Category Archives: Featured Articles

Victory in Salem


Landmark legislative session breathes new life into Oregon production industry.






It was a bumpy, exhausting, arduous ride—but for those in the Oregon production industry, it was well worth it.

On July 8—the final day of the 2013 legislative session—the House of Representatives passed House Bill 3367 to increase the state’s film incentive, known as the Oregon Production Investment Fund (OPIF), from $6 million a year to $10 million. This is $2 million less than what Governor John Kitzhaber, an ardent supporter of the bill, had been pushing for, but is still a major win for the local film industry.

The journey wasn’t smooth sailing for HB 3367, which was comprised of several expiring tax credits, including the film incentive, the earned income tax credit, and the Oregon Cultural Trust tax credit, among others.

Just six days prior to its passage, the bill appeared dead when Senate lawmakers failed to reach a “grand bargain” on increasing tax revenue and cutting pension costs, which would have helped fund the tax credits. But during a meeting of the Senate Finance and Revenue Committee a few days later, several local industry professionals spoke of the film incentive’s importance to the state, helping to change many committee members’ minds. The Senate amended the bill from $12 million to $10 million, and the bill was passed by a vote of 22 to 8. The following day, the last day of the legislative session, the House of Representatives concurred by a vote of 50 to 9.

Since its inception, OPIF has attracted many productions to the state, such as Grimm, Leverage, Portlandia and ParaNorman, among others, but a higher incentive cap means more—and bigger—productions, which equals more jobs.

And not only does the bill increase the annual cap of OPIF, but it expands the local filmmaker program (Indigenous Oregon Production Investment Fund, or iOPIF) to include “Media Production Service Companies,” such as post-production and video game development projects. It also lifts the threshold for out-of-state projects to $1 million of spend in Oregon. For iOPIF, the spending threshold will now be $75,000 on the low end, and up to the first $1 million of a project. The bill will become law on the 91st day following adjournment sine die (early October).

Two other bills passed during the session will also positively impact the local industry. HB 2505 directs money to the Oregon Business Development Department, including a program called the Oregon Innovation Council. The Oregon Innovation Council provides funding for several initiatives, such as the Oregon Story Board (OSB), which is designed to grow and incubate the state’s digital media industry. Funding for OSB should begin later in the fall.

Finally, the passage of SB 836 means that film, TV and theatrical professionals are no longer required to obtain a cosmetology license as it applies to working on productions.

Vince Porter, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Film and Television, called the legislative session “transformational.”

“This past legislative session will prove to be a very important one for Oregon’s film, TV and digital media industry,” said Porter. “Not only will we be able to attract more productions with the increase in the incentive, but we will also be able to further work with the local digital media industry through the creation of the Oregon Story Board. More jobs, more local infrastructure and hopefully more local entrepreneurial developments.”

For more information, visit

Washington State Senators and Representatives visit the set of Laggies on July 1. Lynn Shelton is pictured at right. (Courtesy of Washington Filmworks)

WF Incentive Films Wrap Principal Photography

Two Washington Filmworks production incentive projects wrapped principal photography this summer.

The first, 7 Minutes, wrapped in June after shooting in Everett, Washington. Written and directed by first-time feature filmmaker Jay Martin, the action-drama stars an exciting mix of up-and-coming talent such as Luke Mitchell (Neighbours), Leven Rambin (The Hunger Games), Zane Holtz (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) and Brandon Hardesty (Bucky Larson), as well as seasoned pros Kris Kristofferson (Blade), Kevin Gage (Heat) and Jason Ritter (Parenthood). The film was produced by Jacob Estes, Jacob Mosler, Jim Hart and Rick Rosenthal, in association with Whitewater Films. This production is the second feature film that Whitewater Films has brought to Washington State in the last two years.

7 Minutes tells the story of a once-promising college athlete, his drug-dealing brother and their ex-con friend who embark on an ill-fated heist. As each minute of their simple plan unfolds, the action spirals closer to a tragic conclusion.

“The production was based in Everett, where the combination of urban and rural settings within minutes of each other made for a very attractive production center and central location,” said producer Rosenthal. “Everett city officials were incredibly helpful. Their positive attitude and unbelievably proactive cooperation made the budget of our indie film go a long ways. With picturesque locations and solid film crews, the lure to shoot in the Pacific Northwest is strong, but it was the 30-percent incentive from Washington Filmworks that helped make an unbeatable case for filming in the state.”

Washington State Senators and Representatives visit the set of Laggies on July 1. Lynn Shelton is pictured at right. (Courtesy of Washington Filmworks)

Meanwhile, another WF incentive project, Laggies, wrapped after filming in the Puget Sound region throughout June and early July. Laggies is a feature film directed by Seattle-based Lynn Shelton (Touchy Feely, Your Sister’s Sister) and written by Andrea Seigel. The project stars Chloë Grace Moretz (Dark Shadows), Keira Knightley (Pirates of the Caribbean), and Sam Rockwell (Iron Man 2). Laggies is produced by Alix Madigan, Rosalie Swedlin and Steve Golin from Anonymous Content, and Myles Nestel from The Solution Entertainment Group. The film tells the story of a woman who dodges her long-term boyfriend’s marriage proposal by pretending to be at a weeklong seminar, but she is actually hanging out with high school girls. The woman must struggle to decide what will really make her happy while reliving the highlights of her high school days. This production is the first feature film, and third project, that Anonymous Content has brought to Washington State since 2009.

Laggies filmed key scenes in several Puget Sound region municipalities, including Seattle, Shoreline, Kenmore, Lynnwood, Mill Creek, Renton, Bellevue and Bothell. The bulk of production took place in Seattle and featured numerous locations and neighborhoods in the Emerald City.

“I have been delighted, in every respect, by the experience of shooting Laggies in the beautiful city of Seattle. Everything—from the application for funding assistance, the support of Washington Filmworks, through the actual shoot—was an effortless, joyous experience. I loved shooting in Seattle. The crew was simply outstanding in every aspect and the locations we secured were perfect,” said producer Madigan. “It was also wonderful to spend time in this great city, which has much to offer.”

7 Minutes and Laggies are two of 90 projects WF has approved through the standard funding assistance program. These productions represent an estimated $213-million economic impact statewide since the Washington Legislature created WF in 2007.

Change Agents: CMD Credits Ability to Stay Ahead of Rapid Change As Key to Success

A difficult economy. A rapidly changing industry. An ever-evolving business model.

For any agency, trying to survive the turmoil of the past few years has been challenging at best. Yet CMD, one of the leading marketing agencies on the West Coast, credits these factors as key to its success.

CMD recently reported one of its most successful quarters in the company’s 30-plus-year history, achieving record-setting revenue and profit since the beginning of 2013. In the past three months, the agency has added 10 new hires and promoted 6 employees. CMD continues to expand its regional presence, with offices in Seattle and in San Francisco. It has added top talent and new services, including a strategy and solutions group, responsive design capabilities and a metrics and analytics division.

Most importantly, CMD has broadened its client portfolio, netting a number of new accounts and clients. With roots working with some of the largest global technology brands and experience in the housing and manufacturing segments, the agency has used its knowledge to the benefit of new tech sector clients such as ASUS and leading consumer brands such as Expedia.

“Rather than resist change, we’ve embraced it,” said Phil Reilly, president of CMD. “Our successcan be credited to the fact that we’ve never been afraid to evolve our model to fit what clients need.”

Change Comes Second Nature

Phil Reilly

Change comes naturally to CMD, which was founded in the days when CD-ROMs were considered innovative, and at the time, the agency focused heavily on providing training services. As marketing strategies evolved and technology increased, CMD stayed on the forefront by working with clients considered leaders and innovators in their respective fields. The agency began incorporating new services, increasing its creative talent pool and shedding old ways of doing things. Constant evolution became part of its DNA.

Now with approximately 150 employees, Reilly says CMD is big enough to invest and build out services that have the most significant impact on clients’ marketing needs, but small enough to be nimble when it comes to instituting change rapidly. Today, the agency offers digital, advertising, design, social media, PR, paid media, film and video, events, promotion and content marketing, and metrics and analytics.

“We’ve always been a big believer in having more than one arrow in our quiver,” said Reilly. “We invest in and build out areas that we believe will have growth potential and the biggest impact on clients’ marketing strategies. It’s easy to get distracted in an industry that’s changing so rapidly, so we focus on how to deliver the most effective campaigns possible for the client’s investment.”

Increasing Competitiveness in a Tough Economy
CMD credits a tough economy for being a catalyst for change and helping the agency succeed. The agency moved from being heavily concentrated in the housing segment before the economic downturn to effectively broadening its client base and concentrating on technology and other leading business-to-business and consumer brands. Additionally, CMD saw early on that data and analytics would play an important part in how marketing expenditures would be budgeted for and determined moving forward.

“Every client looks for return on marketing investment and how it impacts the bottom line—and that becomes especially important in a down economy. That’s why we’ve focused on things like adding a strong analytics department, which put us way ahead of the competition and helps reassure clients that their dollars are working as hard as possible for them,” said Reilly.

According to Reilly, it’s that ability to maintain a competitive edge and focus on the company’s core values that has allowed the agency to grow and change the definition of what it means to be a “creative” agency.

“In the old definition, being a ‘creative agency’ meant producing creative ads,” said Reilly. “At CMD, we believe the true meaning of creative is the ability to understand and implement the right combination of effective solutions that motivates an audience to take action. It’s a balance of both art and science. And that’s the agency of the future that CMD is excited to help pioneer.”


Backing the Future


Washington Filmworks executive director Amy Lillard announces the funding recipients for the most recent cycle of the Filmworks Innovation Lab.

By Jessie Wilson
Programs & Communications Coordinator, Washington Filmworks

On June 8, Washington Filmworks publicly announced funding assistance recipients for the Innovation Cycle of the Filmworks Innovation Lab. The program, which is part of a long-term economic development strategy, is designed to invest in the future of film by tapping into Washington’s creative community and encouraging original storytelling that capitalizes on new forms of production and technology. The Board of Directors of Washington Filmworks may allocate up to $350,000 per year in funding assistance support to projects that apply to the Innovation Lab. Unlike the standard incentive program, the Lab is a competitive and juried process.

“The entertainment industry is shifting and adopting alternative distribution paradigms,” says Amy Lillard, Washington Filmworks Executive Director. “Washington State is uniquely positioned to capitalize on this digital revolution, and create revenue streams that integrate our in-state technology resources. Washington Filmworks is passionate about developing programs that empower our local storytellers to lead the innovation revolution. Using our creative capital and technology expertise, we can create a new economic development model for the world to follow.”

This cycle of the program was designed to challenge local filmmakers to create motion picture content that traverses multiple delivery platforms. Washington Filmworks was thrilled to receive a diverse pool of 25 quality applications to the program.

For this cycle of the Lab, Washington Filmworks worked with a jury of industry experts to evaluate projects and make funding assistance recommendations to the Board. The jury represented all facets of motion picture production, multiplatform storytelling, and emerging entertainment models. Serving on the jury were Kraig Baker, Jane Charles, Scott Macklin and Matt Vancil. The jury members share a deep understanding of the business of film.

Ultimately the jury chose finalists to pitch and made recommendations to the Board about the level of funding assistance for each project. The Board voted to allocate funds to five projects and decisions were based on the Lab’s selection criteria, as well as the merits of each project and its investment in Washington State. The Innovation Cycle of the Lab encourages these filmmakers to present new business and revenue models that leverage Washington’s film infrastructure in the digital era.

The filmmaking community joined Washington Filmworks at the 2013 Seattle International Film Festival to acknowledge the achievements of all Lab applicants and celebrate with the funding assistance recipients as the results were revealed. The following is a list of projects that received funding assistance and the key creatives who pitched each project:

The Maury Island Incident – Steve Edmiston (Writer/Producer) and Scott Schaefer (Director/Co-Producer)
Science-Trak (formerly referred to as Project Pluto) – Kevin Maude (Executive Producer) and Graeme Lowry (Producer)
Rocketmen – Alycia Delmore (Producer/Actor) and Webster Crowell (Writer/Director)
Salish Sea – Tracy Rector (Producer/Director) and Lou Karsen (Producer/Co-Director)
Emerald City – Lacey Leavitt (Writer/Director) and Eric Stalzer (Co-Writer)

Congratulations to all filmmakers who participated in the Lab and a special thank you to our remarkable jury for all their hard work and dedication to the evolution of motion picture storytelling in Washington State.


On the Record: Parks Creative Photography

Media Inc.’s interview series, in which we discuss the latest and greatest with a different Northwest company each issue, continues with Parks Creative Photography.

The Bellevue, Washington-based photographer has provided architectural and product photography to surrounding Eastside communities of Redmond, Kirkland, Issaquah, Renton, and Woodinville, as well as the Greater Seattle area, for nearly 30 years.

Here is Parks, on the record:

Tell us a little about yourself and how you got started as a photographer.
I took a series of college-level classes at Tillicum Junior High! We did color processing and printing as well as Ansel Adams Zone-System B&W as young teens. Then out of high school I assisted at DH&Y full-time, Seattle’s largest commercial studio in the early ‘80s. I completed a degree in Commercial Photography when they reopened Seattle Central’s program.

What do you like best about your job?
It’s exciting to help promote new inventions, products, and places into the market.

Tell us about a recent memorable project.
A national apartment developer wanted to incorporate people in their advertising; I suggested motion-blurs to de-emphasize the people, so their communities remained the focus. (Ed. note: Pictured here.)

Who or what inspires you, either personally or professionally?
All of Creation we are immersed in.

How important is it for you as a photographer to connect and engage with your surrounding community?
Very much so, thus I’ve always focused mainly on the Eastside business community.

What are some of your most gratifying professional accomplishments?
Anytime I can help my clients be a success.

If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?
My wife and I both grew up here and don’t plan to go anywhere; love raising our boys on the Eastside.

If a genie granted you 3 wishes, what would you wish for?
Well, for starters, we once had a 10th anniversary cruise planned, then found out we were due to have another baby right then, so I owe my wife that first.

Finding Your Photography Niche

By Daven Mathies Guest Columnist

A photographer is not just someone who knows how to use a camera, control light or frame a shot. Photography, like any artistic discipline, is all about vision. Sure, the technical side of exposure, lighting and composition are important to achieving your vision, but it is crucial to know which to put first. Becoming a strong photographer is all about finding your niche, which generally starts with asking yourself, “What do I want to shoot?”

At first, asking this question may seem too easy; it sounds like a no-brainer. But if your goal is to turn your passion into a profession, sticking with what you love may prove difficult. When you think about a professional photographer, who do you picture? I’m guessing that wedding photographer and commercial photographer are probably on most people’s lists. Since most people have been to a wedding or read a magazine, these two types of photography are perhaps the most publicly visible. This makes for a gross misunderstanding of what it means to be a professional photographer, however, and can be intimidating for someone seeking a photography career who doesn’t particularly enjoy the above types of photography.

The solution? Shoot what you want! If you enjoy taking photos of your kids, focus on that. Photographing what you love will keep you engaged and you will naturally be encouraged to improve your skills. Child portraiture is completely different from any other type of portrait photography, and if you take the time to develop the skills it requires, people will look to you as an expert in that field. The same goes for other types of photography: landscape, wildlife, street, etc. Whatever motivates you most to take out your camera, keep at it. Don’t try to be a wedding photographer just because you think it would be an easy way to make some quick cash (hint: it’s not). Even if you have an incredibly strange or unique photographic passion, and you can’t possibly see how to monetize that now, stick to it. Success is not guaranteed, but failure certainly is if you try to focus on anything but your passion.

Now, if you really love weddings, then wedding photography might be a great option for you. But your decision doesn’t end there. What type of wedding photographer do you want to be? Do you want to shoot exotic destination weddings or would you prefer to work solely within your local area? There are benefits to both, and both require a different type of specialization. What type of client do you want to serve? Personality is not to be underestimated in wedding photography; if you don’t “connect” with your clients, you will be asking for more hardship than you need. Make it known on your Web site, blog, Facebook page and business card what type of photographer you are and what kind of person you are. Don’t worry about limiting your exposure and reach; instead, think of this as making yourself more visible to the people you most want to reach. These are questions that apply to other types of photography, as well.

It may take time to figure out what you really want to do. Maybe that means shooting a wedding or a football game only to realize you hate it, and that’s fine. There is nothing wrong with experimenting and trying new things, but once you find your passion, stick to it. Develop it. Refine it. Maybe you’ll love weddings and football, and that’s fine, too—so long as you realize the extra work required to specialize in multiple areas. Plenty of established photographers take on a variety of jobs and excel at all of them, but do yourself a favor and start with what you know and enjoy most. Building a business around photography is an incredibly challenging undertaking, but it’s a challenge well worth it when you truly love what you are doing.

Daven Mathies is multimedia producer at Pro Photo Supply in Portland.

Beyond Customer Service

Grow your business by leveraging your entire organization to expand current accounts

By Lisa Magnuson Guest Columnist

Are all your customer-facing employees armed to sell? Are you attracting expansion business on a regular basis through your front-line people? Is your company thinking beyond customer service to win more business?

If you want to grow top line revenues and attract more customers, then everyone on your crew must get in the boat, grab an oar, and begin to row. Yes, we mean everyone—from the CEO to account managers to customer service to marketing and PR. If you’re a university, then we mean the folks in the admissions department, too. From stem to stern, it’s all hands on deck, and everyone is pulling for the team like they mean it.

Leading organizations, both in the private and public sectors, are seriously re-thinking their sales assets.  In short, they believe that if you engage or impress the customer in a meaningful way, you can make a difference. Combine this idea with another, such as it’s much easier to expand business with current customers than to land new ones. This synthesis means you have the opportunity and obligation to influence the customer’s perception of value and their willingness to invest additional dollars in your products and services.

The Struggle
However, many organizations struggle to make the transformation. Non-salespeople just don’t want to sell. For most, it’s not part of their calling, mission, or skill-set ‘profile’ in the business world. They don’t see themselves in a revenue-generating role, and may even carry a negative impression of selling. Let’s face it, in this extremely competitive, high-definition age, we almost have to be ‘born’ to sell, or at least be ‘wired’ for it these days. Besides, most departments are (or will surely claim to be) overworked with the task at hand; they don’t believe they have any additional bandwidth to take on more duties, let alone be interested in trying their hand at ‘sales,’ even if it’s only part-time.

Be in Front of Your Competition
There’s a fine line between asking everyone to be a salesperson and arming all customer-facing resources with the necessary focus, direction, knowledge and tools to help grow the company. Thriving organizations are rapidly making the transition from the traditional ‘sales as a single department model’ to ‘empowered employees’ who are informed, motivated, and enthusiastic enough to make a real (and permanent) difference to the top and bottom line. If you want to be out front, begin your transformation now or your competitors may cross that finish line first.

7 Easy Steps to Get Moving
1. Evaluate all your human touch-points. These are all the people in your organization who ‘touch’ the customer in some way. They can include delivery people, reception, field employees, customer care resources, and so on. Most companies have a virtual army of folks who touch or engage the customer, yet they remain an under-utilized resource without any ‘sales’ interaction, training, or relationship-building efforts.

2. Prioritize the non-sales group having the largest, most significant, or greatest long-term impact on your customer. (Don’t stop here but it’s a smart place to begin.)

3. Start to create or build awareness and expectations around just how important their role is in growing the company, and what it takes to sustain that growth. Point out the links between their job and all the possibilities that exist to positively influence the customer into expanding their business.

4. Invest in training, development, and ongoing support initiatives to move beyond a customer service/problem solving mentality into a pro-active, pro-‘public relations’ approach to build customer awareness, brand loyalty, and potential expansion.

5. Offer simple but effective tools and best practices such as talking points, sample questions, guides, real-world examples, and even focus groups to help them move beyond customer care to customer development.

6. Measure progress and highlight and reward accomplishments—both big and small—to ensure a positive, sustainable, company-wide attitude of achievement.

7. Expand to the next group until the entire organization is rallied around company growth goals, and your employees (along with the customers they touch) become a virtual army of well-informed, mission-ready, and market-savvy brand ambassadors.

Although this approach may seem simplistic or even impractical, it can be both powerful and transformational, and perhaps even downright game-changing to your competition. In this tech-hungry, ultra-connected, and data-driven marketplace, sometimes the difference between tapping into additional revenue (or not) is asking your customer just one simple question: ‘What else can we do for you, today?’

Lisa Magnuson, founder of Top Line Sales, LLC helps high potential sales people, business owners who sell and VPs of Sales win more sales. She works side by side with her clients to navigate through their most complex sales cycles and sales challenges with remarkable results. A recent accomplishment was helping one client secure 44m in contracts last year using her proven framework for landing large opportunities.


Geena Davis (Photo courtesy Getty Images via The Hollywood Reporter)

Oregon Lands TNT Pilot

Hot on the heels of Leverage’s series wrap, Oregon has landed yet another TNT project from director/producer Dean Devlin and his team at Electric Entertainment.

Geena Davis (Photo courtesy Getty Images via The Hollywood Reporter)

Set to begin filming in April, the as-yet-untitled pilot features Oscar-winning, Emmy-nominated actress Geena Davis (The Accidental Tourist, Commander in Chief) as an unconventio­­nal bail bondswoman and bounty hunter whose eccentric personality and unusual tactics give her an advantage in a tough and unpredictable business. The show is inspired by the real-life story of Mackenzie Green.

Other castmembers include Scott Bakula (TNT series Men of a Certain Age, Quantum Leap), as a detective who is also the ex-husband of Davis’ character, and Marsha Mason (The Goodbye Girl), as the strong and independent mother of Davis’ character.

The pilot script for TNT’s bounty hunter drama was written by Oregon native Scott Prendergast and Amy Berg, with Dean Devlin set to direct. Prendergast, Berg and Devlin serve as executive producers on the project, along with John Altschuler, Dave Krinsky, Tom Lassally and Michael Rotenberg. Davis serves as co-executive producer, while Devlin and Berg are the showrunners. The project comes to TNT from Electric Entertainment, Ternion Productions and 3 Arts.

“We’re thrilled to continue our relationship with TNT and Electric Entertainment,” said Vince Porter, executive director, Oregon Governor’s Office of Film and Television. “As the legislature is contemplating a possible expansion of our incentives, it’s nice to have a new project waiting in the wings.”

For more information on Oregon’s production industry, visit


Film Has a Leading Role

By Jessie Wilson, Programs and Communications Coordinator, Washington Filmworks

Washington State has long been a home for innovation and entrepreneurial business models. As Hollywood begins to explore alternative distribution paradigms, Washington State is perfectly positioned to lead the digital revolution.

To help facilitate the creative process, Washington Filmworks has launched the Innovation Cycle of the Filmworks Innovation Lab, a pilot funding assistance program designed to explore the intersection of technology and storytelling. By leveraging the diverse landscape of in-state technology resources and motion picture production infrastructure, Washington Filmworks is helping film take a leading role in developing a new creative economy for Washington State.

In order to better promote this kind of entrepreneurial spirit, the Washington Filmworks Board of Directors can allocate up to $350,000 in funding assistance, across two cycles per year. The inaugural Film Cycle of the Lab was created to nurture traditional forms of filmed entertainment, and recently committed $175,000 in funding assistance to five diverse projects from emerging Washington resident filmmakers. These projects go into production throughout 2013. The Innovation Cycle is underway now. It was created to support filmmakers using new forms of production that are specifically designed to incorporate and distribute motion picture content in inventive ways. The Board may allocate up to $175,00 for this cycle.

Distribution outlets are expanding. With new access points come new audiences and enhanced opportunities to share intellectual property, as well as to build potential revenue streams. The Innovation Cycle challenges creative entrepreneurs to produce motion picture content that traverses multiple delivery platforms. The process is juried and requires that applicants develop a thorough project plan that relays how their story will unfold across multiple delivery platforms and, more importantly, how the story is enhanced by being seen in different venues and environments.

The following briefly outlines the eligibility criteria for the Innovation Cycle:

  • Motion picture content may be narrative, documentary, animation, experimental, serial, episodic, or other type. Content may be feature-length or short.
  • Projects must spend $25,000-$499,999 on qualified in-state expenditures upon award of Filmworks Innovation Lab funding assistance.
  • At least 85 percent of the workforce for the physical production of motion picture content must be Washington residents.
  • Projects must use a majority of Washington residents in Key Creative positions.
  • Qualified projects must spend at least 95 percent of the motion picture content production budget in Washington State.

Washington Filmworks created this program in part to explore new ways that filmmakers and motion picture workers can contribute to the local creative economy and generate more opportunities to keep film industry professionals working.

“Washington State is uniquely positioned to capitalize on this digital revolution, and create revenue streams that integrate our in-state technology resources,” says Amy Lillard, Washington Filmworks executive director. “Washington Filmworks is passionate about developing programs that empower our local storytellers to lead the innovation revolution. Using our creative capital and technology expertise, we can create a new economic development model for the world to follow.”

Want to learn more about the Filmworks Innovation Lab? Visit (and click on the Innovation Lab tab) or call 206-264-0667. Funding assistance recipients for this cycle of the program will be announced in May.


On the Record: Copacino+Fujikado

Media Inc.’s interview series, in which we discuss the latest and greatest with a different Northwest company each issue, continues with Copacino+Fujikado.

“We’ve been voted the hardest agency name to spell for 15 years running, which is exactly how long we’ve been in business,” jokes Copacino+Fujikado creative director Mike Hayward. The Seattle-based agency boasts a long and illustrious client list that includes REI, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Seattle Mariners, Safeco, Visit Seattle, and Premera Blue Cross.

“I think we’re a strong hybrid agency,” says Hayward. “We have our roots in advertising, which I think pushes us to focus on the central idea first, but we’ve also developed a killer engagement strategy and digital team. I really love how the agency has evolved over the years.”

Here is Hayward, on the record:

What do you like best about your job?
Having clients I truly care about and the variety of the work. I can go from working on a brand campaign for a museum to a mobile experience for a winery. And the people here are the best (we have the data to prove it). It’s a group of really talented, funny, smart people with no big egos.

Copacino+Fujikado just released the latest set of Seattle Mariners commercials. What has that partnership meant to you over the last few years?
The agency got its start thanks to Kevin Martinez, vice president of marketing, and the Seattle Mariners. Kevin is still our client today. It’s great to have that kind of shared history and level of trust. When people ask what C+F does, the Mariners are usually the first client we mention. Which is followed by them saying, “I love that Edgar light bat commercial!” Which was actually an ad for Eagle Hardware that we didn’t do.

Who or what inspires you, either personally or professionally?
Jim Copacino and Betti Fujikado, who are avid readers of this column. I actually get inspired fairly easily. I find myself geeking out over new social and digital tools all the time. I’ll run over to our creative technologist Nat Duffy (or he’ll come to me) and say, “What can we do with this new thing?” The pace of innovation is incredibly exciting to me. Right now we’re playing around with “hashbots,” our term for robots that perform a physical action in response to tweeted hashtags or keywords. So far we’ve built a mechanical bobblehead, a piñata-pecking bird and a light-up Space Needle that plays Salt N Pepa’s “Push It.”

How important is it for your company to connect and engage with your surrounding community?
I’m not sure there’s another agency that’s quite as rooted in the community as C+F (so much for the “no big egos” thing). We’re very active with local community groups and state universities, and our client roster reads like a guide to the Pacific Northwest. It’s a point of pride for us. And just next month, we’re hosting our first Digital Summit here. We’re bringing together social media managers from 20 different Seattle businesses and attractions to see how we can all work together in a mutually beneficial way.

Copacino+Fujikado has earned many prestigious awards over the years. What are some of your most gratifying professional accomplishments?
We’ve won Best of Show at the ADDYs two years in a row for ideas that weren’t traditional ads, which I think says a lot about the agency overall. Awards are certainly a measure of success, but I really like how we can now see the impact of what we do through social media and real-world metrics. So it means more to me to see kids dressed up like Larry Bernandez at Mariners games, or watch the #2DaysInSeattle hashtag take off or see our children’s ibook for the Aquarium hit 100,000 downloads on iTunes. Not that we don’t still like our shiny statues.

If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?
Why was “the Auburn Supermall” the first thing that popped into my head? I know I’m supposed to say a tropical paradise or cultural mecca, but I would be in the stands at Pasadena watching WSU win the Rose Bowl. Which leads to the next question…

If a genie granted you 3 wishes, what would you wish for?
For WSU to win the Rose Bowl. And I assume we’re excluding the usual “world peace” and “infinite wishes” answers, right? Then my other two would be a World Series for the Mariners and for our good friend Steve Cunetta to finally kick this cancer thing. We miss you at the office, buddy.