Guiding the overall creative direction of a brand, product or project is the inherent, unshakable core skill that drives every single thing I do. I constantly think about colors and graphics and fonts and branding and messaging. Immediately after I conceive an idea for a project my brain begins the process of naming it and giving a tagline and thinking about logos. Everything else you read about below are skills I developed in order to satisfy my desire to create.
Having spent much of my career at small startups in very early stages, project management became a vital part of my skillset. I've managed agile development and creative teams using Pivotal Tracker, Jira, Asana and Basecamp. Formally guiding teams in this manner is a cornerstone to every project I work on.
To accomplish big things, sometimes you need a team of talented people to help you. Managing teams has come naturally to me over the years, which is partly due to the fact that I've had the privilege of working with great, hard working individuals. My goal has always been to maximize efficiency while keeping the team's spirits high and making sure that we all share the desire to produce the best possible results.
As a computer science major, I spent a good deal of time writing code in various languages and learning through trial and error. Throughout my career I tend to write as much code as is required of me. Whether that's prototyping a web interface, or building an entire app.
When you work on small teams, there usually isn't an employee dedicated to copywriting. I have written various forms of corporate communication including website copy, emails, one-sheets, ad copy, technical documentation and various scripts. Additionally, I have taken two eight-week screenwriting courses to improve my script writing abilities.
I've been in charge of advertising campaigns across Google Adwords, Youtube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Testing copy, designs, audience, budget and other factors has become part of how I think about advertising. I have hands-on experience with all of these platforms from the literal design of the ad to the execution of the ad purchase all the way to analyzing the results.
Animation is one of those skills I picked up out of necessity. When you have a deadline and limited resources you figure things out. I've done keyframe animation in Adobe Flash (RIP) as well as in Adobe After effects. A sample of my After Effects animation work can be found on the Alien Hero project page.
After creating numerous presentations and investor pitch decks I felt like it deserved being called out as it's own skill. On a basic level it's not much more than page design and copywriting but I think presentation design is a very targeted skill that requires a certain level of design restraint.
I taught myself the basics of After Effects while working on Alien Hero. I've used it mostly for keyframe animation and advanced green screen rotoscoping on a music video for Mean Mug Pug.
Photoshop is hands down the application I've spent the most time in over the course of my adult life. I use it for almost everything, from actual photo manipulation to layout design to graphic design.
Most of my serious design work begins in Illustrator. Logos, typography, icon design are all things I would begin in Illustrator before bringing them into Photoshop for finishing touches. I think it's always a good idea to start out with a vector version of your art that can be resized infinitely.
I have been editing video on either Adobe Premiere or Final Cut Pro since 2000. Since 2013, when I attended UCLA summer film school, I've been using Premiere exclusively. I've edited short films, music videos, web series, vines, short comedy videos and a whole assortment of dog videos.
A good portion of my early career was spent working in InDesign. I was creating direct mail packages for print and I spent several years under the hood of InDesign. I don't use it very frequently anymore since there are a lot of less "heavy handed" options for creating quick and dirty PDF documents. However, I do prefer the fine grain controls of InDesign for when I'm creating more complicated documents that need to look great and possibly need to be printed.
Music Production is another one of those skills I developed out of necessity. On a project with a real budget I'd always prefer to hire a music professional, but I have been in situations where I needed a piece of music and had to create it myself. My production experience is mostly with GarageBand and luckily it's designed to make you feel like you know what you're doing. :)
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