May 18, 2015

Gotham Tours: Welcome to Barker!


I got a sneak peek at Barker when I visited them with a group of students on Wednesday April 8th as a part of the Gotham Tours series held during #careerweek by the Career Ambassadors. It was awesome and we learned a lot about what the company is up to and what they are looking for in their interns.





As we walked into the office, you could see the attention to detail everywhere. The elements of design and branding that we saw carefully placed throughout the entire tour speak to Barker’s aesthetic and goals. From the color scheme to the fantastic chandelier, it was clear that Barker takes their branding very seriously. First on our list was a tour of the office space -- just amazing. The office was designed for collaboration with its open work spaces and lack of cubicles. As we walked upstairs to the second floor, many of us had our eyes glued to the intricate chandelier and then saw even more space for collaboration and the kitchen space.

We sat down to chat with Sandi Harari (SVP, Creative Director), Jennifer Schwartz (Associate Creative Director) and Yimeng Bai (Associate Creative Director). Sandi described Barker as an integrated agency where people work across different mediums and work vertically, not just horizontally. We saw this in the discussions about what campaigns they undertake and the various elements that are incorporated in the strategies that are produced. They look to take on projects where they can make an impact, like they did with the luxury bed for Hästens. The campaigns they develop are highly strategic and ask big questions at the beginning that influence their work.

One student asked about their process of using freelancers, as we got to see some of the work the agency has created. They are always keeping an eye out for talent and source freelancers from multiple places. When discussing what they look for in adding talent, they are seeking generalists with great aesthetic skills who can assess the strategic goals of their objective. One element that Sandi mentioned which was echoed by both Jennifer and Yimeng was cultural fit and attitude -- you need to be able to get things done on your own without someone looking over your shoulder.

The aesthetic at Barker is fresh and forward leaning. Every day is reprioritized and you are constantly doing something new. As an employee, you have the chance to show how great you are by constantly adding value to the work that is done. Interns are treated just like everyone else and are a part of the team -- no coffee fetching here.

Good news: Barker hires many of their interns! The company is looking for people who have just graduated to intern and want them to intern five days a week, which really provides the opportunity to be enveloped in the creative process and mesh with their aesthetics and goals. Be prepared to pivot and change gears as you asked to work on different projects in various capacities. A piece of advice we heard was to be malleable and fit in where you need to. That is certainly true for all employment situations -- flexibility is important.



We did get a sneak peek at an up-and-coming project that will be released in the coming weeks, so be on the lookout for some new projects from Barker. To be a part of these awesome events, keep an eye out for our upcoming Gotham Tour series in the Fall 2015 semester. Updates and news will be available on the Career Ambassador Facebook page, so add them as a friend!

Written by: Emilie Buse
Images by: Emilie Buse


May 14, 2015

Awesome Machines, Pratt Graduates and More at Mindfile


On April 6th, I attended the first Gotham Tour in our series of site visits held during #careerweek. Our group traveled to Avenue of the Americas to visit Mindfile, which like most small companies owns a space in a building located in the center of crowded Manhattan.  After years of movies and The Good Wife, I expected Mindfile’s office to be a crowded space filled to the brim with desks and chairs and computers. When we went through the door, instead I found myself surprised at the small yet open space with plants, plenty of floor space and large windows that illuminated the room with sunlight.



Jennifer Wanamaker, who is the Production Manager, greeted us and proceed to introduce us to the office staff to hear what they do. First, we heard from a freelancer. He mostly comes in to edit, and he showed us this awesome machine that looked like I could find it in my grandfather’s basement.  The pre and post production industry is just beginning to be digitized, and as a result these older machines haven’t been phased out yet. Mindfile used to transfer their files onto film with this contraption and create tapes that would then be delivered to clients, but now Mindfile downloads their files to their servers and sends them to their clients digitally.  

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Next, we visited the in-house editing room. There we had the chance to talk to Pratt alumni Chris Minor and got to hear how the stop motion classes at Pratt helped him prepare for his current project. Then we spoke with Valeria Angel, the Production Coordinator. Valeria was a former intern at Mindfile who is now employed there full-time, and she advised that during internships you should ask lots of questions and to offer help without being asked to show your initiative and interest.

Last, but not least, we were introduced to James Curry who is the founder and president of Mindfile. He started off by showing us the equipment room and explaining the various devices Mindfile owns. Mindfile is unlike many pre and post production houses because they own their own equipment and store much of it in house rather than renting from outside companies.

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James shared that he first began his career in broadcasting. Before creating Mindfile in 2008, he had experience with filming as well as post production. By gaining experience in all areas of production, James learned how to help save time for editors when he was filming and figure out what he liked about the field. Jennifer offered similar advice to us. She suggested to students not only to do many internships but to try different things because “you don’t know what you are going to like.” James added that he has worked with many people who have been pigeonholed in their interests because of their consistent specialization, and now as an employer he looks for interns who are willing to try a little bit of everything.

Personally I was stuck by the fact that James and Jennifer knew what their interns were interested in pursuing and were dedicated to helping them grow. When new videos come in for editing, the interns are told how to edit the clips, but James gives his interns the chance to make their own edits and show him their work. While they don’t get paid or their edits may not be used, it gives the interns a chance to hear feedback from a professional who has worked in the field for over twenty years.

Visiting Mindfile was an eye opening experience that I am glad I participated in. If you are disappointed that you missed this awesome opportunity and want to know about our upcoming events, follow us on Twitter (@PrattSuccess) and like us on Facebook (Pratt Success).  

Written by: Bree Balsamo
Images by: Bree Balsamo

May 13, 2015

Jewelry Enthusiasts, Here is the Inside Scoop on Pamela Love!



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On April 17th, I was lucky enough to go on my first
Gotham Tour where we visited Pamela Love! The five of us made our way out of Brooklyn and into Manhattan excited beyond belief and ready to learn about this awesome entrepreneur. When we arrived, the first thing that struck me was the ambiance of the studio.  It was the kind of environment where creativity flourishes and then is manifested into jewelry.

On the guided tour led by Pamela herself, she showed us through the studio where we saw the different aspects of her business. First on the tour was the gallery showroom where she talks to buyers about her collection. From there we saw the jewelry benches, the fabrication manager, the logistics center and the part of the studio where designs are created. I had the chance to see the different elements that make up a successful business, which is important information to have, especially for those of us who do not know exactly where we would fit into a business model or if one day we hope to create our own own businesses.


Pamela also introduced us to her design process by showing us her concept boards and preliminary sketches. We got to see one of her staff members demonstrate how they use Rhino to create a digital mold of the piece. A student asked her what she thought about seasonal trend forecasts. She replied that it can seriously hurt creativity because designers often end up creating a lot of similar work, which then doesn’t encourage them to have creativity in their work. I felt that as designers who strive to express something particular, Pamela’s advice can really help those of us concerned about where our inspiration should come from and what we ought to be considering.

Getting to see Pamela Love’s design process along with the different parts of the firm really gave us an extensive view of what it means to be part of a creative companies that Pratt students will apply to for internships and full-time positions.

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Written by: Jil Berenblum
Images by: Jil Berenblum and Shannon O’Brian