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Sharing secrets: Venture capitalist Charlie O’Donnell

I love finding people who are so successful in business that I learn great deals and become inspired just by reading their blogs and following them on social media. A few years ago when I was getting up-to-speed for a new client based in Brooklyn, I learned about venture capitalist Charlie O’Donnell, who founded the seed-stage investment firm Brooklyn Bridge Ventures in 2012. I’ve been doing my best to keep up with Charlie ever since! Here’s an introduction to his background from his personal This Is Going to be Big blog, where he’s been writing about sales, hiring, the venture business, startup communities and New York in his very straightforward, no-BS style for over 10 years.

Charlie is a partner at Brooklyn Bridge Ventures working on very early stage investments in the Greater Brooklyn area, which also includes Manhattan and the other boroughs of New York City. He was previously with First Round Capital, where he sourced the firm’s investments in GroupMe (sold to Skype), Backupify, chloe + isabel, Refinery29, Docracy, Singleplatform, and Salescrunch. Read more

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“Off Camera” enters year three of the best conversations

It’s been a year since I last spoke with the acclaimed photographer and director Sam Jones, who is the publisher, host and editor-in-chief of the Off Camera website, magazine, TV show and podcast. Sam launched his on-camera interview series in 2013 with these words: “…as much as I have tried to create a multi-platform technologically relevant episodic blogpodzine, I am really just using new tools to do the same thing I have always done; which is follow my interests, and try to get in the room with some really interesting people.” Last February, I published a story about Off Camera’s first anniversary, and Sam surprised me with a call to touch-base. That connection with such a respected and accomplished artist inspires me every day.

Over the past 12 months, new print/iPod issues and episodes of Off Camera have appeared with these fascinating guests… all sharing insights from in-depth conversations with Sam, who is their trusted friend: Michael B. Jordan, Sarah Silverman, Matt Damon, Ed Helms, Jackson Browne, Judy Greer, Jeff Bridges, Taylor Goldsmith, Laird Hamilton and Jon Brion. Sam’s thoughtful Off Camera theme builds on his experiences working with high-profile luminaries… where they would regularly discuss various subjects, including their work. The best conversations were happening off-camera, Sam observed… and this passion project is the result. Read more

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Killer Reels: Flavor

Esteemed DWA client company Flavor is a global collective of designers and visual artists with studios in Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, New York City and Tokyo. Last August, the group celebrated its first birthday, and in the November issue of SHOOT Magazine, Cutters Studios CEO Tim McGuire discussed the strategy behind the new venture and some of the exciting developments shaping-up around its principals.

In McGuire’s words: “A little more than a year ago, together with my Cutters Studios colleagues, we recognized that something new and exciting was happening in the design industry, and we decided to refocus our talent and effort to make a statement. Together, after a lot of brainstorming we decided to relaunch our VFX and design brand as Flavor. That rebranding effort fit perfectly with the addition of executive producer Darren Jaffe and executive creative director Brad Tucker [both formerly of Superfad], and helped us create some considerable buzz across the industry at-large.” Read more

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F5 creativity festival returns to NYC

On 17-18 April, F5 will return to New York City, the epicenter of global creativity… convening in Terminal 5, one of the city’s premier venues. Uniting filmmakers, writers, digital artists, game designers, interactive artists, motionographers, graphic designers, visual effects experts, musicians, industry visionaries and many others (including yours truly), F5 2015 promises to foster artistic breakthroughs of the highest order.

Founded on the ideal that true insight and lasting inspiration come from unexpected places, F5 is the cutting-edge creativity festival exploring the intersection of design, art and technology. Created by Motionographer in 2009 as an essential meeting point for future-minded individuals, F5 has proven power in creating lasting change. Read more

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Reasons to Pause in 2015


Set to run 9-15 Feb. in Melbourne, Australia, Pause Fest is the premier annual digital event aimed at supporting and showcasing the best in creative and tech from Australia and all around the world. For the past several years, each Pause festival has told a story through a unique theme. For this year, the theme is Pure: Simple ideas that will change world.

From its humble beginnings in 2011, Pause has rapidly grown to become one of the most anticipated events on the bustling Australian festival calendar. Attracting a powerful mix of industry professionals, startups and early adopters from a broad range of digital disciplines, each year Pause offers a wealth of exciting opportunities for locals to connect, collaborate and launch projects alongside global leaders and visionary brands. In 2014, the festival lit up Federation Square, with more than 6,000 people flocking to Australia’s innovation capital. Read more

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Join Robert Redford, George Lucas and friends at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival

The 2015 Sundance Film Festival is set to run Jan. 22 to Feb. 1 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah, and last week, The Sundance Institute announced an especially exciting series of offscreen programming events.

Reportedly, Art of Film Weekend (Jan. 29-31) will highlight the unique roles of writers, directors, producers, actors, cinematographers, editors, production designers, art directors, costume designers, casting directors, sound designers, composers and the countless others who bring stories to life on screen. The series will kick off with Robert Redford and George Lucas discussing their careers and creative process with Leonard Maltin, and continue throughout the second half of the Festival with additional panels on topics including artistry in film music, virtual reality, visual design, editing and documentary.

“Exploring cinema, body and soul, Art of Film Weekend will take aspiring filmmakers and film-loving audiences behind the scenes to see the creative, collaborative spirit of artists at every stage of the independent filmmaking process that is so core to our Festival,” said Sundance Film Festival director John Cooper. Read more

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Famous images: Reuters 2014

From the world stage to the street corner, Reuters proudly presents a collection of extraordinary images taken by its global network of photographers over the past year. “Reuters tells the world’s stories like no one else. As the largest international multimedia news provider, Reuters provides coverage around the globe and across topics including business, financial, national, and international news. For over 160 years, Reuters has maintained its reputation for speed, accuracy, and impact while providing exclusives, incisive commentary and forward-looking analysis.” Read more

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Great to know: Anson Williams

My relatively short career as a professional working in episodic television production took a giant leap forward in 1995, when I was hired to assist the Florida-based producers for NBC, Universal Television and Amblin Entertainment’s SeaQuest 2032. The year before, I had worked on a different series for Fox, BBK Productions and Columbia Pictures TV, where the many producers, directors and talents I met became inspirations for me. Nonetheless, I was very surprised to meet – and have lots of opportunities to work with and get to know – director Anson Williams as one of the many all-stars involved with SeaQuest.

Best known for his Golden Globe-nominated role as Potsie Weber on Happy Days – the single greatest TV series of my youth – Anson is also an award-winning television director, as well as being a writer, singer, producer and entrepreneur. By 2014, Anson has directed over 300 hours of television for scores of world-famous TV series, including Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and The Secret Life of the American Teenager, to name but a few. Read more

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Amy Schatz, HBO and American Museum of Natural History: Thanks for the documentary

On Monday, 15 December, an important new series will debut from HBO Documentary Films, the American Museum of Natural History and producer/director Amy Schatz, starting with a two-part family special about the environment. Entitled “Saving My Tomorrow,” additional credits include executive producer Sheila Nevins, supervising producer Lisa Heller, producer Beth Aala and editor Tom Patterson. “Saving My Tomorrow” will continue in 2015 as a four-part series beginning on Earth Day, 22 April, exclusively on HBO.

From the children who will inherit the planet comes a collection of songs, activism and heartfelt tips for protecting the earth. Kids share their thoughts on subjects ranging from endangered animals to climate change, while exploring stories with the museum’s scientists about the plants and animals that are affected by a changing earth. A lyrical mix of science, animation and music, SAVING MY TOMORROW celebrates the wonders of the natural world and is a call from kids to kids to help take care of the planet. Read more

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Art Basel keeps bringing artwork to the global stage

Starting soon and running through 7 Dec., Art Basel returns to Miami Beach for the sixth straight year, extending the renown for Switzerland’s Art Basel which over the past 40 years has become the world’s most prestigious art show. The Miami Beach event will once again unite top galleries in its very special exhibitions, parties and crossover events featuring music, film, architecture and design spread throughout the Art Deco District. Altogether, it’s a thrilling, immersive experience allowing art lovers to discover new developments in contemporary art in the presence of rare, museum-calibre artworks.

Looking ahead to 2015, this premier international art show will land in Hong Kong 15-17 March, then return to Basel, Switzerland, 18-21 June. Details for all events are available at http://artbasel.com.

Also worth noting, Art Basel recently launched a crowdfunding initiative in partnership with Kickstarter. Read more

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