Get Interviewed
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Get Interviewed

Episode 04: The “Multipod”

An interview with Dan Hoffman about creative direction

Photo by Diane Helentjaris on Unsplash

Creativity is nothing but a mind set free.” ~T. Asai

About Dan Hoffman

Dan Hoffman’s biggest and most important job is as a Dad. His kids are always teaching him to see things in new ways. Like them he is perpetually curious, which is a blessing and a burden since Dan can’t seem to give up hobbies. He loves peaking under the hood and learning how things work. Lately Dan has been doing woodworking, drumming, learning the ukulele, running, and raising kids. Each of his hobbies comes along with stuff unfortunately. Dan failed Marie Kondo because everything brings him joy.

💡 Philosophy

Joe Pascavage ✍🏼
What is unique about your personal philosophy towards creative direction?

Dan
As a proud dabbler I love to learn new things. If I give direction to my team I want to know how to achieve it if I were in their shoes. This means I’ve learned to code, done UI / UX work, been an animator, compositor, prop builder, woodworker, welder, sculptor, painter, etc etc. I fully recognize and appreciate the specialists who do these things better than me, but having done them myself I approach direction with an appreciation of what it means to do the work. I hope it also means that I can bring some weird random ideas to my projects! I’ll remember that cardboard sculpture I made and think that it would be perfect in a music video I’m working on.

Joe Pascavage ✍🏼
How does that help motivate you to think forward?

Dan
There is always a new exciting field to dig into. When I went to school UI / UX wasn’t something you could study. It wasn’t “formalized.” Now that the field has matured I find that there’s a ton of new stuff for me to learn and play around with! 2 years ago I was playing with VR tech and designing interactive experiences. Now I’m exploring the UX for our Ecomm site. Always something fun for me to learn.

🎯 Process

Joe Pascavage ✍🏼
What does your creative process look like?

Dan
I think about my creative process like a planet forming. It’s a whole lot of crap floating around, until it finally comes together into something that can support life. I start by looking for inspiration. I see what’s out there in the world. I collect imagery, music, tutorials, I make pinterest boards….as much as I can get. Then I whittle it down, put random elements together to sort of collage a concept. Eventually something original comes of it, but there’s a decent amount of sweat equity in my process.

👨‍💻 Projects

Joe Pascavage ✍🏼
What projects have you been working on recently?

Dan
We just launched a cool new collaboration with an esports star. He collaborated on a line of products with us. To promote it our team had to think through everything from the packaging to the video production to the landing pages online. It was a really wholistic campaign.

Joe Pascavage ✍🏼
How is creative direction playing a pivotal role in the success of these projects?

Dan
The direction is key to the success of the project. Without good clear direction the team would be making individual assets that might not have any connective tissue. I made sure to supply the most thorough direction possible so that all members of the team were pulling in the same direction.

Joe Pascavage ✍🏼
What is the most interesting project you’ve worked on?

Dan
Tough question…so many projects have really interesting components. I directed the look and feel of a National Geographic doc a number of years ago. It began with a request for me to design a single element and ballooned into me directing the whole look and feel of all graphic elements. It was an exciting project and one that I felt made an impact. But it’s tough to compare. In my current role I get to help drive a massive business. That is super exciting…but it’s apples to oranges.

👋 People

Joe Pascavage ✍🏼
What are some common misconceptions you’ve noticed people have towards creative direction?

Dan
Probably the biggest misconception is that there is 1 definition of Creative Director. In my experience it means something different everywhere I’ve been.

Joe Pascavage ✍🏼
How do you see creative direction evolving over the next decade?

Dan
No idea…but I hope I’ll be there to see 😊

Joe Pascavage ✍🏼
What advice would you give to someone starting a career as a creative director?

Dan
The advice I’d give is to start in one of the fields you intend to direct. The best creative directors I’ve worked with had an intricate knowledge of how to do the work. This lets them communicate their vision effectively and it also opens up their minds to possibilities they might not have thought of otherwise. Roll up your sleeves, do the work, climb the ladder and you’ll be far more effective when you land in the director’s seat.

👏 Thank you for reading!

Great stuff, Dan! You are forever curious, don’t ever change! It was great to hear your perspective and I can’t wait to hear what you do next.

This interview with Dan Hoffman is part of a blog series by Joe Pascavage ✍🏼 called “Get Interviewed”. If you would like to learn more about this initiative you can read about it here.

Do you want to share your story?

Send me a DM or tweet @joepascavage letting me know that you would like to “Get Interviewed”, and I’ll take it from there.

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