In a world where the attention span of an average internet denizen is approximately 2 min, Nathaniel James, a world class design, animation and production company in Beverly Hills, California has mastered the craft of taking you to another time and place in a fraction of the time. Within such constraints, every split second counts and every aesthetic choice is strategic. Boasting a client rolodex from Madonna, MTV, VH1, Oprah, ABC, Disney, FX to National Geographic, Nathaniel Howe (Creative Director and Partner of Nathaniel James) shares a some insight into his background and how the magic happens.
How did you get started in this line of work (particularly doing promos)? When I was about 9 years old I became very interested in filmmaking and cinematography, my father was very supportive and bought me a video camera and every book on the subject. He even used to record television shows and commercials and would play them back, pointing out nuances about the edit, cinematography and FX. When I was still very young he got me into NYU to audit some classes on Hitchcock and film/image theory. I remember people telling me “during a great film you should be able to stop on any frame and that alone could stand as a still piece of art” My father taught me a lot about design, film, editing and the audience from a very young age, which have all helped me evolve into the artist I am today.
Your work features some dramatically different styles for a diverse array of clients. Where do you draw your inspiration from? The key is to discover the essence of the project and let that inform how you cultivate your inspiration. Listening plays a huge part in cultivating relevant inspiration, listening to the whispers beyond the noise is where the best ideas come from in my experience. Getting away from unnecessary details and shifting to blue-sky thinking generally will manifest creative starting points than can then be refined. Each project requires a unique and custom tailored approach and I truly enjoy that process.
Is there a dream project you would like to work on? A James Bond title sequence would be up there on the list, along with animated shorts. I would love to return to my love of film / cinematography by getting more involved with directing. Also building Nathaniel James into the company I want it to be is my dream project. I really am grateful to have such an amazing team in my corner and we are just getting started!
What is a quote or message that inspires you? Always listen for the whispers.
Having launched in January, were there any particular challenges that you’ve had to face? How did you surmount them? We have been very blessed with an abundance of work since we began Nathaniel James in January, I am grateful for how exponential the growth has been. The challenge is to always maintain the big picture vision for the company while handling the day to day operations with the attention to detail that I expect to deliver for our clients. We are fortunate to have a lot of very creative, intelligent and happy people working with us and they constantly make us look good.
(pictured above: the Nathaniel James team hard at work)
To see more work from Nathaniel Howe check out his portfolio.