Digital Talent: Honest

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To be Honest means many things: directing, designing, writing, producing, publishing, animating, teaching, photographing and programming—at least when it comes to the N.Y.-based multimedia directing team by that name, Cary Murnion and Jonathon Milott (pictured left to right). "Our favorite kind of project lets us dip into as many different disciplines as we can," says Milott. The duo (repped out of Rabbit and Czar Films for spots and Aarra for multimedia) met as students at Parsons' Communication Design Department and paired up as directors in 1999. Since then, out of their headquarters in New York's Chinatown, they've steadily built up a reputation for memorable work across a variety of platforms.

Digitally speaking, their accomplishments are impressive. In 2005, they participated in R/GA's "Art of Speed" online filmfest for Nike, with the film Shortest Race. More recently, they worked with Amalgamated to create the absurd, certifiably viral phenomenon known as "Rap Cat" for Checkers; and with Goodby, Silverstein & Partners on The Slowskys website for Comcast. "The Slowskys are middle America turtles that like things slow and lo-tech," Murnion explains. "The concept for the site was that they needed to build themselves a website; they just took the 'building' part too literally and actually constructed a physical website." Working closely with Goodby and a modeling team from Fangohr, Honest created from the ground up everything from a "TV that slides out to show the Comcast commercials to the little man that rides around on the hand cranked train on the floor," Murnion says. "We then shot everything in stop-motion to keep the authentic, lo-tech feel, and stitched it all together in Flash to make it run as smoothly as possible. It touched upon many mediums that we love to work in."

"With all of the various media channels that are available to the public, we feel like the more diverse we are, the more we can offer to a client, and the more innovative the end product will be, whether it be a fully integrated multimedia campaign or a viral short film," says Milott. Other recent commercial projects included Nike's "Joga Bonita" viral-turned-broadcast spots, including one featuring Kobe Bryant testing his skills on the pitch, as well as Nokia's "Jealous Computers" and Ford's "Boredom Hurts" campaigns. Currently Honest is working on an effort with Random House to promote Chuck Palahniuk's new novel Snuff, about a has-been hooker hoping to score a gang bang record, and just launched a website for Ugly Dolls, a collaboration with the cult toys' co-creator David Horvath. Next stop, the big screen. This fall, Murnion and Milott are planning to debut in theaters Boob, a humorous horror short about a breast implant gone really, really wrong, produced out of multiplatform film company Blowtorch Entertainment.

What are your biggest challenges today when it comes to working in the digital space?
Murnion: Having the technology enhance the creative instead of limit it. Convincing clients it can be done. We still have to do a lot of tests to prove we can do something, whether it be some new Papervision 3D example or an online game.

The playing field is clearly changing. What kind of advice do you have for designers, directors or creatives looking to remain relevant in the future?
Milott: It still always comes down to having good ideas, no matter how technologically advanced things get.

Who are your biggest creative inspirations?
Milott: Rule breakers. It is really tough to break the rules and make a living, so when we see someone really just break out and say "FUCK YOU RULES!" we get very excited.

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