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The future of creative production. An interview with Creative Director, Jay Harwood

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16 Aug 2019

Creative director Jay Harwood opens up about what it means to be a maker and how taking AI to a party is shaping the future of the retail space

What is Creative Production? I see creative production as the process of making content from start to finish. I draw from my experience as a commercial director, VFX supervisor and creative technology artist. For me, the creative part is defined as the story telling, the visuals, the design, the connection. The production part as the people, processes and technology that bring it all together. It also helps to define content – it is a big word these days with different meanings to different people. Content is anything that you would experience visually, physically, sensory.

What is a common misconception about creative production and why is it wrong? I often hear CGI and character animation referred to as post production, added at the end when the original idea has taken form. I don’t agree. Regardless of where in the production process CGI and character animation content is produced, it is still creating something entirely new. It’s not an after-thought. It’s original ideas coming to life.

You recently brought Artificial Intelligence to New York Fashion Week event with Thom Yorke from Radiohead.  We hear it created quite an impact on the live audience and others who watched online. Why? I was part of a team that created a visual sensory experience resulting in over 700 million earned impressions. The experience was for Rag & Bone to showcase their Fall 2019 collection to a captive audience. It started as a dinner party in New York hosted by Marcus Wainwright, Christine Jobes, an Artificial Intelligence System and Thom Yorke. We mixed retail with film, music, art, poetry, and we used AI to shoot an ambient film that within 48 hours became a video that went viral.

Why do you think it got so many views? It speaks to the future of retail. To the new shopper experience. Shopping at a retail space may not be the preferred choice by many of today’s consumers, but experiencing and engaging a brand, combining technologies and production to create a different experience is the future. The retail experience isn’t dying, it is changing and creative production is an art that is nurturing that. Going to a store to shop may be a dying trend but building a brand experience in a retail space that later drives sales, even if the sale takes place online, is very much alive.

Why Taylor James and Tag, why now? At Tag, we are makers. Everyone who is employed here is a creator – it is a company that invests in artists, creators and resources. We are not just idea people. We support a brief with solutions and we understand the efficiencies of process and creation. We are throwing out the rule book of brand agency sales middle man. This is how we can set the caliber higher and deliver more to our clients and our industry.

What does the future look like for Creative Production, beyond AI? The future is mixed reality, a combination of AR and VR, mixing technology, photography, film, art, design, creative. I’ve sat in film, in tv advertising and now technology. We are blurring the lines between technology and film and creating new experiences to engage consumers at times and in places where they want to be engaged. The future is impromptu while being planned. It combines all the things we love in an experience that we won’t be able to forget.

Taylor James, a Tag company, is a multidisciplinary design studio and production company, translating ideas and intentions into content, images and experiences that work.

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