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- FWA Interview - Chad Leitz and Felipe Lima - Goodby Silverstein & Partners
Ideas shouldn’t be put in boxes. A good idea is a good idea, it doesn’t matter where it lives.
Please give us a brief bio of yourselves.
LIMA: I work as an associate creative director at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners. I am originally from São Paulo, Brazil, and came to San Francisco for 1 year. That was 5 years ago.
LEITZ: I’m a writer and Associate Creative Director. I’ve been working in advertising for over 15 years. I started as an ad manager for a Department Store chain in Vermont. I worked at Arnold in Boston on Jack Daniels. Then I moved to San Francisco to work for Goodby Silverstein and Partners on accounts like Chevy and Cheetos.
What do you do for inspiration?
LEITZ: Reading helps.
LIMA: I think everything can become inspirational, everything you see, hear, feel, has potential. To walk around and pay attention to things happening next to you is always good.
Please list 3 of your favourite sites.
LIMA: The Onion, Loudwire, Wikipedia
LEITZ: New York Times. Facebook. YouTube.
How many hours do you work each week?
LEITZ: Too many. But I think I secretly like it.
LIMA: It totally depends on the projects we are working on, obviously. I'd say from 40 to 70, but I really try to go back home at normal hours. Being rested and doing other things besides work makes me more productive when I’m at work.
How do you relax or unwind?
LIMA: I love going to concerts, music is important for me and seeing a good band play live usually makes my day. I also like to leave the city and be in the middle of nature, hiking or camping. San Francisco is a great place for that.
LEITZ: I find cooking relaxing. Chopping stuff. Waiting for things to be done. Hanging out in the kitchen with a bottle of something uncorked.
If you weren't working on the internet what would you be doing?
LEITZ: My old creative director, Wade Devers, once said to me, “Chad, if it wasn’t for advertising, guys like us wouldn’t be doing anything at all.”
LIMA: I would be a homeless guy sleeping on a beach in Brazil. I think The Internet saved me.
What's your favourite part of your job? What's the hardest part of your job? What do you do when you get stuck?
LEITZ: My favorite part is coming up with the idea. The hardest part is after the idea has been through the meat grinder and you don’t even recognize it any more. Then you blame yourself.
LIMA: My favorite part is the moment we reach a great fresh idea. The hardest part is executing that great idea, and making it look as best as it can. When I get stuck, I stop, work on something else and pray for my subconscious to help me out. If this doesn’t work I talk to people.
If there are any pivotal experiences/decisions you could point to that helped shape your career, what would they be?
LEITZ: Meeting with a writer named George Goetz years ago, at Hill Holiday in Boston. I had sent him my portfolio … which, by the way, was the worst portfolio in advertising at the time. He met with me anyway. It was a really short meeting. He showed me the portfolios of people they’d recently hired. He said, “That’s how good your work needs to be. This is what we’re looking for.” That’s all you need sometimes. Someone just to show you what to do.
LIMA: Deciding to move to the US was a big one. It was a hard decision, a lot of pros and cons, leaving family, friends and moving to a city that I’ve never been before (not even for the job interview) was not easy. But it was a great adventure, and it worked out well.
What software could you not live without?
LIMA: Skype. Spotify. A browser.
How many projects does your company juggle at any one time?
LIMA: It depends, the quantity of projects that we handle at GSP varies, it comes in waves. We are usually responsible for 2 or 3 bigger projects at the same time, and multiple smaller ones.
Has winning FWA awards helped you in any way?
LEITZ: Yes. It’s nice to get some recognition.
LIMA: Sure, it brings more attention, makes more people see the work.
What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?
LIMA: It was probably around 1998, a GeoCities page with pictures of my family and friends. Funny, not sure why I did it, but I liked doing it.
LEITZ: Probably not very good. And probably not.
Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?
LEITZ: I get notions for books I’d like to write. Truth is, :30 scripts and advertising copy is easier. So I must be lazy.
Are there things you do OUTSIDE of work to ensure that you are in the right mindset to be creative and/or successful in whatever you are doing?
LEITZ: A walk or a bike ride can do wonders.
LIMA: I try to think about other things apart from advertising. And I try to sleep well.
The web is getting out of the web. Do you find that thinking in digital solutions alone hinders you? Do you feel the urge to solve the problem using all mediums necessary?
LIMA: Ideas shouldn’t be put in boxes. A good idea is a good idea, it doesn’t matter where it lives.
Looking 10 years in to the future, how far can websites go?
LIMA: Data will have to be shown somehow but it is impossible to know how. A hologram on the palm of our hands? Digital contact lenses? A dancing robot with a screen on its belly?
Do you think Flash is here to stay?
LIMA: Nope, it's over unfortunately. At least for web use.
What are your views on design/graphic school. Do you think someone can get into the field without educational experience in a school environment?
LEITZ: Yes. I didn’t go to school for this industry. However, I was fortunate to have mentors who were patient with me.
LIMA: Going to school is always good, but not necessary at all in our line of work. For me the best part of it was meeting people that had the same interests, having a good time and learning with each other. But this still happens at work today, at GSP. You can obviously succeed without going to school. Some of the best people in the field never went.
If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring FWA award submitter, what advice would you give them?
LIMA: Don’t focus on the medium, focus on the idea. Ideas that are clear and simple are the best, you need to be able to explain them in one line.
What would be your ultimate vehicle to travel in?
LIMA: Teleport. So easy and quick.
LEITZ: A really big Mercedes.
How do you keep your finger on the pulse of the latest web trends?
LEITZ: I listen to what my colleagues are talking about.
LIMA: Twitter is a great source, Creative Applications is good for geeky stuff. Industry publications, award shows, talking to people at the office about the latest always help.
What country excites you the most in terms of innovation?
LIMA: I don’t think there is one country. We can see innovative projects happening everywhere. Even in San Francisco.
LEITZ: From what the American media tells me, it’d have to be the US.
There must be a project that you have always dreamed of doing, what is it?
LEITZ: Take a year off and see what I’d make for me.
LIMA: I’d love to work on something related to the horror genre. A campaign for a movie, a play, a videogame, an installation… anything.
What does the future hold for your company, or you as a person?
LEITZ: More work.
What is the most expensive thing you have bought in the last week?
LIMA: A skateboard.
Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?
LIMA: Every project is potentially great.
LEITZ: Just say YES.
It has been a privilege, thanks very much