Digital Talent: Big Spaceship

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Shortly after it was co-founded in 2000 by CEO Michael Lebowitz in a Brooklyn apartment, digital creative agency Big Spaceship became a Hollywood darling. Thanks to its impressive early efforts on websites promoting films like Bridget Jones' Diary and Serendipity, the company literally took off, quickly becoming the go-to web atelier for major film studios looking to give their hopeful hits an online boost. Now nearly 50-strong and based in Brooklyn's DUMBO district, the company boasts an oeuvre of sites, games and promotions for a lineup of features that reads like a trip to your neighborhood Blockbuster: I, Robot, Casino Royale, 300, Grindhouse, The Bourne Ultimatum and 30 Days of Night, to name a few. Not surprisingly, in recent years Madison Avenue has taken a cue from Tinseltown, turning to the Spaceship with commercial projects for clients like Royal Caribbean, Nike and HBO, the latter on the elegant web component of BBDO's ambitious multiplatform "Voyeur" campaign, which allows visitors to a generous glimpse into the lives of big city apartment dwellers.

Although Big Spaceship has all the goods to execute great ideas, "we're not a production company," says Lebowitz. "We define ourselves as a digital creative agency. All our engagements begin with strategy and definition. We equate our offering to a 'design and build' architect'—we not only draw the blueprints, but we also serve as a general contractor." As for the company's favorite tools, Flash is high on the list. "At our core, we are innovation-driven and therefore constantly experimenting with new ways to enable dialogue through storytelling," Lebowitz says. "Flash has made that possible—it's the most flexible and pervasive platform currently available." In preparation for convergence to come, "we've also been working with the Adobe AIR platform to bring whole new experiences and functions to the desktop, which I think represents one of the bigger changes on the horizon," he adds. "For example, what happens if the browser is no longer a monolith and instead becomes atomized based on specific functions or needs?" Whatever skills or interfaces Big Spaceship employs, when it comes to keeping afloat in the digital landscape, Lebowitz believes it's the company's approach that remains key: "Don't fall in love with 'types' of executions—microsites, rich media, etc. Instead, fall in love with the type of thinking this kind of work allows you to do. If you approach challenges in this way, you'll have the flexibility to adapt and innovate around whatever comes next, and thrive in a world that's essentially fragmented."

How do you personally keep up with new developments in technology?
Lebowitz: I depend heavily on my feed reader. A bunch of us at Big Spaceship share all our discoveries as feeds so there's always something new to investigate. All the information and inspiration you could ever want is out there, you just need a good process for sifting through it.

What's the one piece of tech or software that you can't live without?
Lebowitz: I like my MacBook Pro a lot, but other than that it would have to be RSS for the reasons above.
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