Lost the plot?

January 9th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

I can find it.

I am a writer, designer, interactive strategist, user experience guru, and performer who uses story as a tool to design interactive experiences and create engaging entertainment.

For 20 years I’ve worked in diverse creative and leadership roles on cutting edge projects for companies such as ABC News, The BBC, Coca-Cola, ESPN, Reuters, Viacom and Vogue, helping them to define narratives for compelling customer experiences.

My success in helping companies achieve their unique goals comes from my underlying passion for creating wicked cool entertainment, from some of the best direct-to-video horror films to come out of the 1990s to award-winning commercial campaigns for ILM commercial productions and EIDOS, from webisodes such as Teen Nick’s “Exit Strategy” to the recent feature films “Ghost Club“, “Blood Junkies” and “Resurrection Men”.

I co-founded Small Media Extra Large, a hybrid agency with interactive, social media, and video production capabilities that creates captivating websites, mobile apps, games, web series and advertising.

On Social & Viral Marketing

June 26th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

I was recently asked about using social marketing to make branded content more discoverable, and how to use social to foster a deeper level of engagement with a brand. They asked for examples. Here’s my off-the-cuff answer with some hemming and hawing of course–what consultant doesn’t like to hem and haw?

Can a Brand Go Viral?

This is still kinda a tough one. Despite what you’ve read everywhere on the web social is still an emerging space, and brands are still trying to figure out how to make it work for them. I think the most effective current strategies are to emulate the things that work for individuals who are creating their own personal brands through their engagement with social. AKA, find someone who is doing something really interesting, and successful, and copy it. One example of this: I have recently seen a campaign in my Tumblr feed by Holiday Inn, which seems to be copying Humans of New York:


Humans shows up in people’s feeds because it gets shared, and because they like the page, and then you read them because we love to read about each other, we love each other’s stories, we love to see all the ways we’re connected. Holiday Inn shows up in people’s feeds because they pay to be there. But they’re trying to associate their brand with the human story angle, with a dash of upworthy ‘we’re all in this together’, and hope that association sticks. The trouble with this for me is that Humans comes out of one person’s passion, and his singular focus doing what he loves to do, whereas the Holiday Inn campaign is obviously cooked up by an ad agency. It doesn’t feel honest, because it’s trying to sell that you should stay at Holiday Inn by telling these human stories. To me the various Dove campaigns–The Real Beauty Campaign including the Real Beauty Sketches web videos–are still the absolute best when it comes to this kind of thing, because they aren’t selling Dove at all. They are asking questions about beauty that women are currently trying to come to terms with–body image, age, etc. That said, there are still tons of critics out there who have all kinds of negative things to say about the campaign. In a post Marshall McLuhan world we just have a hard time trusting big brands to be the keepers of these difficult conversations, or to be the representatives of these values.

How About Mini-Viral?

I think the current challenge with social is that we don’t tend to think of it in a targeted way–going viral is the antithesis of targeting after all–but I think there could be another approach, which is to think of mini-communities that you can offer actual value to, and attempt to go viral within that mini-community. Mini-viral? It’s not sexy, but one of the things I learned working on a recent project for a company specializing in workplace law is that they are constantly writing very specific blog posts, and articles about changes in workplace law in the different states, and concerning different topics, and then basically giving all that great insight, and information away for free on their blogs, and newsletters. And then of course posting all that to LinkedIn, and Twitter. A series of user interviews led me to understand how much HR professionals, and corporate lawyers eat that stuff up. It’s apparently tricky to keep abreast of all the changes in law that affect the workplace–e-cigarettes being one of the things that’s changing all over the country right now–and rather than have to read law journals, and court decisions, etc. these lawyers, and HR folks just want someone smart to sum it all up, and tell them how these changes affect them, and the companies they work for. They subscribe to the feeds, and newsletters of the firm I was working for, and then do a morning read of all the new articles that apply to them. They create a relationship with the firm through these articles, and then, when the firm wants to do something a bit more marketing focused–like promote a new event, or conference–that goes in the feed too. The users are more likely to be interested in these events because they already have a relationship with the company, and might even feel a connection to one of the firm’s representatives who will attend the event because that person may have authored one of the articles they’ve read, and found useful. And, of course, the firm continues to showcase their expertise in all aspects of workplace law through these articles, which is marketing in its own right. They are constantly communicating their expertise. I think for a big brand wanting to increase discoverability and engagement the idea would be to offer some kind of actual value to users, like the firm I worked for does. Provide information that that audience can actually use. Identify specific user segments, identify their very real desires (what they aren’t getting right now content wise), and then figure out how the brand can provide that information. De-emphasize marketing, make information and analysis the most important thing, and then get these user segments to subscribe to their specific feed, and then, and only then, market events etc. to them sparingly. I think the only other option is to do something like Holliday Inn–figure out the emotional and aspirational messages that the brand is aligned with, and then figure out a fun way to reinforce that alignment through some kind of clever social campaign, like the way YouTube is currently marketing itself as the voice of young women: http://www.tubefilter.com/2014/04/08/youtube-nyc-subway-ads-michelle-phan-bethany-mota-rosanna-pansino/ Or the Dove beauty campaign perhaps. But that’s not something that’s easy to pull off. To me, the key is always:

  • Figure out who your audience is
  • Try to understand what they want
  • Figure out the simplest, easiest, lowest cost way to give it to them
  • Determine the ways that giving it to them helps meet business goals
  • And then line ‘em up

Come See Keekwyn & The Hackers!

May 9th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Keekwyn & The Hackers at Bowery Electric

Come see us! Here’s the deets:

June 3rd, 9pm

The Bowery Electric
327 Bowery, New York, NY 10003
Doors 6:30, Show 9pm
$8 ADV, $10 DOS


February 5th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Just finished the first F*CK UP Design workshop (now calling it FCKUPdesign) and had such a great time that I decided the whole F*CKING endeavor needs a home. AKA a page on this very website.

And, if you’re interested, here’s the full presentation that I (mostly) got through today:


January 30th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

My workshop at Interaction 14 is less than a week away. I’m hoping to come out of the half day workshop with an outline for a F*CK UP Manifesto that shows how failure can be a powerful part of the design process. Take a look. Join me. Let’s F*CK UP together.

I’ve been translated!

January 28th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink



A couple of years ago Andy Pratt and I wrote a book. It’s just been translated into Spanish, Korean, and Taiwanese. Whoa.

How do we incorporate mistakes into the design process?

January 11th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Come to Amsterdam and help me define a Mistake Manifesto.


Wednesday 09:30 HKU Hilversum
Morning workshop by Jason Nunes

If good design requires failure, how can designers f*ck up when failure isn’t considered an option?

Edison famously said, “I failed my way to success.” In the interactive world, we’ve all heard the buzz phrases about failing fast, and how failure–particularly in the form of prototyping–can be a powerful design tool. But what about real failure? We’ve all experienced projects that never got off the ground, or crashed and burned stunningly. We don’t put them in our portfolios. We only talk about them when we’ve had one drink too many. What can we learn from our embarrassments? And are there really things we can learn by failing, especially in the agency and consulting worlds, where we are hired for our expertise, and infallibility?

Questions to think about:

Can there be actual power, and knowledge in failure? What is your biggest failure, and what did you learn from it?

What are the different ways you can fail? Have you ever had a “successful” project that was a personal failure? Why? What can you learn from it?

Why are we so afraid of failing? What are the negative consequences of failure? And how can we encourage a positive viewpoint on failure?

How can we pull victory from the flames of defeat? How do you not panic when you sense yourself failing? How can you use your failure to inform future successes?

How can we build an acceptance of failure into a design or consulting practice? How can we get away from always having to be right, and move towards creative adaptability?

Help us (Keekwyn & The Hackers) record our first EP

December 5th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink


Not sure if y’all are aware, but I’m in a band, we’ve been playing together for about a year, have written a baker’s dozen of songs, have gigged all around Brooklyn, and starting to do so in Manhattan, and now we’re ready to record our first EP. And, if we can raise enough, make a video, and even record a full album.

Like most creatives here in the age of the deconstructed entertainment industry. we’re doing some crowd sourcing. Yay!
Check out our campaign:

Thanks for the goose in the ass, NANOWRIMO

December 1st, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

National Novel Writing Month is up, and I have written another one. Though I’ll be the first to admit this time is different. I’ve done NANOWRIMO two times before this, once I wrote an incredibly messy, and incomplete memoir about graduating from college, and moving down to LA to work in the low budget film industry making horror movies, and the second time I wrote a bunch of outline and backstory stuff for a screenplay that I never went on to finish. This time though, I actually wrote a whole novel, with a beginning, middle, and end. It’s fiction. It’s finished, well, at least the incredibly messy, overwritten, and probably hopelessly flawed first draft is. But it was so much fun to write, and read actually, as I was writing it, so I don’t even really care about any of that right now.

So, once again, thanks for the goose in the ass, NANOWRIMO!  And if you’ve ever thought you had a novel in you, you might consider giving NANOWRIMO a try when it comes around again next November.

The Ghost Club – Join the Hunt Initiative

October 7th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Check out The Ghost Club’s Join The Hunt initiative, a transmedia story scape, and alternate reality game that teaches you how to ghost hunt, and encourages you to post your photos, video, and audio, and vote on who’s captured the most compelling evidence of the existence of ghosts.

Welcome to The Ghost Club Join the Hunt initiative.
The Ghost Club was founded in 1860 at Trinity College, bringing together teams of skeptics and believers like Arthur Conan Doyle, and Harry Houdini. Our mission is to investigate ghosts and psychical phenomena to gather hard scientific evidence to prove the existence of the paranormal. Today the main brach of the North American Ghost Club work as investigators for a ghost hunting reality TV show. Here on the Theatrics platform we’ve collected stories, and video outtakes from the show, so you can meet us, and learn about what we do.
Welcome to our next initiative. We are crowd sourcing ghost hunting, and we need your help. Over the next month we will teach you how to ghost hunt with out Ghost Club University how-to, and tips and tricks videos, and posts. We then encourage you to post your evidence here, and to our Ghost Club Wikia where we’re gathering all evidence we’ve found to date on ghosts, and hauntings. Over the course of the next few weeks we’ll all review the evidence together, and vote on what we think is the most compelling.
How do you get started? Simple. Create a Theatrics account, and post a photo of yourself. Over the next 4 weeks we’ll post additional information, and give you specific calls to action to help us hunt. We’ll help you along the way by posting an Alternate Reality ghost hunting game, and showing you how we perform our investigations with some premium webisodes.
When you’re ready, you’ll be encouraged to go on your own hunt, and post the evidence here. Then we’ll all vote to determine the best evidence.
We’re excited that you’re on board to help us out. We can’t wait to see what you find!
Good hunting.

Vote for F*CK UP Innovation on the SXSW panel picker

August 19th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

I just submitted another interactive panel for 2014 SXSW called F*CK UP Innovation.

Edison famously said, “I failed my way to success.” In the interactive world, we’ve all heard the buzz phrases about failing fast, and how failure–particularly in the form of prototyping–can be a powerful design tool. But what about real failure? We’ve all experienced projects that never got off the ground, or crashed and burned stunningly. We don’t put them in our portfolios. We only talk about them when we’ve had one drink too many. What can we learn from our embarrassments? And are there really things we can learn by failing, especially in the agency and consulting worlds, where we are hired for our expertise, and infallibility? – See more at: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/19144#sthash.imS0icVU.dpuf

If you like the idea, please vote for it. Thanks!