10 Minutes With James, Senior Creative At Verb
By Thopon Chowdhury (@ThoponChowdhury)
What do you enjoy about being a Senior Creative?
“I love the creative industry. I love everything about it, the subjective nature of the content that is produced, the varied styles, the way that it always seems to be progressing in a different direction all the time, surprising even the most experienced in the industry. In terms of being a Senior Creative at Verb, i’d say my favourite aspects are the responsibility and the freedom. Being a Senior Creative at VERB allows me to have a very hands on, influential role within the team. Being able to liaise with the client and get a better understanding of what they want directly, rather than being fed information through the client services teams, greatly improves my ability to produce work that is more catered to the client’s needs. Building the team up and directing them where needed is a great experience for me too as, before becoming a designer, I was contemplating going into teaching.”
What inspired you to take the path of digital creativity?
“At University I studied Visual Communications as a whole. The Birmingham Institute of Art and Design (at BCU Gosta Green) had great connections and was well known for developing really good creative talent. I initially had the view of doing graphic design as a career, I was always interested in the creative sector and wanted to push in that direction.
The catalyst for taking the Digital path was a talk that was given whilst in my second year by Benedict Winter, who funnily enough ended up being my first employer out of University. He introduced to us a whole world of interactivity and rich content that I hadn’t seen before, Augmented Reality as a technology was on the fringe of the big brands at that point and that, along with the sheer scale of digital as a whole and the depth of interaction, was what really inspired me to look further into digital and explore that space. I found that the more I explored the more i discovered and the more I liked. It was definitely a great path for me to walk down.”
How has your time been so far at Verb?
“Verb Brands so far has been fantastic. I love the responsibility of driving the team and developing the creative from the ground up. The people are great, there’s a real sense of family in the team and we all get on in and outside of the work place. Being a part of some of the biggest agencies in the world in the past in Sapient Nitro, Jack Morton and Karmarama, the contrast of those agencies for a smaller, more personal agency is a great experience and i’m loving every minute of it.”
What’s the most difficult part of your job?
“I’d say the most difficult part of my job, as always, is trying to find that fine balance between the clients’ needs and the clients’ wants. Some clients are much more open to being directed on what they should do, whilst others tend to be more set in what they want and it’s very difficult to convince them otherwise. At Verb Brands, we don’t like to create something that we aren’t completely happy with. We are perfectionists, incredibly meticulous individuals and we like to try and push the creative and push what the client wants to create something that the client needs and will work best for them.
…But as always, you can’t win them all.”
Where do you see yourself in 2 years time?
“Now that’s a question! Well i’d like to think that in 2 years time I will still be here at Verb and very much the driving force of a larger creative team. Integrating that with an adept and agile development team, i’d like to think that there will be a very integrated system within the two teams and that we are working in a cohesive unit.”
“Id also hopefully like to be living a little closer to work, as currently I live in Wimbledon, and a 1 hour 20 commute is quite a lot out of my days!”
Has Verb changed your aspect on digital creativity, if so how?
“I don’t think it’s changed my aspect on digital creativity no, what it has done is changed my opinion on some aspects of the industry. Personally, I like to be as involved in projects as I can be, creating concepts from the ground up and developing them into fully fledged designs and working closely with the development team to make those ideas come to life. Unfortunately in the past, the agencies were just too big for me to do this. Coming out of university, full of vigour and passion, that was slowly sapped and drained by working in agencies that were very big and I had my very small bit parts.”
“Yes, we all need to start somewhere and generally working from the bottom up, but I am a very ambitious individual and due to this, I have jumped around a little over the last 4 years, but I am happy to have found Verb and I am very excited by the work we are producing and my role in that.”
Whats your favourite PS4 Game?
“Well in terms of it’s short life span, i’d say it’s got to be The Last of Us: Remastered (yes it was on ps3, so a bit of a cop out). It’s beautiful, gripping, deep and just an all round very solid game. However, for me, it pales in comparison to my favourite game of all time, Zelda Ocarina of Time on the Nintendo 64. I’ve lost count of how many times I have played through that game and it was a huge part of my childhood. I still have my N64, and I still like to play it every now and again, that of course along with Goldeneye and some FIFA.”
Tell us a fact, that Verb do not already know about you?
“Okay, i’m going to get a proper ribbing for this but it was going to come out sooner or later, I once auditioned for the X-Factor. I was young, naive and thought it would be a laugh. I sang Stand By Me by Ben E King and no i didn’t meet any of the judges. No I didn’t get on tele (there’s three rounds before that) and no i’m not going to give you a demo guys!
Karaoke is the only thing that will convince me to do that!”