FEATURING: Robert Casey

What do the words "Creative Community" bring to mind for you? How do you feel is the best way to utilize members in a Creative Community?

I think there's an assumption that anyone in a creative industry intends for their career to take them to a larger market, and Boston's proximity to New York draws inevitable comparisons and some version of the question "why didn't you ever try working in NY?" One of the biggest reasons I've always been happy to make my career in Boston has been the strong sense of community here that doesn't really exist in the same way in bigger markets. As a secondary market, our community is largely comprised of either people starting out and building a foundation to take a shot in a larger market, or people who have done that whole circuit and deliberately decided to make their life here. Consequently, you don't find the cattiness and cutthroat tactics prevalent other places; here, people are genuinely excited and grateful for each opportunity to show up for the day and do what they love. The members of our community are each others greatest cheerleaders, regularly recommending each other for jobs, boasting about each other's success, posting each other's work. I could not be more proud to be a member of such a kind and supportive community, and it's one of the greatest factors that makes me love my job.

How did you discover your creativity?

I'm in the unique position of being someone deeply entrenched in a creative industry and community, but who is not at all creative. As an agent, it's my job to recognize and cultivate talent, and it's a skill that needs to be malleable. A good agent is not one with strong opinion; in fact our job is to suppress all personal opinion so that we can clearly interpret others opinions, internalize feedback and pay attention to market forces. There are models who work now who we never would have considered meeting five years ago because of shifts in client base, we now fill portfolios with photos that would have previously been considered unusable because of shifts in photography styles. Interpreting and predicting client needs and adapting is kind is my skill, one necessary to the creative industries, but not under the umbrella of what is traditionally considered one of the creative disciplines.

What was your first “Big Break” in your profession?

I went to Boston University's College of Communications and there was a big focus on career preparation and supplementing school with internships. I had already done two internships by the end of my sophomore year and was looking for a third for the summer before junior year. I was a public relations major and thought I wanted to work somewhere in entertainment but wasn't sure exactly where. I wasn't specifically into fashion per se, but talent management interested me and there weren't any stand alone talent agencies in Boston so I figured I'd try a modeling agency and would at least get an idea of how talent management worked. And, to be candid, the idea of hanging out with models and getting invited to cool parties seemed like a fun way to spend the summer. I had read and heard about Maggie and she sounded like a strong woman I could learn a lot from so I wrote her a letter asking to hang out in her office and work for her for free for the summer, and the rest is history. She started paying me by the end of the summer and I stayed part time through the school year. By my senior year, I came on as a full time employee and took all of my classes at night to finish my degree. And seven years ago, I purchased the agency from Maggie when it became time for her to retire. This is the only job I've had in my adult life and next May will mark 20 years in the industry for me.

What's in your backpack/handbag/tote right now?

I spent a semester of school in London where it was raining every morning and incredibly sunny every afternoon so I became trained to carry both an umbrella and sunglasses on me at all times which I still do to this day. And a physical planner: I use my phone for contacts and calendar like everyone else, but I like to mesh technology with tradition; there's a charm to some things now considered old fashioned and I love having my beat up planner on me to scribble down notes and ideas

Top 3 Tips you would give someone starting out in your creative profession:

Respect and learn from those who came before you. Too often, I see young hotshots enter the business looking to shake things up by proposing to do away with the old guard and implement a new way altogether. It's a poor way to ingratiate yourself to a community you'll inevitably need to engage with and it's foolish not to learn from those who have already done it. We need to constantly adapt and change, and new ideas are welcome, but these industries have existed and thrived long before your arrival, the more practical approach is to look at how to improve upon and evolve pre existing structures, not reinvent the wheel.

On the same note, pay your dues. Do anything you can that puts you in the room with those currently doing what you want to do: assist, network, seek out mentors. I find that the ones who try to strike out on their own go through a lot more trial and error and often don't have staying power compared to those who utilize the community to really learn the industry from the inside, and work their way up through the ranks.

And be mindful of work/life balance. This can be an all consuming business, it operates 24/7 and, while I cherish my relationships in the community, it can become very easy to surround yourself with only industry people. Your skills and mindset can become very stale if your life is only comprised of work, looking at work, thinking about work, talking about work, socializing with people from work.... it's important to engage with outside experiences and contacts to recharge and to bring new perspectives to your work. I say this as a work in progress myself, it's a constant, but necessary, battle.

What is your MOTTO in life?

No booking left behind: our industry is fast paced, works on impossibly short lead times and we're constantly putting out fires. But we are a service industry and pride ourselves on giving each client and job the same amount of attention and importance. When things build up to a state of chaos, it's very easy for a booking to slip through the cracks and the one thing above all else that I won't tolerate. I can accept when we don't book something because the client went with someone else, but I won't sleep at night if we lose a booking because we were otherwise too occupied to properly attend to it.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

I Uber everywhere and haven't taken the T in over a decade. I grew up in Revere and went to high school in the city, I did the commute every day to the very last stop, Wonderland, and repeated the commute for two years when I moved home after college. I did my time on the T and vowed that once I moved in the city I'd never take the T again.

What do your parents think you do?
Go to fashion shows. Everyone always thinks I go to tons of fashion shows; I could count on my hands how many fashion shows I've ever gone to in my 20 years in the industry, I'm usually at the agency when shows happen, waiting for the call if something goes wrong.

What would be your Networking Do's & Dont's?

Seek out the oldest person in the room, they've seen the most and have the best stories.



Full Name:
Robert Casey

Profession: Agency Owner

Industry: Modeling and Talent Management

Website: maggieagency.com

Facebook: Maggie Agency

Instagram: @maggieagency


FEATURING: Duffy Higgins

What do the words "Creative Community" bring to mind for you? How do you feel is the best way to utilize members in a Creative Community?

It means being in and amongst your contemporaries, your peers, your like-minded friends for positive growth. Especially in production, where we all know that our creativity is a sum of all its parts, a creative community is healthy, purposeful, and essentially necessary.

 

How did you discover your creativity?

I was lucky enough to be raised by my mother who encouraged me to be anything I wanted. When I was young, I wrote stories and drew a lot, and I was always bugging my mom to take me to the movies....but it really wasn't until college that I figured it all out. A older classmate and good friend there at school was knee-deep into film/video production and the more I hung out around him, helping him with his projects/productions, the brighter that light bulb got until one day it just popped.

 

Top Tips you would give someone starting out in your creative profession:

To never let up on producing your personal work, and to always do so with no outside expectations.

 

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

Making ice cream sandwiches and watching late late night movies when I should probably be sleeping.


Full Name: Duffy Higgins

Profession: Filmmaker - Director/Cinematographer/Photographer/Producer

Industry: Production

Website: www.DuffyHiggins.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/duffy.higgins

Instagram: DuffyA76

Twitter: DuffyA76

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/duffy-higgins-5b52312/

FEATURING: 72artproduction

What are you working on these days?

We work on lots of brands at 72andSunny, everything from Coors, Starbucks, Truth, Target, Google, to Call of Duty (Activision). We help on all aspects of production, starting with creative development and artist selection, to campaign execution, which is either shoot production, or working with illustrators. Outside of 72, we like to stay connected to the art community of Los Angeles, which is really having a seriously rad moment right now. There are a lot of good things to see out there!!!

 

Top 3 Tips you would give someone starting out in your creative profession:

1.    Work on developing your creative vision. We want to hire people to do what they excel in their personal work into their professional work, so if your point of view is focused this should be seamless.

2.    Don't stop making. Its great if you have something you are known for, but after a year (or even a few months), we need to see new work!! Blame the Internet, but it's true!

3.    This might be hard to hear, you don't know everything. Always keep learning. People are a resource, and take what you can from those willing to teach you!

 

Who are you following right now on Instagram for inspiration and why?

Of course we love 72artproduction!!! We love art so much, and Instagram has been such an amazing outlet for us to share what inspires us with other like minded art nerds. Here are some of our favorite accounts to get lost in: 

1. Visual Melt

2. Street Art News 

3. Fruit Stickers

4. The Women Who Draw 

5. The Family Acid

6. X-Rated Collection 

7. Foam Magazine 

8. Puss Puss Mag 

9. Goodtype 

10. Pam Loves Ferrari Boys 

 

  

What do your parents think you do?

Ha, no one's parents know what they do! They know we make ads, and that is enough.

 

What would be your Networking Do's & Dont's?

Be yourself. Don't sell things you don't believe in. It might seem obvious, but don't harass people! Be chill, believe in what you are doing and the right people will respond to it.


Full Name: Veronica Reo & Diana Pam

Profession: Senior Art Producers

Industry: Advertising

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/72artproduction/

Blog: http://artblog.72andsunny.com/

FEATURING: Alex Hankoff

 

What do the words "Creative Community" bring to mind for you? How do you feel is the best way to utilize members in a Creative Community?

I think it comes down to who you choose (or are lucky enough to) surround yourself with as an artist and thinker. That first ring - the innermost circle of any creative's community is always going to have the majority of influence, and that's why it's important to engage with people who help you grow and challenge you, but then I think it radiates outward to people you don't know but have an influence just the same, i.e. movie/commercial directors, artists, writers, musicians, etc.It dawned on me recently, at my first ever trip to SXSW earlier this year, that I was completely surrounded by my Creative Community, even though I was crashing SXSW on a whim and didn't really know anyone. We were all in this business, in one respect or another - together. Once I took ownership of that, I found myself comfortable and confident engaging with anyone and everyone because I knew we all shared for the most part - the same goals and aspirations. Once you've made those connections, the best way to utilize them is to understand what people work best for whatever you're working on at the moment. Not every project is right for everyone, so having a deep bench of peers and collaborators helps to hone in on who and what will work for whatever you're currently concentrating on.

 

What are you working on these days?

 I recently released the first episode of season two in my ongoing documentary web series, "NYChapters" (www.chapters.nyc) and we've started the edit on episode two so that should be released pretty soon. NYChapters has been a really rewarding personal project for me - it's nice to be able to create films that resonate with people in between commercial jobs and larger, more ambitious projects.I'm also writing my first feature film, "Street Legal" inspired in part by my short film "Yellow" which did well in it's festival run last year and led to people asking if there was a feature in the works, so this would be the answer to that demand.Lastly, I'm working on the book for a photography project I began in the summer of 2015 called "Transient Encounters" wherein I photographed folks across the US and Mexico over the course of a two month long solo cross country motorcycle trip. I've added to the series on follow up solo motorcycle trips since and am compiling stories and photographs for the book project from all the trips.

 

What was your first “Big Break” in your profession?

I was brought on as the cinematographer for a series of Dior Homme commercials with Willy Vanderperre shooting the stills. Those films got my foot in the door shooting for luxury brands at a pretty early stage in my career. Having that on the reel helped create opportunities I took advantage of and had certain creative directors take a kid fresh out of film school, a bit more seriously.

 

Top 3 Tips you would give someone starting out in your creative profession:

ALWAYS Listen - keep your ears open on set at all times. You can anticipate a hell of a lot on a shoot if you stay alert to what people are talking about. It's the little conversations between the creatives, director, cinematographers and producers that should cue you in to what's coming. Armed with that knowledge, you can anticipate what's next and be in the right place when it's time, with whatever gear or materials your particular job is in charge of. When you're there and ready without being told or having your hand held THAT's what separates the proactive people on a set from the rest, and those are the people who I bring up through the ranks.

ALWAYS follow up - this is a simple one. You should always send a brief email to whoever your superior was on the job to thank them for the gig and hope to work with them again. This rule applies throughout any role in production, and I find it a great way to stay on the radar of the folks you work with. On the flip side, I always email my crew after a job thanking them for coming out and being a part of the project. It's a two way street, everyone likes to have their work and efforts recognized - it doesn't stop when you're the director.

ALWAYS work on your craft - it's easy to become complacent once bigger jobs come in and things aren't quite as hard as they were when you first started. This is when a lot of people fall into a comfort zone, shooting what they've always done and are good at, and stop pushing themselves. It's a TRAP. Don't be one of those people. You should always strive for more - whether that means creating a new outlet for yourself in between jobs (like my documentary series does for me), or writing a short film or feature, taking a trip somewhere you've never been for inspiration, etc. Don't stagnate just because the paychecks are coming in now.

 

What is your MOTTO in life?

Eyes on the horizon.

 

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

I love terrible movies and I just discovered "The Room" (I know, I'm late to the party on this one). If you haven't seen it, check it out - it's crazy.

 

What would be your Networking Do's & Dont's?

Do meet as many people as you can, and keep the conversations brief but effective. You want to make an impression but not overwhelm people with all your wonderful work and achievements, that gets boring quick.Don't be an asshole. Treat everyone with respect, people remember if you were a dick to them on set and that will come back to bite you ten fold. I've seen people with awful attitudes treat PAs and others on set poorly, and a couple years later, were begging them for a meeting...


Full Name: Alexander Hankoff

Profession: Writer, Director, Cinematographer

Industry: Commercial & Film

Website: www.alexanderhankoff.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alexander.hankoff

Instagram: @hashtaghankoff

Twitter: @a_hankoff

 

FEATURING: Austin Huck

What do the words "Creative Community" bring to mind for you? How do you feel is the best way to utilize members in a Creative Community?

I named my studio HIVE.STUDIO because often creating a photograph is like a busy hive, everyone working together. The "V" in the logo is broken into parts because we believe that as a collective mind we are greater. Everyone we work with brings their own beauty and uniqueness which we add to our own to create something new.

 

How did you discover your creativity?

I look at my own work a lot and try to break down what I like and why. I also look to non-photo/video things with the same question.

 

What are you working on these days?

I'm working on balancing my very purposeful sets and posing while also allowing some chaos in to create something that I might not have seen otherwise.

 

What was your first “Big Break” in your profession?

I can trace most of my success back to an email to a friend in 2008. We knew each other through a casual Ultimate Frisbee league, and he gave me my first job as a retoucher for a big retailer. A lot of my professional network was built there.

 

What's in your backpack/handbag/tote right now?

No bags, travel as light as possible, cause otherwise I'll lose something.

 

Top 3 Tips you would give someone starting out in your creative profession: 

Photograph everyday, look at those photos and think about them, show them to other people (in person) and ask them what they think. Rinse and repeat.

 

Who are you following right now on Instagram for inspiration and why?

I find if I look at Instagram too much I develop some real FOMO. Someone told me if you're looking left and right you don't see whats in front of you. I'm not always great at that but I try. Usually I find inspiration from my early influences like Paul Strand, Dorothea Lange, Irving Penn, and more recently Peter Lindbergh. I think they found that balance between a very purposeful photo but not feeling staged, forced, or disingenuous.

 

What is your MOTTO in life?

No work before coffee.

 

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

Red Bull, so much Red Bull.

 

If you were on an island and could only bring three things, what would you bring? 

Pocket knife, gaffers tape, and friends.

 

What do your parents think you do?

They bounce back and forth between thinking I'm a really big deal and questioning how I'm able to stay in business.

What would be your Networking Do's & Dont’s.?

This is what I try to remind myself before networking events: talk about yourself but don't ramble. Meet people, ask questions, and listen. Always bring a business card, it's better to be late than to arrive without a card. Meet at least 3 people that you've never met.


Full Name: Austin Huck

Profession: Photographer / Director

Industry: Fashion and Lifestyle Photography

Website: www.hive.studio

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hivestudioboston/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hive.studio/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Hive_Twits

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/austinhuckphotography/

Blog: http://www.hive.studio/blog/

FEATURING: ANNIKA HOWE

How did you discover your creativity?:

Through reading, dance & traveling alone starting at a very young age.

1. I began flying alone between Europe & the States at age 4 or 5 & I credit that independent solo travel time for the very rich inner life I had as a child.
2. Feeling free and expressing myself through dance and music. I did everything from classical ballet, to baton, and my big love, tap - basically percussion with your body!
3. Exploring other worlds and realities through reading.

All three have become healthy habits in my adult life.

What are you working on these days?:

Intelligent International Photo Production through my company, HoweHaus. I'm lucky to work a ton internationally on ad campaigns, but we also do editorials, annual reports & direct brand activation projects. It's so fun! Then there's handling the art-buying to find the right creative talent/photographer/director for a project, and working with photographers who may not have representation, but need someone to help them with negotiations, targeting clients or the production process.

2. My passion project is www.theproducer.com - This is an online platform for all of us behind the scenes of the photo industry. We interview key crew members or vendors, write about industry issues, host real world events & provide a community to our industry.

How about a recent challenge or accomplishment?

I've been fortunate to work on a number of helicopter shoots, but this past year might have taken the cake!
This past spring, I produced a top-secret photo & video shoot requiring helicopter & drone permissions across major European cities. With super-strict fly-over restrictions and drone regulations changing by the minute, it was very challenging, but an ultimately exhilarating mission! For weeks on end, it was just the three of us - producer, photographer & director - travelling as a tight team across Europe, stealthily creating captivating imagery and staying ahead of any changing regulations.

What's in your backpack/handbag/tote right now?:

Lots of different zip pouches containing:
a notebook & fountain pen
my passports
a refillable water bottle
a wallet with production credit cards & itemized receipts
various international chargers & a power bank
snacks
*I honestly have a Mary Poppins bag- you never know what I might pull out of it!

Top 3 Tips you would give someone starting out in your creative profession:

1. The Golden Rule! Treat others as you would like to be treated. People remember how you make them feel.
2. Don't take anything personally. Have pride in your work, but no ego. This can be tough when you're running your own biz.
3. Things always have a way of working out. (I'm a discerning optimist, and my creativity comes in the form of resourcefulness.)

Who are you following right now on Instagram for inspiration and why?:

@usaforunhcr - The UN Refugee Agency - To keep perspective.
@GirlGaze - Amanda DeCadenet / Girl Gaze
@tinyatlasquarterly - a visual vacation, run by a female photographer and SF-resident, Emily Nathan
@zeitmagazin - my dose of German culture
@foammagazine - one of my all-time favorite photo destinations located in Amsterdam
@theonion - for levity, but also smart witticism & political satire

What is your MOTTO in life?:

I don't often think in terms of one concrete motto, but See top 3 tips, which are basically my way of operating in life!

What is your guiltiest pleasure?:

I think I'm past feeling guilty about these things, even if they are a bit dorky.
I take hip-hop choreography classes and may or may not know the choreo to most Beyonce videos.
Also traveling with my tango shoes. It's surprising how wide-spread tango is - I've even found a tango scene in Ubud, Bali. Dancing is the easiest way for me to turn off my brain and be completely present.

If you were on an island and could only bring three things, what would you bring?:

My siblings. I have 3 younger siblings who are endlessly loving, entertaining & inspiring.

Ok, if we're talking about inanimate objects:
Music in some form.
A notebook & pen.
SPF 100 - I am northern German and not meant for the sun!

What do your parents think you do?:

My dad thinks I put out the snacks during a shoot.
My mom just thinks I work way too much!
(For the record, both are correct)

What would be your Networking Do's & Dont's.:

Make sincere connections & have a conversation rather than randomly handing out business cards.
Ask how you can be of help to those you meet, rather than the other way around.


Full Name: Annika Howe

Profession: Producer/ Owner HoweHaus & Founder of www.theproducer.com

Industry: Photography Production

Website: www.howehaus.com www.theproducer.com

Facebook: annikahowe & theproducer.com

Instagram: @theproducerdotcom

Twitter: TheProducerCom

LinkedIn: annikahowe

Blog: www.theproducer.com

 

FEATURING: Alex Gagne

What do the words "Creative Community" bring to mind for you? How do you feel is the best way to utilize members in a Creative Community?

I would say the creative community is a group of people that enjoy what they do and are willing to help others. Being that everyone is busy with their day-to-day lives, it's always a treat when you get to talk with other creatives about what they are working on and to share advice. I try to stay in touch with as many photographers as I can.

 

How did you discover your creativity?

I started taking pictures of my friends skateboarding when I was 13. For the first seven years, all I cared about was photographing skateboarding until I went on to RIT to study photography. Studying photography opened my eyes to commercial, fine art , and editorial photographers. Going to RIT really opened my eyes to the commercial photography world and gave me something to strive for.

 

What are you working on these days?

Lately I've been shooting with Digitas LBi for American Express as well as work for Liberty Mutual, The Wall Street Journal,and Yankee Magazine. Beyond my commercial work, I have been shooting a personal project on the Rough N Rowdy boxing league, which is owned by Barstool Sports. I also started a photography podcast called "The Photo Banter" where I interview different photographers and photo industry professionals. You can check it out on iTunes and Soundcloud. https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-photo-banter/id1315846850?mt=2

 

What was your first “Big Break” in your profession?

My first big break was getting my assisting job with photographer Tibor Nemeth. He taught me so much about how the business works and how to treat your clients.

 

What's in your backpack/handbag/tote right now?

Laptop, deodorant, Kit Kat, and a 2 terabyte hard drive.

 

Top 3 Tips you would give someone starting out in your creative profession: 

Patience, persistence, and be open to any opportunities that present themselves to you.

 

Who are you following right now on Instagram for inspiration and why?

Jamie Bissonette for all the tasty eats, Frank Ockenfels because he's constantly shooting fun photography, and Barstool Sports because they're funny!

 

What is your MOTTO in life?

Drink a lot of water

 

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

The Cheesecake Factory.

 

If you were on an island and could only bring three things, what would you bring?

Canon 5D Mark 4, Macbook, and Cheez-its.

 

What do your parents think you do?

Take pictures of people.

 

What would be your Networking Do's & Dont's.:

Just be yourself and don't go to networking events expecting something from someone. Just go and talk to people and have fun. If you have good work it will sell itself.


FEATURING: Laura Crosta

What do the words "Creative Community" bring to mind for you? How do you feel is the best way to utilize members in a Creative Community?

Sharing of resources. I have recently found Sharegrid.com and find it to be such an amazing resource for rental gear and crew. I am so much happier giving my rental funds to a DP or camera assistant. that I could eventual collaborate with on a job.

 

How did you discover your creativity?

In 5th grade, I started taking art classes. I learned how to draw, paint, work with clay. While everyone else was doing sports, I was drawing and painting. I ended up getting accepted to a final art program at Syracuse and added photography after my first semester.

 

What are you working on these days?

Videos Videos Videos

 

What was your first “Big Break” in your profession?

I would say shooting Michael Jordan. After that job I found my first agent.

 

What's in your backpack/handbag/tote right now?

I have so many but my goto are my Thinktank bags. They have traveled the world with me.

 

What is your MOTTO in life?: 

Glass half full.

 

What do your parents think you do?

My dad is an amateur photographer and just loves that I have made my art my career.

 

What would be your Networking Do's & Dont's?

Ask questions, Be curious about who you are talking with - not in a creepy way as if you read too much of their Facebook page but on a personal level.


Full Name: Laura Crosta

Profession: Photographer & Director

Industry: Advertising

Website: www.lauracrosta.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lauracrosta/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lauracrosta/