Yesterday, we had the pleasure of getting some insights about interactive media and how we could make the most of our tracks. Our Creative Thinking professor, Kimberly Cassady, invited another guest speaker. Last time we had Mr. Ken Cills of Machinery Philly. This time we got to meet Mr. Jason Grandelli. Kim and Jason are both Temple alumni and classmates hailing from our very own ad program just a few years prior. Jason graduated from the art direction track and he explained how he ended up as a Senior Interactive Developer at Blue Cadet Interactive.

He spoke about the importance of interactive media being the future, but he framed it through his own life rather than “the industry” and it was really helpful in relating. One thing about advertising that seems counterintuitive of other industries is that we shift positions and companies often. It is a young person’s business after all. Jason believes that if you know everything, then it’s time for a new position. This can be taken literally and figuratively. He advised that we embrace everything related to our tracks even if we don’t care for it. The reason being that there are many things that we take for granted that could be used to our advantage if only we knew they fell under the umbrella of advertising.

Jason started out with a taste for print, but he spent his spare time coding for the web. Eventually he was able to make the transition by putting his skills to use at internships. His story puts a positive spin on uncertainty. I’ve often heard that people graduate with a certain degree and end up doing something really unexpected. Next he spoke about finding a balance and that “money isn’t everything.” I’ve heard before about how important it is to buy into the culture of the company. There will be some compromise involved whether it be income, location, or the nature of the work.

Jason found his fit in interactive because he was “nerdy about it” (his words). He advised us to do the same. He was really gung-ho about coding various languages (java, actionscript, CSS, HTML, etc.) none of which do we learn in advertising. Many of the older uses for those languages are in decline, but he found a way to parlay them into new web 2.0 technologies. Jason’s new passion is working with touch screens and mobile apps which he calls “companions.” Websites should have interactive companions.

He was concerned if his presentation worried anyone. If anything, I was relieved. I get a bit anxious about what a portfolio entails. I’m not passionate about print, but it’s the first and foremost recognized measure of our ability. Overall, what I got from Jason’s presentation is that I’m only boxed in if I think I’m boxed in. Don’t create a box where there isn’t one. I think Kim would agree. It’s good to see Temple alumni doing well and reaching out.