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ZOOLOOK | The FWA Interview 004

ZOOLOOK | The FWA – Interview 004 with Nicholas Da Silva

When we launched the site back on July 25th of 2001, we were relatively unknown to the flash community. However, we still managed to receive about 3 million hits in just a few weeks. I think it has something to do with us receiving the FWA ONE AWARD from FWA.

– Nicholas Da Silva aka ZOOLOOK

The FWA. Please give us a brief bio of yourself.

Nicholas Da Silva. My name is Nicholas Da Silva and I am of Brasilian-American descent.

I spent most of my childhood traveling around the world with my parents, having lived in Brasil, Italy and Saudi Arabia while extensively exploring Europe and Asia. In 1994, I joined Lewis and Partners, an advertising agency where I worked as a graphic designer for 5 years.

I then left the agency to start PaperMotion, a design studio, with my business partner, Turonny Fuad. My personal projects include ZOOLOOK, through which I write my fictional series, DREAD & ALIVE and I Want My Flash TV!, a community site that is dedicated to the support of flash-generated film shorts and animations created by novice and veteran animators, filmmakers, Flash-media developers, storytellers and students from around the world.

When I’m not writing or designing on my Titanium G4, you can find me traveling around the world with my snowboard by my side searching for the perfect snow.

The FWA. What do you do for inspiration.

Nicholas Da Silva. Believe it or not, I get inspired to design after spending a day snowboarding up in Lake Tahoe. Watching movies is also a good source of inspiration for me as well as listening to music. There’s nothing like jamming to Moby, Crystal Method or even some Bob Marley while you’re at the computer.

The FWA. Please list 3 of your favourite sites.

Nicholas Da Silva. (our first recognition);; and flash resource sites); and movie trailers).

The FWA. What do you regard as being your biggest achievement?

Nicholas Da Silva. I would have to say the making of I Want My Flash TV! and the creation of my Dread & Alive series. They are both a labor of love and I really enjoy doing them.

The FWA. What software couldn’t you live without?

Nicholas Da Silva. Wow, there are a few that I can’t live without. Let’s see, Flash, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe Photoshop.

The FWA. What area of web design lacks the most?

Nicholas Da Silva. I would have to say better user interface and more original designs.

The FWA. What projects do you have in the pipeline?

Nicholas Da Silva. I’m currently redesigning my personal site, ZOOLOOK. I plan on producing a flash-animated version of my Dread & Alive series. I’ve also teamed up with my business partner Turonny Fuad and Alyx Park to form Flibbertigibbets, an idea house that will develop, create and produce animated stories for children of all ages.

We’re currently producing our first animated feature that is based on a Korean folktale entitled THE GOLDEN RULE. Also, look for a new version of I Want My Flash TV! to be released in the fall of 2002.

The FWA. Who do you rate as being the top 3 design companies?

Nicholas Da Silva., kioken and (they make great flash videos and trailers).

The FWA. What effect on traffic do your new designs have?

Nicholas Da Silva. When we launched the site back on July 25th of 2001, we were relatively unknown to the flash community. However we still managed to receive about 3 million hits in just a few weeks. Since then, traffic to our site has continued to grow at an incredible rate. Personally, I think it has something to do with us receiving the FWA ONE AWARD from FWA.

The FWA. Who is your target audience?

Nicholas Da Silva. Our audience range from men and women in the age groups of 18-60. Our visitors come from every corner of the world. It’s really amazing. And each time we receive a member to our site, they always have something nice to say about the design or the purpose of our site.

The FWA. What did your very first site look like? Is it still online?

Nicholas Da Silva. Gee! I don’t remember. That’s probably because I chose to block it from my memory. Is it still online? I hope not.

The FWA. Have you written any books, if not do you plan to?

Nicholas Da Silva. I haven’t written any books in regards to design. However, I have written 2 books from my fictional series, DREAD & ALIVE.

It’s the story of Drew McIntosh, a dreadlocked Eco-warrior who travels the globe in an effort to protect Mother Earth and all her inhabitants from the Eco-villains of the world.

I’m currently working on a sequel to this series. I’m also writing a new fictional series entitled “HITLESS”. Shhh! More to come!

The FWA. What was the toughest thing you ever did with Flash? How long did you spend on it?

Nicholas Da Silva. It would have to be a 2:00 minute music video for the group Buffalo Daughters. We were asked to concept, create and produce a flash video for the song “New Rock” in one day. Amazingly, we pulled it off and were very pleased with the final video. It isn’t online anymore but does appear in our company demo reel.

The FWA. Do you think Flash is here to stay?

Nicholas Da Silva. I think so. As long as there are developers out there pushing the limits of their creative abilities, Flash will stick around. Hey, that’s a song. “I’ll stick around! I’ll stick around!” (Foo Fighters).

The FWA. What are your views on design/graphic school. Do you think someone can get into the field without educational experience in a school environment?

Nicholas Da Silva. I definitely think someone can get into the field without educational experience. Some of us are born with the natural talent for art and design. As a child, I can remember spending most of my time drawing cars and designing buildings. I knew that I was going to be an artist when I grew up. I only completed two years of college, majoring in pre-engineering and architecture. I’m very happy where I am in life, and that’s without a degree.

There are benefits of attending design schools such as learning the basic principles of art and graphic design. And with the development of new technology, an individual can stay informed of these trends through graphic schools. Some design schools also offer job placement/assistance which is an added bonus.

The FWA. When your company was just getting started, what did you find was most effective for getting new clients?

Nicholas Da Silva. I would have to say being my own PR person and letting people know what I did for a living. I always carried my business cards around with me. And when I ran into a friend on the street or was socializing at a bar/venue, I passed my card along. It’s very effective. For every action, there is a reaction. Once your card is given to an individual, that individual becomes a potential referral service.

When you do land a new client, you will find yourself playing multiple roles; the designer, the account manager, the production manager and the accounts payable/receivable manager all in one. This is very important if you want to be able to maintain a great working relationship with your client. You should also let the client know that you are there for them. I talk to my clients every week. I let them know what my schedule is like. I inquire if they need anything. I even keep them updated on the latest trends and technology. Clients love you for that. They love it when you make their work easier. Trust me! It works.

The FWA. What is the most expensive thing you’ve bought in the last week?

Nicholas Da Silva. A 1.8GHz PowerPC G5 with 1GB DDR400 SDRAM (PC3200) – 2×512, 160GB Serial ATA – 7200rpm, SuperDrive (DVD-R/CD-RW), ATI Radeon 9600 Pro, 56k V.92 internal modem and the Apple Studio Display (20″ flat panel). Oh, and I also purchased AppleCare! You never, never know. ; )

The FWA. Can you offer any advice for newbies?

Nicholas Da Silva. I would advise newbies to learn the basics of Flash. And it doesn’t hurt to have a personal project to work on while you learn.

The FWA. What type of overcoat do you wear when Flashing, basically are you a labels man?

Nicholas Da Silva. I’m pretty casual when it comes to Flashing. I find lounging around in faded blue jeans and a cool snowboard t-shirt helps me be creative.

The FWA. Any parting shots or pearls of wisdom?

Nicholas Da Silva. Sure… “TINK DIFFRAN MON!”

The FWA. It’s been a privilege, Nicholas, thank you!

Nicholas Da Silva. It was my pleasure. Take care, my friend!

Original Interview by FWA (