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Member Spotlight: Frank Scherma, President, RadicalMedia

Posted By Emily Hope, Wednesday, June 13, 2018

How did you get started in advertising? What's been your career road map?

I started off as an assistant producer at Chiat Day N.Y. when they first opened their doors. Soon after, I was producing for the agency. Three years went by, and I left to freelance (there weren’t that many freelance producers in the market at that time) and worked for Ammirati Puris on BMW. Three years after that, I moved to Los Angeles and began producing for production companies and their directors. Eighteen months later, I opened up the West Coast office of my partner’s production company. We built that company into what it is today: RadicalMedia, LLC.

And how has the industry changed since you’ve been involved?

When I started in advertising, television, print and radio were the main ways to reach the consumer. My parents were grateful to advertisers as they brought entertainment into our living room. Since then, we’ve had to adjust from strictly doing commercials, print, and radio. While those three still exist, we’ve all had to learn and embrace additional ways to reach the consumer. Branded content and digital storytelling, live events, memes, etc. We also work with brands who’ve begun to incorporate VR, AR, and experiential media into their storytelling as well, and I think we’ll start seeing more of that as time goes on. It’s still about the storytelling, just using different methods.

What’s an important lesson you’ve learned so far?

Be nice to everyone. Today’s assistant could be tomorrow’s creative director. Secondly, don’t be afraid of change. Embrace it and dive in head first.

What keeps you motivated? Do you have a personal motto?

My goal in life is to wake up everyday and still want to go to work. I’ve succeeded so far. I also try to live by Radical’s motto, which is "Never Established." Things are always changing, and it’s important to adapt to the times. If you want longevity, you have to be able to do it all: feature films, episodic scripted and unscripted television, advertising, experiential, public events, smartphone applications... the list goes on.

What excites you most about this industry?

The people, creativity, and the fact that it’s ever-changing. Everyday I learn something new.

 


Photos: Don Lupo

 

 Where is the entertainment industry headed? What do the next 5 years look like?

As I mentioned, it will always be about storytelling and finding an audience for those stories. Five years from now, streaming services will be even more prevalent than they are today. Network TV will still be there, albeit they will be looking for additional revenue streams from advertisers and cable/satellite companies.

What advice do you have for those just starting out in entertainment?

I have a few pieces of advice for those just starting out in the business.

One: Be the first one to show up and the last one to leave. It’s a bit cliché, but you have to make it known that you want to be there and you want to learn. Two: Ask lots and lots of questions, and don’t be afraid to not know the answer. The worst is pretending to know, when you really don’t. Third: Watch, listen, and get your hands dirty. Be open to trying new things and taking a different path. You never know where something can lead you. And lastly, step out of your comfort zone.

We are in the middle of a cultural shift with the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. What has/does Radical do to support women and inclusion in the industry?

RadicalMedia not only has a diverse staff, but a diverse roster of directors. As I like to say, we have directors that happen to be female, not female directors. We want everyone to feel like they’re working in a safe environment, always. That’s not up for debate.

Why are you involved with ThinkLA?

I enjoy working with the varied and interesting people on the board. It combines media, creativity, public relations, etc., in one place, kind of how ad agencies used to operate. And not to be cliché, but it’s rewarding to give back to an industry that has treated me very well over the years.

At the end of the day, I love what I do, and I think that’s the most important thing of all. 

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Frank Sherma is a ThinkLA Board Member and President of RadicalMedia, a multi-disciplinary studio that creates some of the world’s most innovative content across all forms of media. RadicalMedia has been honored with an Academy Award®, Emmys®, a Golden Globe®, Grammys®, Webbys, NASA Awards, The Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award for Communication Design, two Palme d’Ors at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, and just about every other accolade and trophy associated with the advertising, marketing, and programming businesses.

 

 

Tags:  #MemberSpotlight  #MeToo  #ThinkMembers  Entertainment  Entertainment Marketing  Member Spotlight  Members  ThinkLA  ThinkMembers 

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Spotlight: Bettina Sherick, Founder of Hollywood in Pixels, and SVP, Consumer Insights and Innovation at 20th Century Fox

Posted By Emily Hope, Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Meet Bettina Sherick, Founder of Hollywood in Pixels, a non-profit organization that preserves Hollywood’s vast digital history and celebrates Hollywood's vibrant digital community, and SVP, Consumer Insights and Innovation at 20th Century Fox

 


Photos: Don Lupo Photography

 

How did you get started in advertising? What's been your career road map?

For most of my career I’ve been in marketing, not advertising. Particularly for those of us in the early days of digital, we were responsible for so much of the digital marketing mix because it was so new, and the traditional teams were focused on TV and print.

I started out in retail and sales. My career really took off after grad school when I launched the e-commerce business for the retailer I worked for at the time. It was 1999, and most people were still trying to figure out their e-commerce strategy, or they were spending millions launching e-commerce sites. I was a marketing manager at the time, and I pitched the idea of launching an online store for a mere $300K. At first I got a "Yes", but then the funding was pulled after a bad financial quarter.

However, I had a friend who was employee number 73 at Yahoo, and she helped me broker a deal to be one of the first stores in the Yahoo Shopping mall. I convinced my employer to fund my project for only $30K. We did get an online store launched for that little amount, and we started selling the very first day we launched. By the first month we were selling at the same rate as one of the small stores, with a fraction of the overhead. I left shortly after the store launch and moved over to Warner Bros. Studio Store as the Director of E-Commerce Marketing.

The AOL merger eliminated my role at WB, and I ended up taking a role with 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment International as their first-ever digital marketing executive. I moved over to the theatrical side of the business and eventually rose to SVP, International Strategic Digital Marketing. After running various digital initiatives at Fox for 14 years, I took some time to pursue other projects and started my own non-profit company: Hollywood in Pixels (HIP). HIP was established to preserve Hollywood’s vast digital history and to connect and celebrate the vibrant Hollywood digital community.

HIP is now three years old, and we keep getting more interest and involvement every year. I recently returned to Fox as well in a new and exciting role as a part of the new Data Strategy group.

 

 

What keeps you motivated? Do you have a personal motto?

My motivation come from within. I have continual drive to be a better (kinder) person, to be the best mom I can be for my son, and to do work that matters. Career-wise, I thrive when I'm working on projects that combine storytelling and tech in a groundbreaking, never-been-done-before way.

I don’t have a personal motto, no. No one go-to platitude.


What excites you most about this industry?

Digital has forever changed the science of advertising and marketing in such a profound way. We can engage with consumers now in ways that once were imagined only in science fiction books and movies. I love living in the future. It excites me, somewhat frightens me, and I feel very lucky to work on a team whose sole raison d'être is to innovate.


Where is advertising heading? What do the next five years look like?

The future is all about data. Right now, everyone is trying to figure out what data is important for their business, what’s directional, and what signals and signposts matter. Eventually the data will point the way, but only to those who are willing to listen, try, and experiment. Savvy consumers are already more adept at knowing what data signals they’re leaving for marketers, and that behavior will only get more pervasive. A handful of companies will continue to hold the lion's share of consumer data, but there is room for every company to understand and implement the signals their consumers are willing to share. And, the fight for net neutrality is going to be a big factor in what the future will hold in this arena.


What advice do you have for Black advertising professionals that are beginning their career?

Find mentors. Don’t stop being a student: read articles and blogs, watch online videos, go to seminars, take classes at UCLA Extension or General Assembly. Volunteer. Get involved in your company beyond just your day job; what clubs or interest groups are offered? Take advantage of them. Get to know recruiters for your industry and make sure they know where you are and what you’re working on, even if you’re not looking for a new job.


What should our industry be talking about in 2018?

Inclusivity, intersectionality, diversity. We should be talking (and doing) a lot about those three things.


Any closing thoughts?

Thank you for taking the time to highlight women of color in the industry. I think it’s important, especially now.

Tags:  Bettina Sherick  Entertainment  Fox  Hollywood  Member 

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Takeaways from DIG Outreach Event: "Elevate your Mind."

Posted By Emily Hope, Tuesday, February 27, 2018

ThinkLA's DIG Committee was proud to participate in an event that inspired African American high school students from across Los Angeles titled "Black Excellence Expo: Elevate your Mind."

The event was a combined effort from 18 committed, LA area schools, with panelists across many different fields: doctors, lawyers, advertisers, athletes, activists, fashion and entertainment industries. The keynote speaker was Robert Townsend, actor, comedian, director, and writer, and CEO of Townsend Entertainment.

 

 

The ongoing theme throughout the event was staying true to who you are, embracing your true self, and overall ethnic pride. Each speaker shared their personal journey and different struggles along their career path that have led them to where there are today.

 

 

Samantha Hawkins, Supervisor, Community Management at RPA, and DIG committee member, spoke on a panel about the importance of public service and had these takeaways from the event:

"I may not be in public service per se, but as advertisers we have a responsibility to produce work that is inclusive and represents the diversity of the people we reach with our ads every day. Advertising is everywhere. People like my fellow panelists are not represented in mainstream advertising, and we can change that so young people are accustomed to seeing people that look like them depicted in positions of power and influence in our marketing. So they know those types of careers and lifestyles are not just held exclusively for a certain type of person who looks a certain way, but that they too have the potential to achieve what they want in life. The best way of ensuring that shift, is to hire more people of color and with diverse backgrounds into roles in advertising and marketing." 

 

   
   

 

 MEMORABLE TAKEAWAYS

  • African Americans are going to have to work harder. Factor that into the equation and prepare for it."
  • "When they doubt your ability, use that as fuel to your flame: Prove them wrong, and get used to doing that again and again." - Mel Carlisle, Managing Director, Oaktree Capital Management
  • Everyone applying wants the job, but who has a passion for it? Stand out from the competition by being able to articulate why you love it.
  • Connect with real people outside of your job. Do things that put you in contact with the real world not just to round out your résumé, but to keep you grounded and rooted in helping others.

 

Tags:  #ThinkDIG  Diversity  entertainment  student outreach 

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