Job Profile: Director of Creative Services

Center Line Productions (CLP) is a multimedia production company in downtown Raleigh, NC. Client’s needs may include interactive educational games for websites, an animation explaining a new technology, or a creative concept and logistical plan for a large expo. Center Line utilizes film and video, new media, event planning and facilitation, and many other media platforms to execute their clients needs – from creative concept to production.

John Lane, Center Line’s director of creative services, answered a few questions for me regarding how CLP is using interactive media…

What are some of you past positions, John?

Animator/programmer, senior animator/programmer, senior marketing strategist/graphic designer.

How is interactive media used at Center Line?

Not to sound snarky, but how is it not? Nearly everything we do ends up on the web (or in the case of desktop applications, are web enabled) and push some kind of user-interaction.

What technology is utilized most to facilitate Center Line’s interactive needs?

  • for video – Final Cut Pro, After Effects and Motion are the most utilized tools
  • for web experience and application – Flash (ActionScript3) is the basis; but that also requires Adobe Air, mProjector or Zinc to publish desktop applications. We combine Flash with HTML. CSS, PHP, Javascript and MySQL for rich interactive experience on the web, as well. In the social media space, we have helped people start blogs and specialized networks, whether on their own site or on an existing framework link Ning of Squidoo.
  • for our 3D needs – Maya, 3DS Max and Cinema 4D
  • The rest of the Adobe Suite – Photoshop, Illustrator, Fireworks and Dreamweaver – are used daily as well.

**This list is by no means comprehensive. Since we follow the philosiphy of “idea first, technology second,” we often have to find new technology to build those solutions.

What are some of the interactive media trends you see on the horizon within your industry?

The biggest is the idea of conversation. Technological barriers have done more than make it easy for people to create and augment online content – it has flattened the playing field of “who can be influential.” So companies who are still thinking that “online” and “interactive” are synonyms – that the web is just another one-way broadcast, medium – will be left behind. Potential fans will simply find a competitor who is willing to truly be interactive – to be open to an online conversation – to go with. Mobile will continue to be more interactive; and those interactions will become more important than your standard web interaction, Mostly because it can be location aware.

What types of skills and experiences do you look for in new hires?

The ability to work with some core technology (whether tools for video production/editing or for web design/development) are important. We simply don’t have the time to let people learn the basics. But just as important is the ability to keep up with the changes and growth of those tools, and to quickly learn how to extend that knowledge into new tools. Also being able to grasp the business goals of a piece is on par with the tech ability. Having the ability to balance business relevance with creative execution is how we differentiate ourselves.

What are some of the interactive media needs of your industry?

Center Line works primarily in the B-2-B space – and there’s a serious lack of leveraging the full power of interactive mediums there. Granted, it is much easier for B-2-C (or consumer facing) brands to launch user-generated campaigns and social networks because their products instill more brand affinity and are generally easier to grasp. But the amount of B-2-B inluentials and purchasers utilizing search and independent options (blogs, Twitter and the like) to do their research during the long sales cycle associated with B-2-B means companies can’t ignore those methods much longer.

What resources do you use to stay up to date on interactive media trends?

From the design perspective, I look at a lot of sites to see what people are doing. Places like,, and are great places to find the cutting edge in interactive design.

From the business perspective, I aggregate and read a ton of blogs and news sites.,, the logic+emotion blog (, and six pixels of separation ( are a few of the places offering unique perspectives on the interactive world. I even pick up AdAge occasionally, because they are a great resource for campaign metrics.

What advice would you give someone planning to pursue a career in interactive media?

I just got done reading The Designful Company by Marty Neumeier and a study from The Creative Group titled Profile of the New Creative Leader. Both support my belief that being well balanced between design talent and business understanding is the most important trait to do something special with interactive media.


Below are a couple of examples of Center Line’s work:

IBM, Ugly IT Theatre

Cliffs Communities, The Cliffs at High Carolina

Spark Plug Games is a gaming company associated with Center Line Productions. Just before last Christmas an “advergame” for Dairy Queen, called DQ Tycoon,  went live.

Many thanks to John Lane for taking time out of his busy schedule to contribute to this blog!!


One thought on “Job Profile: Director of Creative Services

  1. Thanks for letting me be a part of your blog. I enjoyed answering the questions; it gave me the opportunity to better articulate some ideas that I get to share often, but never quite completely. And I hope others find them (at least moderately) useful.

    I’d like to add another link to an article that came out afterward. It’s a great piece on the common myths that surround social media: And, as usual, it’s from a smart person who said many things better than I ever will about things I believe; including that a social media campaign is more than a video contest or Facebook fan page. “A successful social media campaign integrates social media into the many elements of marketing, including advertising, digital, and PR..”

    Thanks again.

    Follow me on Twitter @johnvlane to catch other good links.

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