Black Eye, a design and marketing communications agency, is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year. Founded in 1997 by SMU alumnus Chris Stewart (’95, ’97), the agency works for a wide range of clients–from national, blue-chip companies to small local businesses.
To help mark their anniversary, the creative team from Black Eye took the afternoon and evening of October 2 to work with SMU advertising students. Coordinated through SMU Advertising Professors Mark Allen and Willie Baronet, they first assisted in an Advanced Portfolio Critique and later provided an in-depth look at their company and agency-life during a workshop.
“There is nothing like ‘real world’ experience and stories to get our students excited and motivated about their careers,” TAI Professor Willie Baronet said. “Black Eye did a fantastic job of sharing their work, creative approach, and how they got where they are. The students and faculty really enjoyed and appreciated their time and wisdom.”
Black Eye provided food and beverages at the event, which was attended by approximately 25 TAI students. Students were especially interested in advice from creative professionals how to set their portfolios apart, and the differences between working in larger agencies versus smaller studios.
“We’ve never had an entire firm close up shop so they could bring the whole creative team over,” TAI Professor Mark Allen said. “I know our students really appreciated it.”
“We wanted to take a break from our day-to-day, reflect on everything that’s transpired over the last 20 years and give back a little to the University where it all started,” Steward said. “We really enjoyed the experience of working with the students and think they will have bright opportunities.”
The students at Temerlin Advertising Institute greatly appreciated the opportunity to meet and work with creative professionals in the industry.
Many students take on the impressive challenge of double majoring or completing a 4+1 program during their college careers. TAI student Ryan Blitzer has been able to do both in his four years at SMU. Last May, after his third year at SMU, Blitzer completed a BFA in Film & Media Arts. This May, he will be graduating with a Masters degree in Popular Film and Media Studies along with another Bachelors degree in Advertising.
“I will be the first to graduate with a new +1 MA in Popular Film and Media Studies,” Blitzer said. “I actually completed my undergraduate degree in film in 3 years, so I’ll be graduating in 4 years with my Masters degree from SMU. The program focuses on application of techniques and commonalities among different types of film. The classes often help to drive specialization of a study of a certain genre (i.e. horror), and most who graduate with this degree will pursue a Ph.D. in Film. While the program does not have a lot of production, I’ve been able to take electives to satisfy my on-set urges and work 1:1 with professors in the film department. It’s been an awesome experience; I’ve even been able to present in Las Vegas on one of the papers I wrote!”
Blitzer became interested in film in high school when he took a set of classes in TV production, which eventually required him to make short films. From there, he applied to film schools across the country.
“My favorite thing about filmmaking is the ability to connect with people through a medium that people accept readily,” Blitzer said. “The idea that someone could tell a story that truly impacts someone’s life is humbling, and I love that there are so many opportunities to create different types of films.”
Blitzer chose to add an advertising degree later in his college career. Initially viewing the major as a “backup” to a career in film, Blitzer quickly realized that he very much enjoys advertising, especially creating commercials.
“My favorite thing about advertising is that the skills are adaptable to a wide range of applications,” Blitzer said. “Learning to tell stories through one spot or one print ad is very difficult, and when you combine both skill sets [advertising and film] you are able to tell a more cohesive and stronger story that connects with more people.”
During his past four years at SMU, Blitzer has had impactful professors that have helped him realize his goals for the future.
“If I were to pick a mentor in each department, for film, it would be Professor Troy Perkins, and for advertising, it would be Professor Willie Baronet,” Blitzer said. “Their support has driven me to be more acutely creative and accelerate the refinement of skills I’ve learned. They really taught me about the stories behind the pretty pictures, and how to form the stories that can impact the most people emotionally and realistically.”
Post-graduation, Blitzer has accepted a paid internship position with Mary Kay and hopes to eventually move into freelancing. He is currently interning with charlieuniformtango, a commercial product and post-production company located in downtown Dallas.
“My internship with charlieuniformtango [CUT for short] has been phenomenal,” Blitzer said. “CUT is mainly known for post-production; several spots they edited were in the Super Bowl this year. I was able to shadow many of the post-production editors, graphics artists, etc., but my principal duties were in production. I worked with several of the directors and executive producers on sets including the Texas Rangers, Mary Kay, Dr. Pepper and Gamestop. Being in a professional environment allowed me to refine skills and see a slightly different workflow to commercial and short filmmaking than what I was used to. I’ll be able to adapt and use those skills in future freelancing.”
Tuesday, February 28, the Temerlin Advertising Institute hosted a public screening and Q&A of documentary “Signs of Humanity” at the Angelika Film Center as part of its 2017 ExxonMobil Lecture Series.
“Signs of Humanity” is a documentary film created by TAI Professor Willie Baronet. The film explores themes of home, homelessness, compassion and humanity as Professor Baronet and his team travel the country collecting over 200 homeless signs and interviewing over 100 people on the streets.
“The event on Tuesday evening really opened my eyes to the important work that Willie is doing, and how many people are willing to help him,” SMU student Dalya Romaner said. “The documentary was beautiful, and I feel that everyone watching it could connect to some aspect of it, whether it was one person he interviewed, or a reason for his project, or even a city he visited. Let’s just say, I now look up to Willie not only as a professor, but as a human being, and a change maker in a world desperately needing change.”
Each year TAI hosts lectures and events as part of the ExxonMobil Lecture Series. The series is one of many ways that TAI advocates its motto “Better Advertising. Better World.” This lectures series helps to promote advertising, media and corporate ethics by hosting events to discuss varying ethical topics that can be related to advertising.
“We are so pleased to recognize the creative work of Professor Baronet,” Steven Edwards, Director of the Temerlin Advertising Institute, said. “Offering the public an opportunity to view ‘Signs of Humanity,’ recognize important supporters of the project, and create a space to spur on the conversation about homelessness is part of our larger mission to positively impact our community.”
Many TAI students, as well as faculty and local industry professionals, attended the event. The night started off with a reception and networking, followed by a brief recognition of documentary creator and producers, the screening of the film, and finally a Q&A with Professor Baronet and other producers of the documentary.
“Willie and his filmmakers did a great job of providing an open-minded glimpse into the world of homelessness nationwide,” Romaner said. “They didn’t come in with preconceived notions, they treated everyone as humans, not as homeless people, and it was beautiful to watch. I really feel that it gave everyone an idea of something small we can all do to help the homeless community around us, even as small as acknowledging that they are humans too. I think the most important takeaway from the film, the event, and Willie himself, is that we need to see everyone as people going through their own struggles, and it’s that commonality that gives us the chance to connect so the world is not made up of ‘us vs. them.’”
Professor Baronet is doing important work to shine a light on homelessness. The event was an opportunity for the entire faculty and Professor Baronet’s students to celebrate what has been his two-year journey to film, edit, and showcase his project. This work has provided learning opportunities for students to reflect on the intersection of art, advertising, film-making, and creative expression in a persuasive context.
“I loved when Willie said in the film that the sign exhibit isn’t about him, it’s about the people he’s doing this for,” TAI alum Mallory Ashcraft said. “As a writer and former advertising student of Willie’s, I related to that inner dialogue, and I was so inspired by the fact that he tells the story of the homeless very honestly. I think everyone needs to see this film, because it showed me that we can all do more to emotionally support the homeless individuals in our communities and cities.”
“Signs of Humanity” is the product of a larger, ongoing art project, WE ARE ALL HOMELESS, which began when Willie purchased his first homeless sign in 1993. The project’s mission is to create a more compassionate world by creating awareness and provoking conversations about people on the streets, and inspiring others to find and implement solutions to the many causes of homelessness.
Learn more about WE ARE ALL HOMELESS and their Impact Campaign here.
Wednesday, December 7, TAI hosted a Portfolio Night & Exhibition to display the work of creative advertising majors in both Concepting and Advanced Portfolio classes. The event was held in SMU’s Owen Arts Center and was attended by over 100 people. The night started off with an opening reception and exhibition viewing followed by a portfolio review.
During the portfolio review, DFW-area industry professionals from over 15 agencies reviewed the students’ creative work. Industry reviewers at the event included Amanda Fowler, The Richards Group; Randall Kenworthy, TM; Gus Granger, 70kft; Jason Shipp, Moroch; Kevin Sutton, Moroch; Matt Lindner, Moroch; Zack Ward, Johnson & Sekin; Kent Johnson, Johnson & Sekin; David Wilgus, The Launch Agency; Anna Lee Doughtie, TracyLocke; Arturo Lee, Dieste; Jose Benitez, Dieste; Raul Mendez, Dieste; Greg Hunter, Firehouse; Michelle Sensale, The Richards Group; Abraham Campillo, The Richards Group; Rob Wilson, Illustrator / Designer; Alan Lidji, Lidji Design Office; Keisha Whaley, LDWWgroup; Jim Sykora, Willow St. Agency; Larry Johannes, Willow St. Agency; Mallory Massa, 3 Headed Monster; Blake Cleavenger, 3 Headed Monster; Travis Hanson, 3 Headed Monster; Ken Koester, KoesterDesign; Ky Lewis, Infinite Agency; Jordan Spencer, Infinite Agency.
“The most common thing I heard from our reviewers over the course of the night was that the work was really strong and only seemed to be getting better and better,” TAI Lecturer and Creative Professor Mark Allen said. “After seeing the work in the exhibition and the portfolio review, I had several agencies ask for recommendations for internships and full-time creative positions. My favorite thing about the whole event is getting to watch the faces of my students light up as they finally get to see their work displayed in an art gallery full of creative professionals who are visibly impressed with what’s on the wall—this is the moment when they understand why I push them so hard; why all the late nights and the seemingly endless rounds of changes are worth it.”
Several of the reviewers were also SMU and TAI alums, which provides students with a familiar perspective and encouragement about where they could be in the future. It also serves as a special experience for the alums themselves.
“Getting a chance to sit on the other side of the SMU portfolio review was quite an experience,” TAI alum and Art Director at Dieste Arturo Lee (MA ’14) said. “Seems like it was only yesterday I was having my book evaluated. The only thing that has changed since then is the level of talent, which [has] gone up exponentially. Can’t wait to see what next semester’s students are able to come up with.”
At the end of the night, Stan Richards Professor in Creative Advertising, Willie Baronet, and Mark Allen presented awards to students who had particularly positive reviews and creative work. The student awards include:
Best Concept – Tiffany Giraudon & Caroline Moss, Bumble
Best Art Direction – Helen Rieger & Tiffany Giraudon, Hypnotic Donuts (campaign) and Morgan Hoff & Caroline Moss, Converse Chuck II Poster (single)
Best Copywriting – Nicki Fletcher & Jennifer Nelson, Lotrimin
Best Graphic Design (TIE) – Sam Butz (Cookie Cottage, Zero Gravity and personal branding projects) and Tanner Thompson (Hotel California and NASA Interplanetary Missions posters)
Best Video/Commercial – Tanner Thompson & Sofie Rosell, Anonymous
Best Digital/Non-traditional – Laura Walsh & Christina Skertchly, 1-800-GOT-JUNK App
Best Overall – Tanner Thompson & Morgan Hoff, Dallas Grilled Cheese, Co.
“It was really rewarding to see all of the student’s hard work being shown off at Portfolio Night,” TAI creative advertising student Morgan Hoff said. “I couldn’t believe how many people came to see our work! It was also a great way to show my friends and family what I’m passionate about. The feedback I received from industry professionals was really valuable too, because it helps me improve my work and helps me understand what agencies are looking for when they are reviewing portfolios. Overall, it was a really exciting event.”
The Bridge’s purpose is to end adult long-term homelessness in Dallas and the surrounding region by developing, coordinating, and/or delivering: Outreach/intake services, Jail diversion/reentry services, Emergency shelter/transitional shelter services, Primary health care/behavioral health care services, Recreational/educational services, Employment income/supported employment income/disability income services, and Affordable housing/supportive housing services.
By doing so, The Bridge benefits the broader community by: Increasing public safety, Increasing public health, Increasing public quality of life.
SMU’s own Willie Baronet will provide the keynote on November 20, 2015 at Breakfast for the Bridge fundraiser.
Willie is a noted artist, author, TedXSMU talker and creative soul. He is the Stan Richards Professor in Creative Advertising at the Temerlin Advertising Institute at SMU. Since 1993, Willie has been buying and collecting signs from the homeless for the purpose of using them in art exhibits and documentaries. These signs and this practice have become a catalyst for conversations about the nature of home, homelessness, compassion and how we see and treat each other as humans.
If you are an adult experiencing homelessness in Dallas, please contact 214.670.1101 for help.
Students from the Temerlin Advertising Institute competed with 18 other universities in the 2015 American Advertising Federation District 10 Convention.
Congratulations to the members of the National Student Advertising Competition Team on their third place finish this weekend!
Led by Professors Peter Noble and Willie Baronet, the students did an amazing job representing SMU and we are proud of all the work that they put forward this semester to make it happen.
Also at the convention, Dr. Carrie La Ferle represented SMU as member of the Keynote panel. Dr. La Ferle along with other noted national leaders from the BBB and FTC presented at the Keynote Luncheon on Advertising Ethics and Truth In Advertising. Way to go SMU!
Finally, TAI undergraduate Sarah Campbell won the AAF 10th district O Joe Russell Scholarship!
Temerlin Advertising Institute Professor Willie Baronet is seeking support via a crowd funding campaign for a coast to coast homeless sign buying trip from Seattle, through LA, to New York.
The goal is buy signs, create a documentary, book, and more!
These signs – and this practice – have become a catalyst for conversations about the nature of home, homelessness, compassion, and how we see and treat each other as humans. It has also heightened my awareness about my own upbringing and home life.
My goal is to buy as many signs and connect with as many homeless people as I can. In addition to the art installations/projects that will result from these new signs, there will be a book and a documentary film of the entire experience. Plus, I’m partnering with the Housing Crisis Center in Dallas to raise money and awareness for their program to help homeless veterans.
Your help is critical. The more people who get involved, the more meaningful the project (and the conversation about homelessness) becomes.