Reimagining Video: A Look at Our Video Department
As JK Design continues to grow as a full-service agency, we have been spending more time and dedicating resources to expanding our capabilities so that we can better serve our clients.
Recently, this expansion has included adding several talented individuals to our team. In this installment of our ongoing series, we’re featuring Katherine Armstrong, our VP of Video Production since 2011. Katherine took a few minutes to talk about how she’s taking our video department to the next level.
Omar Joseph (OJ): You were hired last year in 2011, but we worked with you on a number of projects before you got here. Tell me about how your relationship with JK Design began.
Katherine Armstrong (KA): The VP of New Business Development, Andrea Wolkofsky, called me to work as a freelance producer and director for a project she had coming up. We got along really well and the video was such a success that she went back to the team and pitched me for the full-time job.
After doing some wonderful work with JK Design’s president, Jerry Kaulius, we sealed the deal.
OJ: I’ve read your bio and noticed that you have an intriguing work history. Can you talk a bit about your career path?
KA: I began my career in the entertainment business, moving to Los Angeles from Detroit while not quite out of my teens. My first love and passion was acting, and I enjoyed success in the television and film industry, but always had a hand in producing theater. I was involved in friends’ projects as everything from production assistant to casting director to production management to – finally – field directing and producing.
When I decided to jump into producing full time, I was blessed with great connections and mentored by really amazing people. I left LA after my daughter was born and continued as a freelance production coordinator, manager, producer, and director in New York and New Jersey.
OJ: We’ve been doing some wonderful work since you arrived. You’ve started to build your team and our video department is growing fast. Can you tell me about your vision for the department?
KA: Video is such an incredible way for clients to get their message across. When I came on board I really wanted my creative passion for the medium to shine through in every area. I absolutely love what I do and I wanted to build a sense of excitement for everyone.
My goal has been to merge an out-of-the-box creative vision with the structure of the corporate world. It has also been amazing to be surrounded by a team of artists working hard to support our clients’ desires and bottom lines while giving them a new vision of what’s possible in video.
OJ: Can you tell me about how the creative process has changed?
KA: One of the shifts I’ve seen is in the area of collaboration with our graphic designers on ‘hybrid’ videos. These are video productions combining live action and motion graphics.
We collaborate on each script with the writer, brainstorm all the possibilities for the video, and storyboard it out as usual – but now we are all involved in generating creative ideas for all modes of video, from After Effects animations to live action to combinations of both.
Recently, we’ve rented green screen sound stages and combined on-screen talent with the virtual worlds we’ve created. It’s got everyone really inspired.
OJ: You recently traveled with your team to Paris for a few video shoots. Tell me about that experience.
KA: Oui! We did. It was amazing. We are thrilled to have a wide variety of global clientele that we collaborate with. To be asked to travel to Paris to produce and direct is really a testament to the relationships that our sales representatives and account managers have created.
OJ: I’ve noticed that our clients are starting to dedicate more resources to video projects. Have you noticed this trend? What do you attribute that shift to?
KA: I’m hopeful that the energy and excitement our department feels for the work we do has supported the promotion of video to our team internally as well as to the client.
But to answer your question more specifically, I think we live in a ‘YouTube world.’ People are spending more time on sites like YouTube, Facebook, and Vimeo, and because of that our clients are looking for new ways to connect with them using messaging that is unique, entertaining, and visually stimulating.
Video is the perfect way to meet all of their needs and stay up to date with social networking trends. I see us doing more and more video for everything from standard websites to iPad apps and QR code-enabled videos accessible on the back of a client’s business card. The possibilities are endless! It’s exciting to see that our clients are serious about taking advantage of these opportunities.
OJ: You’re still in the early stages of building your team. How do you balance creating quality work with tight timeframes and resources?
KA: It really is exciting to see things growing so quickly. The department has been thriving for a long time, but now it feels like we’re in the middle of a serious renaissance.
I’ve got a group of talent around me that steps up when things really start to ramp up. It takes a lot of choreography to keep it all moving. It comes down to scheduling, more scheduling, and re-scheduling. I just keep the plates spinning.
Maybe that’s how I taught yoga for so many years – did I mention that I teach yoga? I enjoy learning, practicing, and maintaining balance.
OJ: What do you enjoy most about your job?
KA: I’m so proud of the work everyone in this company does. I’m so impressed by the work ethic, the level of quality, and the people I see standing for the excellence they believe in. I see it in the developers, designers, writers, artists, and the sales and executive teams, and it is really a reflection of the kind of environment that Jerry has created. It’s the people, passion, and projects that keep flying in that make this an incredible place to be. And I’m incredibly lucky to be a part of it.