“With commercials, there is a limit to how much creative there is in a job,” he explains. “They are concepted from on high and my job is to execute the vision. There’s a lot of satisfaction in that. You’re freed up a little bit to explore when you’re executing someone else’s idea.”
One at Optimus director Duncan Wolfe is packing up his Washington, D.C. apartment after a 14-month gig at the Obama White House and will head for Los Angeles as his base for the next phase of his filmmaking/social media career.
“And I’m looking forward to the positive effect of sunshine,” adds the St. Louis native about his move to LA.
Director Tim Mason started off his new role as the newest addition to ONE at Optimus’ directorial roster by helming spots for Illinois Lottery / Downtown Partners and New Ocean / Golin.
OPTIMUS’ LATEST PROMOTION is seven year-staffer Tim Cahill to editor from assistant, following in the wake of Optimus elevating Tracy Spera and Jon Desir to executive producers.
Optimus promoted senior producer Tracy Spera and EP/VFX and design John Desir to executive producers, “roles in which they also will assume internal leadership and business development responsibilities,” said EP/managing director Brian Hrastrar in making the announcement.
Tracy Spera is a 14-year veteran at Optimus, “where I felt lucky to have started my career,” she said, hired as an intern after graduating from Columbia College in 2002 with a BA in TV postproduction.
One at Optimus’ team of Mark Pallman and Amanda Speva directed a package of five 30-second spots for healthcare specialist LaGrange-based SPM Marketing & Communications’ and its client, Rush University Medical Center, now airing on all major networks and cable’s Food Network, HGTV, TNT, TBS and Lifetime.
The Rosemont-based world champion Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps play an original song they wrote in the lively 30-second spot that One at Optimus’ team of Mark Pallman and Amanda Speva directed for Wisconsin-based Johnsonville sausages, airing on ESPN and the SEC Network and continuing throughout the college football season.
Speculation as to Optimus’ plans about when or if it would occupy the 38,000-sq. ft. space it had leased in the Wrigley Building, after announcing a November move-in date last year, came to an end by announcing it would remain in its 161 E. Grand Ave. building.
The decision not to expand and to restructure was announced by Optimus president Tom Duff, along with two other changes – the closing of its 15-year old Santa Monica branch and the appointment of a new managing director, Chicago Business Journal reported.
Two producer promotions at One at Optimus: Senior producer Jonah Mueller was named executive producer and associate producer Emma Jubinski to producer, “promotions that are well deserved,” says One at Optimus EP / Managing Director Lisa Masseur.
“Jonah and Emma have played critical roles in our continuing expansion,” Masseur says. “From the start he quickly forged great relationships with our directors and expertly managed technical jobs.”
Competing against some of the best editorial/post talent in the US and Canada, Chicago companies made a stellar showing in the list of finalists for the AICE Awards May 12 at Navy Pier.
Optimus, Cutters, The Colonie, Beast and Particle/Comma have a combined total of 13 nominations out of 84 craft categories, and the Best of Chicago.
EDITORIAL STAR DEB SCHIMMEL is making a major change in her career. After 21 years as a top tier, award-winning editor at Optimus, she is moving to The Whitehouse as of May 1. Her recent work includes the current Marshall’s campaign, Jell-O, Famous Footage, BMO Harris, Coca-Cola and many more national advertisers.
Optimus’ hiring of editor Caleb Hepler, who starts the latest chapter of his career on Monday, Aug. 10, brings the number of Optimus editors to 10.
This Friday, Aug. 7 marks Optimus Block Party 20th annual Block Party and its (sob) last. The production/post company has sold building at 161 E. Grand and will move into what sounds like be the ultimate in space in the Wrigley Building, at 410 N. Michigan.
Back in July, 1996, Optimus, then a post house of 30 years, was purchased by a partnership of employees from Anheuser-Busch, its unlikely owner for the previous decade.
Fast forward to the present, as a new partnership of 11 Optimus employees has been announced for the company’s “new era” ahead.
At Wednesday night’s 14th annual AICE Awards ceremonies in LA, Cutters and Optimus were voted the Best among US and Toronto editors and postproduction experts competing for the 32 winning slots.
Two baseball action spots, with real baseball players for Chevy, the official truck of Major League Baseball, were produced by One at Optimus for Leo Burnett Detroit and are airing now through the 2015 baseball season.
Optimus’ traditional August Block Party this year could be the biggest of all in the previous 20 years, since it marks the company’s last such party in its present location.
Executive producer Lisa Masseur, who joined Optimus 16 months ago, was officially named executive producer/managing director of One at Optimus, the thriving production arm of the postproduction giant.
Her appointment follows the recent, surprise departure of Craig Leffel after 18 years with the company, who had been One at Optimus’ director of production for the past three years.
ONE AT OPTIMUS has boosted its directors’ roster to 11 with the addition of a trio of award-winning directors. They are LA-based Danny J. Boyle and Ben Chappell, both known to Chicago clients through past associations, and director/photographer Ben Fink of New York.
Optimus’ president/partner Tom Duff isn’t talking about who the special surprise guest will be at its 19th annual Block Party Friday, Aug. 1, except to say “it’s a different approach from previous years because the guest isn’t in the entertainment industry.”
Then he hints with a laugh, “But there will be a lot of dancing.”