It's possible that most things I have learned about creativity I initially discovered by watching the movie "JAWS" (1975) over 40 times. I shall explain.


I got my start as a designer and illustrator in 4th grade by collaborating with my best friend to create a "Mad-magazine-like" satire of the entire film. Since I drew Quint, after he was eaten, I was relegated to drawing "clouds and waves", which also taught me to plan ahead whatever the project.


There are valuable lessons regarding economy in "visual storytelling" and "keeping an audience engaged". Pretty obvious. But there is a good lesson in there around "practicing restraint" in that it is far better to show no shark or conservatively leverage a broken mechanical shark, than flaunt a CG-created monstrosity as we often do today. It was perhaps my first lessons in KIS, "keep it simple". What is perceived by others as limitations (a broken shark causing severe schedule slips) can actually be your catalyst for something truly original, something never seen before. And, pertinent to our industry, technology will only take you so far before you need to have an idea. The development world has its share of broken mechanical sharks.


An epiphany about the dualities in human nature occurred (perhaps around the 10th viewing?) as our three protagonists venture out to catch the shark. My reading is that they are symbolically the sides of ONE PERSON all vying for control of the situation. You have the Emotional side (Martin Brody), the Scientific side (Matt Hooper), and the raging MANIAC (Quint with his "I'll-never-put-on-a-life-jacket-again" speech). As a designer and creative director of experiences, I have spent my career wrestling and balancing those aspects of myself to create great work. On occasion those internal battles have been dramatic.


In terms of Mr. Spielberg, the big lesson from him is to get it done whatever happens—as the expectations are high and it is all (seemingly) falling apart. And to build a great team to pull it together while you are sleeping on the couch for a few hours.


I could go on with about 15 other lessons, but this is supposed to be the short bio. Oh yeah, and I manage a team of over 200 brilliant and dedicated web professionals at one of the world's greatest interactive brands--AOL. Before that, during Web 1.0, I did interactive marketing and design for a company called Modem Media in both California and Connecticut. Good times.

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  • JoinedJanuary 2006
  • OccupationCreative Director
  • HometownFairfield, CT


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