Category Archives: New Hire

Big Block adds comedy director Richard Farmer

Who doesn’t like to laugh? No one. Well hardly no one. So when a director is able to evoke that sort of response from an audience, it’s amazing. That was the thinking behind Big Block’s addition of comedy director Richard Farmer.

This Oklahoma native began his career as an agency producer in Los Angeles after spending time post-college living in London, Seattle and Prague, working on indie films and videos. After a few years, he went on to produce for Mindfield, a production, editorial, and animation company for commercial television and music videos.

Since stepping behind the lens, Farmer has directed a prolific amount of commercials, each featuring his absurdist humor. Whether it’s carnivorous bunnies for Wendy’s, a magically appearing Fancy Bear for Free Credit Score or creating ’90s R&B songs about iconic memes for LG V20 phones, Farmer knows just how to create a memorable and compelling spot.

The recent LG spots are an example of Farmer’s style. Shot exclusively on the LG V20 phone, Farmer took well-known memes, from Double Rainbow to Damn Daniel and “remastered” them in high quality, showcasing a mash-up of his skills across the realms of narrative, music and VFX. Farmer has already hit the ground running at Big Block, having just booked a job for Simon Malls.

We asked Farmer what he likes about working with editors on his projects: “I love it when the editor really embraces that they are a partner in the process and know they have the freedom to take risks. Editors that are brave enough to push the creative and what was shot to new areas. Freak me out. Open it up and move the boundary. Show me new possibilities. I’m always blown away when that magic happens.”

 

Benji Davidson joins Brickyard VFX

Brickyard VFX in Santa Monica has added VFX supervisor Benji Davidson to its staff. Davidson’s experience includes live-action directing, creative directing and VFX supervision. He joins Brickyard from MPC, where he served as VFX supervisor since 2008.

In his career, Davidson has worked as an on-set VFX supervisor, lead 2D artist and director, among other things. Born and raised in England, he got his start at acclaimed commercial production company HKM/The Directors Bureau before joining MPC LA.

His notable projects include Activision’s Call of Duty: Black Ops III Seize Glory, EA Sports’ Madden NFL 16 Madden: The Movie, Samsung’s Do What You Can’t and Super Bowl spots for Coca-Cola and Acura. He also contributed to the Los Angeles Olympics bid.

“I think in today’s climate, with rapid turnarounds, there is a benefit to being involved early on,” says Davidson. “I aim to help the director and agency, not hinder them. I’ve enjoyed being on set, sometimes that’s the only place everybody is together, which is invaluable when you get to post. You already know the expectations. There’s a secret short-hand from that shared experience.”

Brickyard is a digital production studio working in high-end visual effects, animation, design and creative development for advertising, feature films and emerging media.

Dell 6.15

Director Elle Ginter joins Sanctuary Content

Culver City-based production company Sanctuary Content has grown its roster with the addition of director Elle Ginter, who was recently selected as one of 13 directors worldwide for the DGA and AICP’s Commercial Directors Diversity Showcase.

Ginter’s first project with Sanctuary, a Father’s Day spot for Buffalo Wild Wings out of TBWA/Chiat/Day/LA, showcases her skill for capturing honest, intimate moments in its sweet simplicity as a young girl bonds with her father while watching sports. She also wrote and directed the short Why We Wake, in which she explores depression in an honest and artful way.

Ginter found her way to directing in an interesting way. After getting her degree in journalism, she moved to Boston where she began working on a whale-watching boat. A chance meeting with a casting director led to work as a PA on local feature sets. She quickly worked her way into the camera department, eventually becoming a 1st AC before finally landing back in New York City as a writer and art director on commercial shoots.

Sanctuary Content was launched by EP/founder Preston Lee a year and a half ago — they are made up of a lean and diverse roster of directors who create content across all mediums, including advertising, film, music videos and television.

After meeting Ginter, he knew she would be a nice addition to the team, “I’ve been watching Elle’s work for some time. She’s passionate, excited, hungry, and incredibly creative — and, at 29-years old, she’s just getting started.”

Ginter says she knew a traditional, larger production company wouldn’t be the right fit for her: “My career has been fairly untraditional at this point. When I talked to Preston I realized he’s a really out-of-the-box person and inspires that kind of thinking in everyone around him. Every time I talk to him I leave feeling energized.”


Jimmy Helm upped to editor at The Colonie

The Colonie, the Chicago-based editorial, visual effects and motion graphics shop, has promoted Jimmy Helm to editor. Helm has honed his craft over the past seven years, working with The Colonie’s senior editors on a wide range of projects. Most recently, he has been managing ongoing social media work with Facebook and conceptualizing and editing short format ads. Some clients he has collaborated with include Lyft, Dos Equis, Capital One, Heineken and Microsoft. He works on both Avid Media Composer and Adobe Premiere.

A filmmaking major at Columbia College Chicago, Helm applied for an internship at The Colonie in 2010. Six months later he was offered a full-time position as an assistant editor, working alongside veteran cutter Tom Pastorelle on commercials for McDonald’s, Kellogg’s, Quaker and Wrangler. During this time, Helm edited numerous projects on his own, including broadcast commercials for Centrum and Kay Jewelers.

“Tom is incredible to work with,” says Helm. “Not only is he a great editor but a great person. He shared his editorial methods and taught me the importance of bringing your instinctual creativity to the process. I feel fortunate to have had him as a mentor.”

In 2014, Helm was promoted to senior assistant editor and continued to hone his editing skills while taking on a leadership role.

“My passion for visual storytelling began when I was young,” says Helm “Growing up in Memphis, I spent a great deal of time watching classic films by great directors. I realize now that I was doing more than watching — I was studying their techniques and, particularly, their editing styles. When you’re editing a scene, there’s something addictive about the rhythm you create and the drama you build. I love that I get to do it every day.”

Helm joins The Colonie’s editorial team, comprised of Joe Clear, Keith Kristinat, Pastorelle and Brian Salazar, along with editors and partners Bob Ackerman and Brian Sepanik.

 

 


Catherine Finkenstaedt joins Slim as EP

Commercial and music video producer Catherine Finkenstaedt has joined Slim, a creative production company based in Venice, California. She comes to Slim from from GO Film, Wondros and, most recently, Spears and Arrows. Finkenstaedt will be working with various directors at Slim, including Karen Cunningham, ZCDC, Thomas Garber, Jason Headley, Vincent Urban, Pet & Flo, Brad Morrison, Jeff Baena and Wondo.

Finkenstaedt has executive produced campaigns for various companies, including Target, Toyota, Nike, AT&T, Comcast, Activision, Visa, Macy’s and the Tokyo Olympic Committee. She has also worked with directors Jake Scott, Sam Bayer, The Malloys, Patrick Daughters, Anton Corbijn, Chris Cunningham, Mark Romanek, David Kellogg, Matthew Rolston, McG, Antoine Fuqua, Sophie Muller and Hype Williams. Musical artists she’s collaborated with include Ricky Martin, Britney Spears, *NSYNC, Metallica, and Oasis.

Raised outside of Cambridge, England, Finkenstaedt attended Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusettes, where she studied theatre and film. She currently resides in Los Angeles with her pet-loving husband and her five furry children.

“I could not be happier to be joining executive producer Tom Weissferdt (who I worked with in the past) in this very important next phase of my career and in the growth of Slim,” says Finkenstaedt. “We are in a sea of change in commercial and integrated production and I am excited to help support the directors and to also help identify others whose voices are yet to be heard in traditional or integrated marketing content.”


BCPC names Kylee Peña president, expands leadership

The Blue Collar Post Collective (BCPC) has revised and expanded its leadership. Kylee Peña has been upped to president, having served as Los Angeles vice president. Ryan Penny will now serve as New York VP and Chris Visser will take over as LA VP.

“In the time since I’ve been directly involved with the leadership of BCPC, we’ve seen continued exponential growth, both in our membership and our scope,” says Peña (our main image). “Inclusiveness and accessibility are incredibly important to people, and they want to be involved with our mission.”

Chris Visser

The shift in leadership was prompted by the upcoming departure of co-president Janis Vogel, who will resign after nearly three years at the helm of the organization that consists entirely of full-time working professionals who volunteer their time to run its operations. Vogel will remain in the organization as an active member and sit on the Board. She will be spending the remainder of 2017 in London, where she will co-host a BCPC meet-up, marking the first extension of official on-the-ground activity for the organization outside of the US.

Co-president Felix Cabrera, who has served BCPC for the last year focusing on an “Intro to Post” training course in collaboration with the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment and Brooklyn Workforce Industries, will be stepping down from his role as well.

Peña has been at the helm of BCPC West for the last year, recruiting a committee and building the BCPC community from the ground up in Los Angeles. She is also an associate editor for Creative COW, active with SMPTE, and an outspoken advocate for gender equality and mental health in post production. By day, she is a workflow supervisor for Bling Digital, working on feature films and television.

Ryan Penny

Penny is an editor and currently serves as director for the newly launched “Made in NY Post Production Training Program,” partnering with the NYC Mayor’s Office for Media and Entertainment to train and provide job placement in the post production industry for low income and unemployed New Yorkers.

Visser is an assistant editor in Los Angeles, currently working on season two of Shooter for USA Network. Eager to expand his role on the original West planning committee, he took the lead on #TipJar, a weekly led discussion on BCPC’s Facebook page on important topics in the industry.

Peña says, “I’m excited about what’s on the horizon for BCPC. Funneling all this momentum into our mission to make all of post production more inclusive will have an explosive impact on the industry for years to come. People in our industry are ready to open their doors and help us change the face of what an expert looks like in post. They want to look outside their bubble, learn from people who don’t look like them, and mentor or hire emerging talent. We’re rising to meet that demand with action.”


Ed Cooper upped to editor at London’s The Assembly Rooms

London-based The Assembly Rooms has promoted Edward Cooper to editor. He has been at this seven-suite Soho-based studio since 2011, where he has been steadily making the progression from assistant editor to editor. When he first joined, Cooper cut his teeth on music videos like Nimmo’s Unyoung. Promos for Jake Bugg, Birdy and Donae’O shortly followed.

Recent work includes a TVC for Rubik’s, content for Beats featuring Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, a promo for BBC Sound of 2017 artist Ray BLK and a much more narrative and story-driven video for Jorja Smith’s latest single.

In his new position, Cooper will be building on his current working relationships, growing his list of collaborations and expanding into more commercial work. He works on the Avid Media Composer.

The Assembly Rooms was established in 2004 by Nik Hindson and Sam Rice-Edwards, with Eve Ashwell joining as partner in 2015. They are located in a town house in London’s Soho.

FMPX8.14

Laundry adds James Sweigert as managing director

Animation and design house Laundry has a new managing director in James Sweigert, who brings extensive experience in marketing, brand strategy, design and TV and film production to the studio, which recently moved into a new creative space in the Arts District in downtown Los Angeles.

Working closely with Richardson and ECD/partner Anthony Liu, Sweigert will oversee all creative and production management and operations for the studio, which encompasses animation, design, VFX and live-action production. He is also tasked with nurturing existing client relationships and cultivating new opportunities with brands, services and technology partners.

Sweigert arrives at Laundry following a tenure as executive producer of TV and Streaming at mOcean. Other previous positions include EP/partner at Nathaniel James, head of production at Brand New School and assistant EP at Fuel/Razorfish. He’s produced notable projects, including the main titles for the Emmy Award-winning documentary Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aikau, which was featured on ESPN Films’ 30 for 30; IDs for the NFL Network’s broadcast of Super Bowl XLVII between the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens, as well as work for HBO’s Game of Thrones and Sport in America.

Also a filmmaker, Sweigert has just completed producing and directing a documentary titled N-Men: The Untold Story. The film takes a look at the Northern California skateboarding scene from 1975 through today, featuring interviews with Tony Hawk, Tony Alva and the N-Men who inspired them. The film is scheduled for release in 2018 with Laundry playing an instrumental role in the post production.

“I’ve known James since arriving in Los Angeles 18 years ago, and the moons have finally aligned for us to work together,” says PJ Richardson, executive creative director and partner of Laundry. “What I’m most excited about is his fresh enthusiasm for design-driven animation and production, but also his understanding of how it is all evolving. Like us, he understands creativity comes down to having fun, so it’s a perfect fit.”

“Laundry has a sophisticated creative infrastructure, which I’m excited about bringing to new heights,” says Sweigert. “We can achieve great things with our clients by tapping deeper into the existing strengths of this company across the board, and implementing systems that allow us to become more of a strategic partner early on. I’m also keen on what the future holds for Laundry with respect to VR/AR, 360 and experiential work, as well as expanding our live-action bandwidth.”

 


Atomic Fiction hires Marc Chu to lead animation department

Atomic Fiction has welcomed animation expert Marc Chu to lead the studio’s animation efforts across its Oakland and Montreal locations. Chu joins Atomic Fiction from ILM, where he most recently served as animation director, bringing more than 20 years of experience animating and supervising the creation of everything from aliens and spaceships to pirates and superheroes.

Based out of Atomic Fiction’s Oakland office, Chu will oversee animation company-wide and serve as the principal architect of initial studio production, including the expansion of Atomic Fiction’s previs and digital creature offerings. He’s already begun work on The Predator and is ramping up activity on an upcoming Robert Zemeckis feature.

“Atomic Fiction is already well-established and known for its seamless work in environments, so this is an amazing opportunity to be a part of their journey into doing more animation-driven work,” said Chu. “My goal is to help grow an already-strong animation department to the next level, becoming a force that is able to tackle any challenge, notably high-level creature and character work.”

Chu established and built his career at ILM, creating and supervising work for some of the biggest film franchises of the last 20 years. For 2009’s Iron Man, he worked to define the characters and animation through the sequel and on the first two Avengers films. His extensive credits also include Star Wars franchise continuations The Force Awakens and Rogue One, and the original Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, which earned Best VFX Oscar nominations, and won for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men’s Chest.

Chu also has two VES Award wins for his Davy Jones CG character work.

Tom Vale joins FirstCom Music focusing on TV, film licensing

FirstCom Music, a provider of music for film, broadcast and new media, has named Tom Vale as its film & TV licensing manager. Vale joins the FirstCom Music team Frog Music Licensing, a company he started in 2010 with the goal of connecting the singer-songwriter talent found in Austin, where he was based, with placement opportunities in TV, film, advertising and gaming worldwide.

Vale has facilitated music placements in an extensive line-up of television programs, including Nashville (ABC), Empire (Fox), Breaking Bad (AMC), The Walking Dead (AMC), The Good Wife (CBS), Ray Donovan (Showtime), Togetherness (HBO), The Following (Fox), Twisted (ABC), Californication (Showtime), Parenthood (NBC), Sons of Anarchy (FX), Lucifer (Fox), From Dusk Til Dawn (El Rey), Satisfaction (USA), Casual (Hulu), Private Practice (ABC), Hart of Dixie (CW), Royal Pains (USA), Degrassi Next Generation (Teen Nick), The Listener, Heartland, and in the films Everything Must Go, Hold Your Peace, The Expatriate, Snitch, The Loft and more. He’s also placed music on national ad campaigns for Goodyear Tires, Nabisco, Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, PGA Golf and others.

“I launched Frog ML after working as an assistant to music supervisor Thomas Golubic at SuperMusicVision (Six Feet Under) and after many years working in the music library and studios at LA’s KCRW and as a music journalist for Alarm, Under the Radar, Sentimentalist and others,” says Vale. “Now, my music career has brought me to one of the top production music houses in the industry.”