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I’m Sure That’s the Brief

briefly-film

Tom Bassett’s newest film adventure, Briefly, is released the end of this month. The mission of this documentary is to delve into the process of creating the sharp tiny stories which clarify and point towards a project or concept’s purpose as told creative visionaries themselves. Frank Gehry, FAIA, was one of those interviewed. (Anyone attending the Now Next Future Conference in October will be particularly interested in his in-depth process as the “Social Media Boot Camp” takes place at the Gehry Technologies Headquarters in Los Angeles.)
Until “Briefly” is released on Sept. 30, one can view trailer for now. Below is a … ahem … brief conversation had with the director himself.

Tom Bassett

Tom Bassett


Your list of clients is long and impressive, and includes such names as Jeep, Nike, Microsoft. You seem to have a knack or philosophy of making the profound accessible. Can you elaborate on this?

Our philosophy is (literally) painted on the wall of our office. It’s a quote from Einstein: “Everything should always be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.” Strategy has the tendency to want to get pretty heady if you’re not careful, so we try to make sure the story line is clear and simple. It takes a lot of hard work to not only find meaning, but to simplify things down in a way you can explain to your mother (and she understands).

Courtesy of Bassett & Partners

Courtesy of Bassett & Partners


What inspires you?

Very simply, great creative. Whether it’s a piece of art, a new song, an app, an ad, a building, a beautifully designed object, a new scientific discovery, I am drawn to great creativity like a moth to a flame.

Fluent French; Broken Italian. Any plans to mend the “broken” aspect?

Unfortunately, my Italian has been broken for many, many years. Spanish is the language I need to master to keep up with our 5 year old son who is already fluent.

How was working/talking with Frank Gehry? What is one takeaway you had?

Working with Frank Gehry was phenomenal: he’s very warm, human and endearing. I think the most interesting tidbit I took away from our interview was how hard he still works. He’s 84. Our interview took place in the afternoon, and he was pounding coffee so he could get back to work afterward. When we screened the rough cut with him months later, it was at 4 PM on a Friday afternoon. He went back to work after, then took an overnight flight (private, mind you) to the east coast for a meeting at 10 AM on a Saturday. I’m not sure people who don’t know him well understand his work ethic.

What’s your Brief?

Our Brief is to understand the consumer in the broadest possible cultural context. Too many projects look at the world through the lens of their “thing” versus looking at it first at the cultural level. If you can connect your idea or product or service or whatever through the lens of the broader cultural landscape, the final result will be so much more powerful. So while we look for simple human truths, we aim to frame them within the deeper culture.

Free CRAN/Houzz Symposium

Watch the 7th Annual CRAN Symposium stream live, September 18 – 20, exclusively on Houzz right here. The programming, which is free, is the first joint initiative emanating from a strategic partnership between Houzz and the American Institute of Architects, announced in June.

Houzz is the world’s leading online platform for residential remodeling and design, hosting an interactive community of 20 million unique visitors monthly. Join Houzz VP of Industry Marketing Liza Hausman at our Now Next Future conference to learn how this exciting venue can generate new residential commissions for your firm.

Top Five Reasons to Register Today for the Now Next Future Conference!

Summer is wrapping up. Kids are back in school. October seems far away. So, why do you need to register today for this year’s NNF conference?

  1. Hear about innovative design and cutting edge ideas directly from these amazing companies!
    CASE, Gensler, Project Frog, Arup, Autodesk, Luce et Studio, Min I Day, Idea Builder Homes, Gehry Technologies, Hodgetts + Fung, IwamotoScott
  2. Learn What’s Relevant Today in Social Media
    Friday’s event will feature insights from Amanda Walter, Communications Strategist and Liza Housman of Houzz. Saturday’s event will feature a Q&A Session with Evan Sharp of Pinterest.
  3. Make connections with your fellow designers and network with vendors who can help you provide your clients with the best options
  4. Return to your Office with a Vision of the Future
    How will you implement some or many of the ideas you will hear? Closing the event will be Skylar Tibbits, Director, Self-Assembly Lab at MIT and Senior TED Fellow who will talk about how Self-Assembly and Programmable Material Technologies will impact design’s future!
  5. Registration Prices Increase on September 12!! Hurry – you don’t want to regret missing the deadline!

For more information about the conference visit http://www.nownextfuture.aiacc.org/ To Register click here View Agenda

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