baker is just as much of an artist as a poet is.
5To you, what makes a “creative” idea and/or design?
I think any idea that does not assume but seeks to think differently about its subject is in itself "creative". With storytelling, it's not a great idea to tell as story differently just for the sake of being different, but finding a different way that suits the STORY - where the method then supports the function - that can be truly creative.
6Tell us about your creative and/or design process.

Personally, I describe my process as "making things more of what they already are" - it's not my job to project MY view, necessarily, onto a project or a story, but instead, I think of myself as a conductor who manages the full orchestra, with everyone doing their own jobs in order to bring the whole symphony together.

So long as the music sounds good, I've done my job and I don't mind who gets the credit. And having been on the performing or the crew end of the process so many times, I know that the team can always see the ways that the "director" pulls the project over the finish line, so everyone knows who's at the helm and allows them to stay in their lane. As Bill Belichick says, "Do Your Job."

7What's your favorite part of the creative process and why?

I don't know fully how to answer that question but I will describe one part I see differently than many others. When I was in plays or musicals in high school, many of my peers would throw off their costumes in a heap and run out to see their friends and family, whereas me and a few others would stay behind, put our costumes back on their hangers, get out of makeup, have a few laughs with the stage manager and the crew, and then leisurely make my way out - and I have noticed that many of the professionals I work with now are built the same way.

The denouement is just as important as the crescendo, so I love sticking the landing and giving care and respect to the process itself, and I think that's something that separates professionals from people who don't take it nearly as seriously.

8Describe your creative style and its main characteristics.
I often think of the apocryphal Michelangelo quote, take a large piece of stone and carve away everything that doesn't look like an elephant - carve away everything that doesn't serve your story, then tell that.
9Do you think your country and its cultural heritage has an impact on your creativity process?
While not particularly so, I have proudly called myself a New Yorker for the past 15 years, and my time in the city undeniably shapes my creative approach. I strive to be direct, fearless, swift yet in control, and perpetually mindful of my place within the vibrant tapestry of my surroundings.
10 Congratulations! As the winner of the 2023 MUSE Creative Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?

We are so honored to receive 9 wins in the 2023 MUSE Creative Awards. We are more focused than ever on whether or not our work for our clients suits their needs, and results in their desired business outcomes for that project, but to have outside recognition of the high quality of our work certainly feels very good.

As creative director, being able to congratulate our whole team on their contributions to those honored works makes me feel great in my role as a manager. They all deserve the recognition!

11Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2023 MUSE Creative Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

We were fortunate enough to win awards for three different projects across nine categories - “THE POWER OF KNOWING” for our client ACLA (The American Clinical Laboratory Association), “UNLOCKING THE PROTEOME/NULISA” for our client Alamar Biosciences, and “ANSWERING LIFE’S MOST IMPORTANT QUESTIONS” for our own It's Not Magic, It's Diagnostics awareness campaign.

I think all of these projects, whether for a client or ourselves, continue to help us in our mission to educate the public (including policymakers, funders, governments, industry participants, developers, and manufacturers) while also supporting and elevating the companies and processes that enable us all to continue to innovate in the diagnostics sector.

12What was the biggest challenge with this project?

Each project always carries its own challenges, but I think the main obstacle tends to be that everyone - the creative team, the client, perhaps another outside agency - has their own ideas for how to accomplish the team's goals.

However, in my opinion, that's a job as the creative director, to ensure that everyone is focused on the same end goal in mind, and then things tend to fall into place - I think it was Seneca who said, if you don't know what harbor you're sailing for, no wind is the right wind.

13How has winning an Award developed your practice/career?
Well, awards recognize work that has already been completed, so I just think of it as it will allow me to continue to trust my team to do award-worthy work on all of our current and future projects.
14What are your top three (3) favorite things about our industry?

- Collaboration.

-Rising tides raise all boats.

-Watching a vague idea become a final product / how the sausage gets made.

15Where do you see the evolution of creative industry going over the next 5-10 years?
Collaboration has became much more remote during the pandemic, but as someone who highly values in-person connections, I hope that the next 5-10 years bring us back to being present and in-person with our teams and clients.
16If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring MUSE Creative Awards submitter, what advice would you give them?
In my opinion, I would advise those who are aspiring creatives to study something else in school - business, law, culinary school, coding, etc. - while also working on your art in your personal time, and then APPLY that knowledge to your art, rather than putting all of your eggs in one basket. Not to have a "backup career", as we used to think of it, but instead to be a more well-rounded artist. My two cents.
17What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the creative industry?
Learn skills that you might not think directly correlate to your industry but that you're passionate about - language, coding, web design, etc. - and then figure out how to fold them into your existing skills.
18Tell us something you have never told anyone else.

I think genre films and bad movies are a much better way to learn about filmmaking than a "great" movie - if you watch something truly "great", it's unlikely that you'll be able to see the strings and mechanics of how it works because it's just "good". Not much to learn. But if you watch a genre film (it's October as I write this, and I'm rewatching the Friday The 13th series, currently on #7), you can latch onto the conventions and expectations of that genre (re: horror) and watch how the filmmakers did or did not subvert those expectations, what cameras they used film-to-film, how creative teams make different decisions (from, say, Part 4 to Part 5), how actors do or do not understand the genre, etc., can be a great introduction to the HOW of moviemaking.

It is the same with "bad" movies - I'm a huge Mystery Science Theater 3000/Rifftrax fan, and I love watching "bad" films because they show you all of those strings that a great movie cannot.

Not sure if that answers the question, but it's something I think about a lot!
19Who has inspired you in your life and why?

The somewhat sappy answer is my wife, Alex - she's a multi-hyphenate actress, model, and podcast host, and at the time of writing this she is also 7 months pregnant with our son. She manages to always push her comfort zone and find new ways to solve her challenges, and she's the most effervescent and magnetic personality I've ever known. She inspires me every day!

The somewhat silly answer is Stephen Curry - he focuses singularly on his goal and his skills, and maintains his joy and his humor while doing it. I aspire to carry myself "Stephortlessly" through my work.

20What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?

The key to success is to redefine what YOU mean by success. If your goal is to make a living in a creative sector, to pay the bills and provide for your family, to work in a creative industry while maintaining your sense of curiosity without getting burnt out, to make work that makes your clients/audience happy/affected/informed/whatever, then absolutely you can achieve success. If you're out to just become the same someone you admire, then you will fail.

Steven Spielberg makes movies because he loves to make movies, not because he wanted to become Steven Spielberg. If you can get paid for what you'd do for free, working in something that you're passionate about, then we can talk about success.

21Do you have anything else you would like to add to the interview?
Don't compete with someone else; compete with yourself and make yourself better!

Winning Entries

Vinnie Urdea

Halteres Associates

Vinnie Urdea is the creative director at Halteres Associates, a leading bioscience consultancy offering strategic and tactical services in diagnostics, medical devices, and life science research. His career began as an actor and performer, followed by a decade as a freelance video producer before joining Halteres full-time in 2020.

Read more about this interview with Kasper Sierslev  from Denmark, the Platinum Winner of the 2023 MUSE Creative Awards.