Sept. 13, 2019 | By: Caitlin Wert
Director, Creative Operations
Without using the words in your job title, describe what you do at Ideas United?
I work on finding ways to improve our tools and processes in order to empower our team to do the best job they can.
How did you wind up here?
I met a group of iUers in Cannes, France in 2011 while I was attending an internship program that iU partnered with. Once I was back in the US, I followed up with Abe who offered me an internship that lasted throughout my senior year of college. After I graduated, I started working full-time for CMF.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I get to focus on making things better and work independently a lot. When I do work with people, I love that everyone here is passionate about what they do, but they don’t take themselves too seriously.
What’s the biggest struggle in your role? How can iU and your colleagues help?
Rather than struggles, I’d say challenges. I’d like to see us continue to build out departments and roles to help support our internal team (ex. establish an IT department/role), so the challenge is figuring out how I can best assist with the evolution of iU and defining my own path.
What’s your favorite iU related memory or story?
There are many. On my last tour with CMF, I created a finale intro video for every school that we visited, which was an accomplishment for me in itself. One of those videos was a mockumentary that poked fun at a video I had made for the same school a year earlier. The original video was extremely cheesy, and I got a lot of heat from the iU staff for it (in a good-natured way). When the second video was released, I received a multitude of praise for it from my coworkers, and I really felt like I had redeemed myself. While yes, we made the videos for the students, the real audience was iU; it felt good to be recognized at home base.
Another favorite was going to Cannes as a member of the CMF team in 2013. It’s an incredible experience, and it was so amazing to go back as an official employee after having started my relationship with iU there two years prior. I got to celebrate my birthday there with the team, and Vijay even recorded a (very) unofficial vlog of me which resulted in one of my favorite iU inside jokes/catchphrases: CMF is over.
I wrote a blog during my first CMF tour which has many more memories.
What is the most fulfilling part of your role here?
Playing a part in solving problems, big and small, and seeing the appreciative reactions to those solutions.
What are your hopes & dreams for the future of the industry we work in (content creation/ TV & Film production)?
I hope Atlanta continues to grow as a hub for our industry. I want to continue to see more diversity in TV/Film so we ensure that all people in our world feel seen and heard. I want to see more women recognized and leading the charge in making great content.
What are you passionate about?
Popcorn; Coca-Cola; Hufflepuffs; good food experiences (cooking myself and dining out); reserving my introvert energy; staying on top of things and one step ahead if possible.
Who, or what, inspires you?
Perhaps cliche here at iU, but great film and great TV inspires me all the time. Editing especially.
There’s an editor on Youtube named Gen Ip who used to cut together mashups of the films from the year. The videos always blew me away because 1) the editing work is incredible and 2) I was able to remember and appreciate all the films of the past year. Even if the films weren’t “good,” Gen has a way of highlighting the awesome moments within. Gen is also a woman (heck yeah!) who has gone on to cut trailers and teasers for high-profile content. She is still flying under the radar; honestly, it’s hard to be recognized as a film editor and it seems like they rarely get credit, but Gen is doing truly amazing work and I admire her immensely.
Also, my late grandfather. He was an incredibly good man with a true heart for people. He worked really hard and reacted with kindness and love in almost every situation. I can’t think about him without tearing up.
What’s one thing that no one in the iU family knows about you?
When I was a kid I used to want to be a writer. I wrote many short stories and started working on my own novel. I’m technically published in a collection of writings called “O, Georgia Too!,” which includes a story I wrote in 5th grade. My affinity for writing continued throughout my school years, and I found a certain enjoyment in writing papers.