In early June of 1978 I was sitting in the middle of a crowd of rambunctious adolescents at an end of the year assembly at Nevin J. Platt Junior High School in Boulder, Colorado. (To this day, I have no idea who Nevin J. Platt was. I can only assume he was a immature, boring, and sadistic man, since this school was named after him.) We were all anxious for school to be over and summer to begin, but first we all had to endure one last tedious awards ceremony. Being a shy and devoutly unremarkable student, I knew my full attention wasn’t required. But suddenly I saw my favorite teacher, Sigrid Farwell, with her early wrinkles and short strawberry blonde hair, come to the microphone. Of all of the teachers at Nevin J. Platt I had encountered, she most deserved my attention because, although I was convinced she was slightly delusional, she seemed to see some potential in me. I’ll never forget the words she said next, “The winner of next award, for expertise in the film medium . . . Barry Rinehart.”
I was shocked. At first I thought it might be a joke. How could I have won an award? And for something that was, for me, purely fun. I couldn’t believe it. “Expertise in the Film Medium?” Really? Was that even a legit category?
Upon reflection, I’ll concede the word “expertise” seems a tad generous. But you need to understand that, before that year, Ms. Farwell had never taught Introduction to Filmmaking before — so I assume she didn’t have a lot of students to compare me to. As far as she knew . . . I was an expert.
She even admitted on the first day of class when she handed out a curriculum of six projects we had to accomplish in the semester that she had no idea what she was doing – which struck me as an odd confession for a teacher to make. How can you teach us something you don’t know? How did you even get this job? The truth was, I didn’t care. I was so excited to make some movies. But before we were allowed to get our hands on new movie cameras, we had to first show we could tell a story using slides and an audio tape.
Within one week I presented my epic narrative to the class. I flicked off the fluorescent lights and pushed the play button my cassette player. The thrilling French horn wolf theme from Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf began filling the room with dread of the horror to come. I manually advanced the slide projector to the first slide. It was a handwritten title slide, complete with letters dripping with blood, that proclaimed: THE RISE OF IT! It was the tantalizing tale of a newly hatched alien creature (that looked suspiciously like a glob of multi-colored Play-Doh) that, slide by slide, mercilessly murdered my family.
So without realizing it, I was given my first assignment as a Creative Director.(I’ll admit to feeling a wisp of guilt for the slightly disturbing pleasure I received at seeing my little brother and sister covered in fake blood.) And then, as “IT” confidently stode out into my neighborhood to conquer the world, it got run over by a pick-up truck. (It turned out that my Dad only had 17 pictures left on his roll of Kodachrome film, so I had to keep the narrative short and sweet.) Needless to say, the reviews were glowing, and I got an A–which meant I was allowed to checkout one of the new Super 8mm movie cameras and dive into the rest of my projects.
Within four weeks I had completed all the other assignments of the class. A’s on every one. Then, in an effort to keep me busy, Ms. Farwell asked me to help everyone else in the class complete their assignments. However, Ms. Farwell, no doubt sensing my combustible enthusiasm, wisely warned to be careful not to completely take over everyone else’s projects as my own, but to be as helpful and encouraging as I could be to help them all meet their fullest potential. So without realizing it, I was given my first assignment as a Creative Director.
Everyone I helped got an A.
The next semester Ms. Farwell asked me to be her teacher’s assistant (and help her teach the class to a new group of students) (I suppose this was my first taste of being an Executive Creative Director.) We also decided I would direct a documentary film about some of the special needs students in the school called, “I’ve Got A Name.” That film ended up winning a statewide contest and was converted to 16mm and distributed to all the different school districts in Colorado. I was also asked to start making filmstrips for the elementary schools in the Boulder Country School District. They paid $50 a filmstrip, plus expenses. As far as I was concerned, I had made it to the big time.
So when I picked up that bluish 5X7 parchment certificate (signed by both Ms. Farwell and our school principle), I could not have been any prouder. “Expertise in the Film Medium.” It was the ultimate encouragement Ms. Farwell could’ve given that tall, skinny, glasses-wearing teen nerd. I’ll always be grateful to her for it.
What does all this have to do with why I chose to work at Multi Image Group?
Not much as I wish it did . . . but I thought it was important to establish some credibility upfront so you would know you weren’t just hearing from some name-dropping industry schmo, but certified, honest to God, expert.
An expert who, 36 years later, made the decision to leave his lucrative career as a freelance creative director for organizations like eBay Inc., the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the United Nations Foundation, PayPal, and so many more to join up with a creative event firm like Multi Image Group in Boca Raton, Florida.
By the way, I think Ms. Farwell would appreciate my three reasons for joining up.
The first compelling reason was the depth and breadth of talent I saw at MIG.
And by talent I mean there are people (in a variety of areas of expertise) at MIG who think about how things are traditionally done and they come up with fresh approaches that redefine what’s possible. People are using their experience and aptitudes to look for opportunities to refine and innovate. Their talent creates a palpable electricity at MIG that inspires me. They’re transformative thinking shatters limitations and expectations while creating new possibilities. Ms. Farwell seemed to appreciate passionate imaginative thinking.
Second, I have to admit I am dazzled by the technology MIG is working with. They have some really cool toys. And by toys, I mean tools. And by tools, I mean phenomenal communication enhancers. It’s not that they have the very latest gadgets and gizmos (they do), it’s that, the MIG team discovers ingenious ways of utilizing and customizing the technology (even to the point of inventing entirely new ways to use the technology that no one else has tried before) to make a story or message come alive in both subtle and attention-grabbing manners. This innovative research and development mentality has been responsible for creating unforgettable experiences.
This innovative research and development mentality has been responsible for creating unforgettable experiences.For me, that combination of talent and technology being utilized by MIG means anything is possible. There are no limitations to what can be done. If you can imagine it – you can do it. The ambitious little Junior High School kid in me loves that. It ignites enthusiasm in me to dream, explore, and break new ground. Ms. Farwell would definitely approve of this.
But the real convincer for me—the ultimate factor that most encouraged me to make a decision to step in as the new Executive Creative Director was Multi Image Group’s commitment to serving their clients.
Just as Ms. Farwell taught me not to focus on what I wanted to do, but on helping and empowering other’s to achieve their goals . . . MIG lives this ethic. No one at MIG is trying to be cool (okay, maybe one of the Creative Directors is trying little too hard, but that comes with the territory). Without exception every single person in this company is driven to do whatever it takes to create a flawless success and make their clients look like heroes. It’s not a job. It’s pure, heartfelt, devoted service (which, in my book, is very cool). This company exists to help others shine.
This is why I’m proud to be associated with Multi Image Group and why I’m so confident in their potential and future success.
I believe I made a decision Ms. Farwell would be proud of.