Friday, April 3, 2009

Jetting Upward

Q: Introduce us to yourself and your company.

My name is Brent Gairy and I’m a project manager at Off-Site Services. We are a web development studio that partners with all manner of creative agencies to create great online destinations. I’m also a partner at, which specializes in creating websites for music and marketing clientele.

Q: Interactive Producers come from all walks of life, they are a hybrid of talents, tell us about your background and how you got interested in digital production?

I got my first start in digital production subtitling Japanese anime tapes back in 1996 as a means to make a few dollars in high school. I went to college to do computer animation but once I saw Photoshop and Authorware I changed majors to multi-media and never looked back.

After college I interned at Domani Studios and then freelanced for a number of years doing a lot of work in the music and fashion industries. Over the years I transitioned from design, then production, and now I’m firmly entrenched in the project management side of things.

Q: How do you stay on top of emerging technologies and keep your team informed and motivated?

I’ve always been fascinated by emerging technologies and I tend to consume all manner of information pertaining to new trends. Therefore, I would be lost without Google Reader, Evernote, and Twitter. I’m blessed that my team is always ready and able to learn a new API or application; it makes my job slightly easier.

Q: What does your ideal client/project look like?

My ideal client is someone who has:
A vision for their project/brand.
A realistic budget.
Someone who is willing to learn about the web.
Is open to challenging the status quo.

Q: How do you educate your clients and set realistic expectations for a project?

I feel developing a relationship is paramount. If your client doesn’t trust you and believe you have their best interest in mind; the project will not go smoothly. Sometimes, I’ll show a client a competitor’s site and explain the pros and cons of that website and how it can be improved. I often send clients emails of interesting articles or websites that might be helpful. Most importantly I try to be available to answer any question a client may have.

Managing expectations sometimes means telling client things they sometimes don’t want to hear. In those cases I have alternate solutions to soften the blow. Saying “no” sets the stage for bruised feelings. It all comes back to the trust thing again.

Q: What was the best project you have ever worked on?

I have worked on quite a few great projects. However, I would have to say the portfolio site I worked on for Little x was a high-water mark for me as a producer. I got the opportunity to work with my college mentor, as well as, several childhood friends. Even today I get compliments from people in the music industry when they find out I worked on it.

Q: How many projects are you comfortable producing at one given time?

I would say about 8 projects at a time. I’m often working on two large sites, including various smaller projects on a daily basis. 

Q: What does your dream production team look like?

It would be a multi disciplinary team that has worked with one another for a number of years. Working with people where I am knowledgeable of their thought processes, helps me to focus on the client and get their deliverables completed.

Q: How do you ensure that your client's best interests are met?

We are in a service industry. This means always informing the client of the big picture goals along with where we are in the development process. At the end of the day their work isn’t a portfolio piece, its their livelihood. 

Q: What is your vision of what the next phase of our industry is going to look like?

I recently saw Microsoft labs 2019 video, and the way the internet seamlessly blended into reality struck me. We need devices and services that disappear and let people become more productive and creative. I can’t wait to see the technological cross pollination that will make this future a reality.

Q: Please share a snippet of wisdom that you would like to impart on our readers.

Interactive is more than technology, its closer to a bespoke tailoring. People should be able to see and feel the attention to detail in your projects.

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