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Looking back 20 years later - New Blood 2000

Tim Dillon, founder of MAKE ROOM and New Blood alumni, talks about what it meant to win and how this influenced his career.

Please tell us about what you do, and where you work?

I’m Tim (Dillon). I’m a creative producer focused on immersive experiences. I founded Make Room last year (2019) as a home for the immersive projects I’m working on here in Los Angeles. Prior to this, from 2013-2019, I was the Head of Immersive Content at MPC (Moving Picture Company) where I produced a wide range of special projects for brands, film, TV, music and social causes, based in LA and New York. Lastly, before this I was Senior Producer at Nexus Studios in London.

Tell us about your journey from entering New Blood to where you are now?

Back in the year 2000, in my graduating year from Middlesex University, I was very happy to have won the New Blood award for a project titled ‘Asylum Seekers’, a short motion graphics film. Created with my design partner and co-winner Peter Masella (hi Pete!), the short film was responding to the brief, which centred around the plight of a refugee dispersal program. Our response was a type and live action film, using reversed audio and picture-over-picture blending to achieve a montage feel. It was inspired by Tomato’s Process and David Carson, who were some of our design heroes at the time.

Pete took a different design path and has spent the last 20 years teaching aspiring young bloods in one of the most deprived areas of East London. Teaching new talent how to navigate through their design journey, becoming resourceful and creative and giving them the best opportunities to progress to highly acclaimed universities and industry places. He understands the benefit his students get from live industry briefs and how important it is for the first steps into the creative world. 

Looking back, twenty years later and celebrating two decades in the creative industry, I’m reflecting on how this award acted as a springboard and influenced the projects I’ve created along the way.

How did New Blood help you get there?

D&AD New Blood set the brief for us with a great deal of insight for what student work could/should be looking at. It was exciting to transition from student work to design aiming to communicate around a real world topic. Also, having this work reviewed by leaders in the design world with decades of experience is very motivating for a first time designer.

What did it feel like to win a Pencil fresh out of university? What did it mean to you at that time?

Winning this early award was a boost to both Pete and myself, two design nerds who couldn’t wait to get into our first jobs. Being able to show the winning work to potential employers and use it as a talking point was more helpful than we knew at the time.

Looking back, what do you think you took away from that experience?

I think this type of project, a design film exploring a social topic, was hugely inspiring to me at this early stage in my career. I continued to look for these opportunities in both commercial design work and self initiated projects. Over the years, I’ve been involved in many socially focused projects, from ‘Coalition of the Willing’, a director-driven film series casting a spotlight on the climate crisis, to ‘This is our Future’ for the Nature Conservancy in California, an event based immersive VR experience highlighting the over fishing of our oceans. Another project I’m very proud to have produced is titled ‘The Last Goodbye’, this was created for the USC Shoah Foundation in California. It takes the audience into a unique VR experience and follows the testimony of Pinchas Gutter, a concentration camp survivor and ambassador for Holocaust education.

What is one thing that New Blood gave you that you couldn't have gotten anywhere else?

New Blood is a forward-thinking organisation and it’s been great to see it evolve over the years, bringing new categories around impact and purpose. The award introduces new talent to design studios making new and interesting work. It’s a great showcase and much needed for all the new talent looking to land their first roles in the industry, especially now.

As someone who employs people, what do you look for in a young creative?

It’s a mix of skills – passion and interest for the work, enthusiasm to learn and collaborate. Humility goes a long way, in a world when everyone is self-promoting 24/7 it’s refreshing to meet talent that can see this is a marathon not a sprint.  I look for designers and artists who understand the value of what has come before while embracing the new real-time and development aspects of how content is being made – this is really key moving forward. A good example of this is Field IO, based in London, who create idents using programmatic design.

As the creative industry is ever-changing and responding to new technologies, how would you recommend a new creative keep up to date with the needs of the industry?

It’s never been easier to pick up new skills and get information quickly. That said, I think there may be too many sources and it can be overwhelming. If I could go back and do anything over, I’d get more involved with design community programs, join more events, collaborate more. My advice is yes, read the industry sites, watch the videos, track what projects are winning the awards and understand what makes these projects great but also make sure to speak about all this with other designers and producers.

What challenges do you think young creatives are facing right now?

We’ve just spent the last three months or so watching the Covid-19 pandemic change the landscape of life, work and everything between the two. When I say change I mean that it’s pulled on the threads that were already there - what does an office/studio culture look like? What type of priorities do our clients have for their messaging and projects?  In this way, this has already been a fascinating and challenging year for business owners and designers.

 My advice is the same for the person looking for a job right out of school and the designer who is already under way with their career - create things, just keep creating. In times of uncertainty, economically and otherwise, it’s something you can lean on.  Learn new skills - game engines, code, animation, type design, shoot slow-mo films on your phone. Keep creating, keep moving.

And if anyone would like a mentor or just some advice - please drop me a line.

40 years of New Blood means 40 years of stories. New Blood Awards is not just an opportunity to get your work seen by top industry creatives, but also great for building your portfolio as you enter the creative industry. For more tips and tricks for emerging creatives head over here. 

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