Cool Creators You Suck at Photoshop masterminds want to push the Internet envelope
INTERVIEW BY RODGER PILLEDonnie Hoyle is so not cool. He’s bitter. He’s condescending. He’s mean. He’s the unlikely host of one of the Web’s hottest tutori al series, You Suck at Photoshop.
Take his greeting from an episode last season: “Hi, my name is Donnie, and you suck at Photoshop. Let’s waste another five or six minutes of my life and see if we can do something about it.” That’s just not nice. Or this outburst during a recent episode: “What’s that on your head? Oh, it’s just some extra stupid that could n’t fit inside of your head. My bad. Are you sensitive about that?” In a lot of ways, Hoyle has no business being men tioned in the “cool” issue of any publication. For starters, he’s a misanthrope. He’s also a figment of the imagina tion. A make-believe character. A whim. But don’t dare mention that to local creators Troy Hitch and Matt Bledsoe.
They’re the brains behind the idea, and if they have it their way, Donnie Hoyle — in all his fictitiousness — will help them challenge all the current and decidedly lazy Web conventions, pushing the creative envelope for origi nal Web content, brand marketing and product interactiv ity.
Maybe Donnie Hoyle is cool after all. Hitch and Bledsoe are the creative directors at Big Fat Brain, a small ad agency in Covington. But they work with companies all over the map, including enterprise tech companies in San Francisco and Irvine, Calif., as well as Paramount Parks, Virgin Life Care and iRobot, a consumer robot company based in Boston.
Small agency, yes, but they’ve made their presence felt in the four years since they opened shop, collecting a truckload of Webby and Stevie (American Business Awards) trophies. They’ve also been featured in Time magazine, The Los Angeles Times and countless Web design magazines and blogs.
That kind of publicity is bound to springboard Big Fat Brain from traditional Web and graphic design work, their bread-and-butter for the past few years, to the provocative work they really want to focus on: high qual ity, well-written, creative films that can be seen only on the Web. But it’s hard to describe that to potential clients “because no one is really doing this stuff yet,” Bledsoe says. “We’re one of the first companies to dive in head first.”
Their two marquee projects to date — the aforemen tioned You Suck at Photoshop series and another called Greg the Architect — should help. Brash, funny and full of marketing possibility, they serve as Big Fat Brain’s calling card when new business comes calling.
You Suck has been described as a new genre of Web video: the mockutorial. Imagine if Christopher Guest made “how to” Web videos.
It’s an oddball blend of real-world expert advice on
PHOTO: JOE LAMB
Matt Bledsoe (right) and Troy Hitch use their big fat brains to get creative on the Web.