Judge Spotlight

Frank Kivo, Film Director / Executive Producer at Team Frankie

Our Q&A with Telly Jury Council Member Frank Kivo

Film Director / Executive Producer at Team Frankie

Pushing the limits and testing the boundaries of each project, Frank never fails to exceed his client’s expectations.

Cultivating relationships with nationally recognized brands on broadcast and digital platforms; Frank Kivo is captivating diverse audiences.  

Frank’s strong directorial foundation can be accredited to his mastery of editing, which he obtained while cutting some of the most popular shows on television for Bravo, NBC, MTV, National Geographic, History Channel and more. His commercial work has garnered millions of views online, played Super Bowl LIII, and made headlines in various media outlets and publications including Sports Illustrated, Wired Magazine, CNN, MSNBC and Bloomberg News.

Today, Frank lives in Los Angeles, California. He still misses New York.

What piece of video/television has recently inspired you?

The most inspiring piece of video work that I have seen lately is definitely Kacey Musgraves latest music video, Rainbow. The social issues addressed, coupled with the flawless cinematography really made it a stand-out viewing experience for me. I think the message, paired with the serene vocals set in such a captivating visual scene created a beautiful work of art. I’m also a huge fan of Kacey.

What is most exciting for you at the moment within your industry?

The video production industry is always an exciting place to be. Right now, the most exciting facet of the industry definitely has to be that the archaic model of client-to-agency-to-production company is changing rapidly. As a production company owner, we are partnering directly with our clients and end users more than ever before. It shows that sophisticated production companies can fill the role of both creative and production. As a director, this is ideal as it eliminates a middle man and there becomes a more clear channel of communication with our clients.

What is one thing the Telly Awards community should know about you?

I’m a rather private person so I can’t think of too much to share. However, there are two things I am most proud of. First is my beautiful daughter Coco, who is 14 months old. She’s really into getting into my camera bags and running off with cords and memory cards. Secondly, I’ve traveled over a million miles in the last five years for projects. I’ve set foot in over 25 countries. I’ve won numerous Telly Awards from productions on these trips—probably 15 Telly Awards or more.

What is a piece of work you are most proud to have worked on?

The piece of work I am most proud to have worked on is the commercial my company produced, and I directed for Pizza Hut which aired on Super Bowl Sunday. We worked with the Los Angeles Rams’ Todd Gurley and Jared Goff on a cute “Bromance” campaign. The whole idea was Goff and Gurley go together like Pizza and the Superbowl. We shot for a whole day, doing fun little vignettes. The commercial was lauded with praise from both the NFL and the clients at Pizza Hut. I made a lot of friends that day and am happy to stay in touch with everyone involved in the shoot.

Judge Spotlight

Folayo Lasaki, VP, Head of Marketing at SoulPancake

Our Q&A with Telly Jury Council Member Folayo Lasaki

VP, Head of Marketing at SoulPancake

Not only is Folayo Lasaki a Telly Jury Council member, and master of building IKEA furniture, she is a marketing executive, creative, and brand strategist who specializes in creating innovative campaigns for digital and traditional media. Currently, she is VP and Head of Marketing at SoulPancake, an award-winning content studio founded by actor Rainn Wilson, now a division of Participant Media. There, she oversees brand, content, and social media marketing, as well as communications, distribution, and strategic partnerships.

Read our Q&A below to get to know Folayo!

What video/television piece inspired you recently?

I’m inspired by everything I watch, and I watch a lot of content across a lot of platforms and screens. I caught Tidying Up on Netflix over the holidays, and after getting over the shame of at least three “multi-functional” drawers in my house, I was not only inspired to go through my things with a new level of intention but to also consider the motivating driver behind the whole experience for me.  I found myself thinking about the human need to simplify as well as the human need to hoard. I started asking questions about the key takeaways when you strip away the vehicle of the series and drawing inspiration on how to best utilize those from both a personal and professional standpoint.

In terms of video, I recently re-watched Viacom’s “Culture of Proximity.” Although it’s a year-and-a-half old, it still got the wheels turning in me. I tend to re-watch a lot of things because I always get something new on the next view. Honestly, I think if you’re paying attention you can find inspiration in everything—even if that inspiration is about things not to do or things that wouldn’t work for you.

What is most exciting for you at the moment within your industry?

I’m really excited by the gigantic question mark that’s shrouding the industry. We’re at a time right now when tech and ideas are actually moving at the same (or similar) speeds, and that presents such crazy opportunities for innovation. Simultaneously, people are slowing down to try to bring that human-to-human connection back to the experience, which I love. Right now, there are so many things you can do from a content perspective, which is exciting to me as both a creator and a consumer.

I’m also thrilled by conversations about representation and inclusion being brought more and more to the forefront. That’s actually what I’m most excited about.

What is one thing the telly awards community should know about you?

As a kid I loved to take things apart so I could see how they worked. I would do it with old electronics or simple furnishings (I am a master of the Ikea build). I just always really loved seeing how the pieces created the whole. I still love that, it’s just manifested in more meta ways as an adult: “What’s the science of a good story? What are the elements that make for a successful campaign?” That urge to explore or look deeper is always there.

What is a piece of work you are most proud to have worked on?

I worked with the very brilliant choreographer Christopher Scott to develop a dance video as a companion piece to SoulPancake’s series on youth incarceration and education (Gateways). The idea behind it was to approach the conversation from a different angle and get people thinking and feeling differently. The result was a really beautiful and haunting video that we were all really proud of.

Judge Spotlight

John Weiss, Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer, Human Design

Our Q&A with Telly Jury Council Member John Weiss

Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer, Human Design

What is most exciting for you at the moment within your industry?

The angst and churn around how to create something meaningful that is based on both creative instinct or experience and data, and deciding which is the greater force in driving business results. There’s a chasm between the two camps (instinct vs. data) that agencies have to figure out. Creative and data are clearly not mutually exclusive, but I believe the agencies that stake a conviction on their ability to create the unpredictable (which data cannot always predict) will win. In the meantime, it’s fascinating to see the positive impact and conversations that have been a result of the stress on the system.

What is one thing the Telly Awards community should know about you?

I’m a huge fan of humanity. It’s why it’s in our agency name (Human Design). Human creativity, ingenuity, and imagination will be the singular force moving the human race forward. It will be the equivalent of the next industrial revolution.

What is a piece of work you are most proud to have worked on?

The work Human Design did for International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) to protect The Endangered Species Act (ESA). The ESA has protected key species on our planet since 1973. Its own survival was called into question when the new administration threatened to cut its funding. Human Design created a campaign that clearly showed how the ESA is the critical one-act that we cannot stand to lose. We rallied celebrities to “act” for a species of their choice, by lending their name, social feed, and signature to a petition to the US Government to keep the ESA funded. Visuals depicting the fall of the ESA—which then set off a cascading downfall of species, ending with humanity—were created to mimic dominos falling; a narrative that anyone ranging from 7 to 70-years old would immediately recognize and comprehend the gravity of the situation. The campaign was executed from start to finish in 6 weeks, and what started with 5 celebrities ended with 33 signing on to participate and share their voice.

Judge Spotlight

Kate Dohaney, SVP, Strategic & Creative Operations at Dow Jones

Our Q&A with Telly Jury Council Member Kate Dohaney

SVP, Strategic & Creative Operations at Dow Jones

 

 

 

 

 

What video/ television piece inspired you recently?  

The Handmaid’s Tale. I think it’s an important show at this moment in history.

What is most exciting for you at the moment within your industry?

We are evolving as an industry from selling to solving. Content has to meet an objective, not just check a box. Our clients need results to show their CEOs and we need to help them do that. We have an obligation to push storytelling into new and different avenues that create real results… beautifully. It’s exciting to think differently.

What is one thing the Telly Awards community should know about you?

I still follow the rules set by my very wise grandfather, “Every time you point the finger, look at the three fingers pointing back at you” or “Respect everyone, dear. From the Janitor to the CEO, it takes a village of different skills—all of equal importance—working together to really be great.” He would always illustrate the best of his life lessons to me on the back of dinner napkins, as we shared jelly-covered toast and conversation.  

What is a piece of work you are most proud to have worked on?

I oversee a team that does the work. I am most proud of the WSJ Custom Studios team’s evolution. We are a team of makers and thinkers with hundreds of asks, deliverables, and challenges going on at any given moment. We take on these challenges with thought, precision, and creativity.

Judge Spotlight

Justin Durazzo, Co-Director of Interactive Content, Droga5

Our Q&A with Telly Jury Council Member Justin Durazzo

Co-Director of Interactive Content, Droga5

What video/ television piece inspired you recently?  

This might seem biased, but I didn’t actually work on it, so feel like it’s safe to say? :)

The piece that Droga5 submitted for these awards – The Last DaVinci. On a very quick timeline and tight budget, we had the very difficult task of elevating what is already one of the most sensational artworks of our time. The final film was beautiful and moving. After having seen the artwork at Christie’s in person, the film felt like it did a fantastic job of capturing the immensely profound experience of viewing the work. I aspire to do more work like this in the near future.  

What is most exciting for you at the moment within your industry?

It’s been interesting to see what seems like an uptick in experiential marketing as of late. As brands move away from more traditional interactive work like microsites and web apps, weaving a different technologies into a tight, memorable experiential narrative seems like a great opportunity to create lasting impressions that matter and are inherently shareable.  

What is one thing the Telly Awards community should know about you?

I’ve always been media-agnostic. I’ve never known what I’m going to be working on next or where I’ll be even a month from now. I rarely plan ahead and embrace opportunities as they arise in real-time. It’s led me to a lot of interesting experiences and work in my previously unpredictable career.  

What is a piece of work you are most proud to have worked on?

Tree VR is an immersive artistic commentary on climate-change that I helped design and produce. It’s a multi-sensory virtual reality and experiential project that transforms you into a rainforest tree. With your arms as branches and your body as the trunk, you experience the growth from a seedling into its fullest form and witness its fate firsthand. We debuted at Sundance in 2017 and since have shown the project internationally at Cannes Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, TED, The Venice Biennale and more. We won a People’s Voice Webby for the project this past spring.

Judge Spotlight

Moisés Arancibia, Co-Founder & Co-Director of Smog

Our Q&A with Telly Jury Council Member, Moisés Arancibia

Co-Founder & Co-Director of Smog

Moisés Arancibia began his career studying Graphic Design at Universidad Católica de Chile, and soon after began working at several design, animation, and post-production studios. In 2006 he founded motion graphic studio Smog, one of Chile’s pioneers in this field, which he and his business partner direct today. Simultaneously, since 2008, he’s taught Design at several universities in Santiago.

What video/ television piece inspired you recently?

There are so many interesting things happening online and TV lately, both in a visual sense as well as in regards to storytelling.

Part of my job is to constantly review what is being done in other parts of the world, so I spend a certain amount of time “window shopping” every day. Not long ago, I saw an animated short film by a CalArts graduate, called Polaris, which was about a young polar bear leaving home for the first time—fantastic. My new favorite is the short film Looking for Something, by César Pelizer. Everything about that short film is fascinating. In feature films, Isle of Dogs, by Wes Anderson.

What is most exciting for you at the moment within your industry?

It’s mainly two things. On one hand, formats; when I began doing this, we produced pieces for television and film screens. Therefore, the formats we worked in were quite delimited and linear as far as storytelling. For some years now, the massive use of smartphones, VR, AR, etc., have opened up an enormous spectrum of possibilities for design and animation. The rules for visual storytelling that we knew up until now are no longer valid; we’re constantly rewriting them.

And on the other hand is the fact that nowadays in this industry, one can work for any part of the world, no matter where you are. A few years ago, all of my clients were in Chile, and specifically, in Santiago. Today, 80% of my clients are in other countries: USA, Australia, China, Japan, Switzerland, etc. This has greatly enriched us in a creative sense, forcing us to leave our comfort zone and try new things.

What is one thing the Telly Awards community should know about you?

I work a lot, but I have a lot of fun doing my work, and I spend all the money I earn on Vinyls and my kids.

What is a piece of work you are most proud to have worked on?

One of my greatest points of pride is the entire campaign that we made for the Amparo & Justicia Foundation, since I’ve been with them from the very beginning. Thanks to our help, we managed to turn a subject as delicate as child abuse into a nation-wide topic, which led to drafting legislation and getting Congress to approve it. I am currently still working with them on new videos that explain how to put the law into effect.

Judge Spotlight

Dave Corbett, Creative Director, Entrepreneur and Founder/Owner, Pluto

Our Q&A with Telly Jury Council Member Dave Corbett

Creative Director, Entrepreneur and Founder/Owner, Pluto

Dave Corbett is a Creative Director, Entrepreneur and Founder/Owner of Pluto, A Creative Content Studio. Pluto is a full-service creative shop which creates content from traditional video production to Virtual Reality, and literally everything in between. For twenty years Dave has worked on massive projects for massive brands like Alfa Romeo, Audi, BMW, Buick, Chevy, Chrysler, Ford, Jeep, Maserati, Mercedes and Volvo… Or, as they are lovingly referred to, “The Autos.” Non-auto work crosses industries like Banking, Defense, Health Care, Health and Beauty, and Technology. These include Facebook, General Dynamics, H&R Block, Kotex, Lego, PNC Bank, Ski/Sea-doo, and Wilson.

Dave can be found at Pluto (hellopluto.com) everyday solving the world’s (marketing) problems. If your world has (marketing) problems, he can be reached at sales@hellopluto.com.

What video/ television piece inspired you recently?

Not many. As the industry becomes more and more commoditized, the work is following. I don’t remember ever seeing a drop in quality this far and this fast since I’ve been around. Having said that, there are some folks out there still making great content. I recently came across AnimVR (http://nvrmind.io/). It’s a VR app that allows you to create, edit and share animations in VR. It is a mind-blowing new way of creating. Products like this will absolutely become a new standard for creation at some point.

What is most exciting for you at the moment within your industry?

VR. Creatively VR has given me a shot in the arm. To be able to design everything around you in almost real time makes the design process feel very singular and personal. The potential of VR is what has me most excited. The possibilities in areas of learning, training and health are just massive and are giving the creative process a new and exciting purpose. What is one thing the Telly Awards community should know about you? I peaked early. My childhood was filled with accomplishments. I’ll divulge the top three… When I was eight I swam 72 laps of an olympic sized pool for charity. When I was 13 I pitched a no-hitter and became the league all-star pitcher. When I was in college I shot a hole in one. These big wins made it hard later in life to see the value in everyday things. It wasn’t until I was lucky enough to sit down with some very popular childhood celebrities where I was able to move forward and create a new outlook on life.

What is a piece of work you are most proud to have worked on?

Anything I got paid for. Kidding. I do feel like the philanthropic work I’ve done for charities and brands has really given the work a depth that pulls me back into why I got into this business. Over the years I have worked with kids, health causes, and humanitarian efforts. Working on pieces that move the needle and help an organization get to where they want to be faster is a great use of all of our talents.

Judge Spotlight

Max Yampolsky, Founder, Hammer + Nail

Our Q&A with Telly Jury Council Member Max Yampolsky

Founder, Hammer + Nail

Max Yampolsky founded design-centric production company Hammer + Nail and serves as its Creative Director, Producer, and Director. He started his career in the black boxes of NYC’s Off-Broadway theaters, and later moved to commercials, documentaries and narratives, shows, and digital media. Equal parts creative and analytical, his sweet spot is revitalizing brands and building useful, bespoke products with a social touch.

Max enjoys drawing with charcoal, writing screenplays, riding skateboards (he’s goofy), and volunteering for kids-related causes.

What video/television piece inspired you recently?

High Maintenance. I can’t think of a current show that’s more precisely in sync with its method of characterization—and it went from Vimeo to HBO in about three years. The main character isn’t The Guy, the likeable weed dealer the show follows, it’s New York City or the customers that share one bond. It’s through The Guy’s eyes that we view the intimate lives of people and how they cope with their surroundings, which many of us can relate to. The writing is as tight as you’ll ever see.

The stories are less about marijuana and more about the people that use, and their honest stories with concise, digestible plot lines. What struck me most was that we’re made to embrace the exact moment we’re experiencing on screen, rather than traditional character reveals. That’s original and human. I mean talk about amazing interactive content! 

What is most exciting for you at the moment within your industry?  

Films during Hollywood’s second Golden Era did that: Easy Rider, Midnight Cowboy and Taxi Driver etc. We’re now starting to see that energy and authenticity resurface.

Shows like High Maintenance and films like Good Time and First Reformed might not have been green-lit ten years ago, and are pushing the needle. In design, we are also going back to what worked well, taking its essence, and applying it to modern day, digital society. Look at UX/UI these days, and you’ll see many sites with hero images containing bold, beautiful photography and elegant, subtle typography over it. There’s less smoke and mirrors, and more the experience of a truthful moment. To me, that’s pretty cool.

What is one thing the Telly Awards community should know about you?  

Aside from Hammer + Nail, our design-focused production company, I live a double life as a screenwriter and am working on a feature film called The Freelancer. It’s about a graphic designer that suffers an existential crisis when she loses her imagination and tries to get it back while seeking meaning in the world. It’s a story of self-acceptance—you’ll have to see the film one day.

What is a piece of work you are most proud to have worked on?

Each piece of work we produce is a blessing. It’s gratifying when a client trusts you with their money, time, and reputation. However, I will say it’s a mini-doc titled Bridget’s Story. The piece is about a girl—profiled in the NY Times—who beat insurmountable odds after her father died of an overdose, her mother became addicted to crack, and she lived on the the streets in the South Bronx while losing many friends to gun violence. Eight years later, she attends college and works with the New York Yankees to help troubled youth attain employment.

I feel it’s a piece that withstands the test of time and inspires others to keep pushing towards what we all strive for: happiness.

Judge Spotlight

Tobey Lindback  VFX Supervisor, MPC NY

Our Q&A with Telly Jury Council Member Torbjorn “Tobey” Lindback

 VFX Supervisor, MPC NY

At MPC New York City, Tobey works as a VFX Supervisor at MPC New York. Tobey Lindback began his career as a 3D artist while attending school in Sweden, and soon after specialized in compositing after seven years as a 3D generalist. He has worked for renowned studios and on highly recognized projects across Sweden, the UK, and the US. His relationships with companies like Fido, Jellyfish Pictures, Nexus, and more Analog and The Mill, has allowed him to work with clients, from Nike, to Heineken, to Mercedes, and beyond. Having worked mostly on high profile TV commercials, Tobey is a proud member of The Visual Effects Society and British Academy of Film and Television Arts.

What piece of video/television has recently inspired you?

I recently watched Mindhunter, in which you embark on a journey to dark places you don’t get a glimpse of too often. I’m a sucker for biographies—books, films and documentaries, so I found this show quite captivating. Also, I recently watched a documentary called “Tickled,” and if you haven’t seen it, you should. It’s a story that gets more strange as you go, and has a surprise around every corner!

What is most exciting for you at the moment within your industry?

Keeping up with all things new in every area—at least in the Visual Effects industry—is a job on its own. However, it’s interesting to see where VR is heading. I believe we haven’t seen everything yet and there is so much in that world that has yet to be explored. When I was a young 3D artist, people talked about GPU rendering, saying “wait until that’s here.” It’s here now, and moving fast. There is so much brilliant work out there.

What is one thing the Telly Awards community should know about you?

I play drums in the coolest band in New York City: Sister Thieves. Also, I used to be able to do splits, but that’s all in the past!

What is a piece of work you are most proud to have worked on?

There are so many that are unique in their own way. I’ve been a part of many award winning and nominated projects over the course of my career, from The Telly Awards, VES, Ciclope, AEAF and more, and I naturally feel proud of those. However, I’m quite proud of the cinematic trailer we did here at MPC New York last year for the game “Shadow of War,” which consisted of 120+ shots that we completed for a long, multi-platform epic piece. The game is a success and so was our work and I’m proud of everyone involved on that job.

Judge Spotlight

Lee Simpson, Head of TV & Entertainment, ustwo

Our Q&A with Telly Jury Council Member Lee Simpson

Head of TV & Entertainment, ustwo

Currently based in LA, Lee Simpson is ustwo’s Head of TV and Entertainment where he currently oversees the strategic direction and delivery of ustwo’s work in the TV and entertainment industry. Developing partnerships with companies such as Comcast, Warner Bros., NBCUniversal and Netflix, he leads a dedicated team focused on exploring innovative products and experiences that help solve the complex challenges in the media and video content space.

What video/television piece inspired you recently? 
I’m constantly inspired by the work that Netflix are doing. They’ve built a platform that is giving creative freedom and exposure to creators in a way thats never been done at this scale before. The fact that they’re taking a risk with shows like Master of None and Disjointed is driving the whole industry forward.
Netflix are also doing some interesting things on the interactive content front. They’ve been experimenting with choose-your-own-adventure kids shows like Buddy Thunderstruck and Puss In Boots which are both amazing. I love that they’ve taken a relatively simple mechanic and applied it to linear content in a way that completely changes how you engage with the show. It would have been awesome to have shows like this when I was a kid.
What is most exciting for you at the moment within your industry?
I like that people are finally taking risks. Aside from a few mavericks here and there, the TV and entertainment industry has gone on relatively untouched for 60+ years. Now creators and media organizations are realizing the full potential of technology, and leveraging it to reach new audiences and tell better stories.
And part of taking risks is that not everything will work. A lot of this is about experimenting with new technologies and formats, and there will be failures but at the end of the day, thats OK. The main thing is that people are trying new things, and fresh ideas are starting to rise to the surface — the face of the TV landscape is changing for the better.
What is one thing the Telly Awards community should know about you? 
In a previous life I was an art galley manager specializing in street art and graffiti. I spent almost three years managing artists and curating shows in my home town of Newcastle (UK) which has a pretty solid graffiti scene.
What is a piece of work you are most proud to have worked on?
I spent a year at The Guardian newspaper working on editorial workflow tools and content management systems for journalists, basically enabling more efficient reporting, both online and offline. It was during their coverage of the NSA’s and GCHQ’s worldwide electronic surveillance program and the same year we won a Pulitzer Prize. It felt like we were working for an important cause.
I’m also proud of the work that I’ve done at ustwo. They’ve given me the freedom to build up our media and entertainment practice and supported me when I wanted to bring that from New York to LA. I’ve had the chance to work with some awesome clients over the past 4 years and I’ve learned a lot — it’s a pretty special place to work.

Judge Spotlight

Christian Caldwell, Chief Creative Officer, McCann Worldgroup

Our Q&A with Telly Jury Council Member Christian Caldwell

VP Chief Creative Officer, McCann Worldgroup, Lima

McCann Worldgroup, Lima’s Christian Caldwell began his career over 15 years ago, and in 2011 was appointed by the prestigious Ibero-American advertising magazine, ADLATINA, as one of the top 20 Ibero-American creative directors of the decade.

Both as a writer and creative director, Christian has been honored with more than 700 recognitions at top advertising festivals across Asia, Europe, and the Americas, including Cannes (where he won seven Lions), The D&AD Awards, The Clio Awards, The London International Awards, The ANDYs, The Webby Awards, FIAP, El Sol, El Ojo, New York Festival, The WAVE Awards, and The Effie Awards.

What is most exciting for you at the moment within your industry?

Every day, I’m motivated by working in an industry in which millions of people can view my work, and I can provoke a positive reaction in them. There is nothing better than creating an advertising idea that becomes a part of popular culture.

What is one thing the Telly Awards community should know about you?

I am passionate about this profession! Since I was nine years old, I knew I wanted to be in advertising when I grew up.

What is a piece of work you are most proud to have worked on?

It’s impossible to say which piece of work made me feel the most proud; it’s like choosing between your kids. Some work has given me creative awards or recognitions, while others that have never won a prize have become a part of pop culture. In the end, any idea presented to the client, approved, and released is something I’m proud of.