As an integrated agency, we manage both the creative and production aspects of every video project we take on at Corduroy Media. This means we do the concept development, the scriptwriting, the casting, the location scouting, the shooting, the editing—you name it. And we do it all as a team. Sure, everyone has their main roles as editors, animators, producers, and so on, but we collaborate with each other and with our clients through every step of the video production process.
That said, while we’re all big team players, no one embodies the spirit of creative collaboration more than our Creative Director and Director of Photography, Sean Donnelly. Not only is Sean intensely creative and talented in the arts of photography, cinematography, and visual storytelling, but he also inspires and encourages the best in all of us.
This week, we decided to use our blog space to give team members a chance to shout out what they love about Sean and share the ways in which his presence helps strengthen the work we do at Corduroy Media.
Carl (Founder & Executive Creative Director): When I started Corduroy Media in 2003, I didn’t really know what I was doing, but I knew that I wanted to create a highly collaborative production company that challenged individual assumptions and produced meaningful work. I knew I couldn’t and didn’t want to do it alone. Partnering with Sean in 2008 has been the best possible thing I could have done for the health and growth of Corduroy Media. A lot of our successful projects start from a seed idea that Sean came up with. He will rush into my office and say, “What if we did this…?” Then I get to add to the idea and figure out how can we make his “big idea” a reality. I’m impressed by Sean’s willingness to step back from his own ideas and allow for the iterative process between us that makes each idea better and better. He’s always all about the team and all about “our idea” or “our project.” He also has an incredible work ethic, and he’s intent on making every project amazing.
Gaby (Lead Producer): Right before Christmas, Sean bought everyone a copy of this book that he had just read called Story Wars. It talked about the process of creating story and the importance of that in the work we do. That’s just kind of Sean. It’s so clear that he loves what he does, and he’s always looking for ways to push us to learn something new or do something new.
Joel (Studio Manager): When we’re in a creative meeting, Sean will get really excited about an idea and different ways to make it happen. Like with the Heffernan shoot, the more it came to life the more excited he got about the fence post, the animals, the bales of hay, and bringing dirt into the studio. His eyes light up like he’s a kid on Christmas Day.
Melissa (Producer): Sean’s a pusher, which has really helped me grow. He’ll come up with these outlandish ideas, in script writing and in the creative phase of each project. As a producer, I’m like, ‘How am I going to make that happen?’ But he’ll push and push because he has a vision. You just have to have faith in him. I don’t know where he comes up with these ideas, but they always turn out really awesome.
Evan (Motion Graphics Artist): I just admire the way Sean challenges us and always tries to improve our work. Sometimes his ideas can seem a little challenging to pull off execution-wise. One thing I’ve noticed, though, is that he really executes to the original concept. He’s good at that. He’s also very open-minded. He takes suggestions and we kind of mold the ideas together.
Gehry (Client Services): Sean is consciously creative, which means he’s thinking on behalf of the clients in a way that really allows them to feel a part of the process. They trust Sean, and I think that’s a super power. He makes clients feel comfortable making suggestions about ideas or about how things might get done. He makes them comfortable with digging deeper into the creative process.
Crescent (Lead Editor): Sean’s cinematography is really inspiring to me. The way he uses light in his cinematography, his framing, it’s like every shot is outstanding. There aren’t bad shots. As a director and director of photography, he really goes the extra mile to think about how to tell the story visually. So every piece is like a little film rather than just what they call B-roll. I also love the fact that he always shoots way more than we need for every project. It gives me as an editor so much great material to work with. The hard part of my job is choosing the best of the best rather than trying to find a useable shot.
Elizabeth (Writer): For me, it’s all about that red beard. (Sorry you didn’t make it into the mustache farm, though, Sean. You totally should have.)
Thank you, Sean!
At Corduroy Media, we’re a team. We all show up every day to do our best work on behalf of our clients. Along the way, we encourage each other, we support each other, and we honor each person’s strengths and talents.
Today, it’s your turn to stand in the spotlight, Sean. Thank you for your inspiration and your sense of humor. Thank you for helping us to stretch and for allowing us each to shine in our own ways. We appreciate you.