Featured Member: Sophia Kim
From Contributing Member: Elaine Spooner
WHAT DREW YOU TO THE ENTERTAINMENT
I've always been an avid fan of entertainment. While growing up in Chicago, I watched
tons of television and loved going to the movies. My philosophy has always been ‘love what you do’ and ‘work
at what you enjoy.” Therefore, I always
knew I would somehow be involved in media and entertainment as a career.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB IN
My first job in digital media was working as an AP on multimedia
titles for clients like McDonald’s.
Even before the Internet became mainstream, we produced on multiple
platforms. Now that’s become the
HOW DID YOU START OUT AS A PRODUCER?
I was fortunate and got a little lucky when I was asked to join a
local production team as an AP in Chicago where I happened to be based at the
time. It turned out to be part of
a broader multimedia project which started my career in digital media.
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE
VOLUNTEER/COMMITTEE WORK YOU DO FOR THE GUILD?
Over the years, I’ve become more
involved in the PGA and now I’m currently on the board of PGA’s New Media
Council, Vice-Chair of PGA Northwest and Chair of NW’s Screening
Committee. We’re a small but
growing group of producers in Northwest.
In the Bay Area in particular, we have a lot of great talent in new
media especially broadband, mobile and gaming. It’s a very diverse group.
WHAT PROJECTS ARE YOU
WORKING ON NOW?
currently CEO of Xtranormal (www.xtranormal.com), a digital storytelling
company, that allows anyone to create a 3D movie in a few minutes. With Xtranormal, you can pick a set,
pick actors, type a story and instantly create a 3D animated movie. You can use voiceovers to customize
your story or use our text to speech technology to automate the voices. Over 10
million stories have already been created using Xtranormal by amateurs and
professionals including Universal, MTV, The New York Times and Microsoft. It’s
exciting to be part of a
revolution in which people are using technology to create, watch and share
their stories across platforms.
also involved with ‘The Secret Society of Women’ which I started with TV
journalist Lisa Ling. It’s an
anonymous social media community for women that’s free to join and
participate. We’re currently in a
development deal with a major cable network to explore turning the site into a
TV show. It’s a great integration
of traditional and new media.
WHAT HAVE BEEN YOUR MOST
INTERESTING PROJECTS, AND WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THEM?
digital media projects are challenging but for different reasons. I learned
early on that creating content online was totally different from traditional
film and television. The audiences
are also often different and how they consume and interact with content is different
online. When it comes to digital
content creation, there is a small set of people who create, but a large number
of participants who watch. These
‘voyeurs’ encourage the creation of other content and help make content
viral. The challenge is to figure
out how to get more people to create and watch and ultimately come back and
participate again.” The key is to make it easy for people to create and
participate. We’re constantly
experimenting with different formats, innovative techniques and dynamic
participation methods to see what works and what doesn’t.
also worked on some memorable non-digital projects. Early in my career, we had to film a summer car drive
through scene in the middle of winter in Chicago. We wanted to get the scene shot quickly and under budget so
opted not to have it shot in another city (warmer weather) thinking it would
save on time and budget. It turned
out to be one of the coldest winters in Chicago history so every time an actor
said a line, the cold air would create a frost effect not to mention we could
hear the actors teeth chattering in every take. We ended up having to set up a tent around the entire drive
thru and bring in portable heating lamps, extra lighting and heating pads for
the cast & crew. What did I
learn? It would have cost us less
to fly the entire team to LA and warmer weather than try to create a fake
summer in the middle of a Chicago winter.
Always have a backup plan and never anticipate things will go
smoothly. Something unexpected
will always happen.