Featured Alum! Austin Haas
Where are you currently working? (location & company)
Johannes Leonardo, New York, NY
What’s your favorite recent project?
Not so recent now, but we got to make a :90 spot saying goodbye to the famous VW Beetle. The whole experience was a highlight to work on animated spot with a studio I had admired for years, but as a small add on, part of the media buy was the New Years Eve countdown clock in Times Square. It would have been a really standard logo placement, but we had to the idea to incorporate the logo into the clock. So I made this minimal clock using rotating circles as hands that worked around the logo. So when the nation watched from the their living rooms, counting down to the first minute of the new decade, they were watching a clock that I made. It’s a little thing. But a nice moment.
How has your job changed with COVID?
It’s been tough. It can be mentally taxing, and feel unrewarding to see an entire production go by through zoom calls. While we’ve suffered the ability to travel for shoots and truly collaborate with our partners, teams and clients, COVID has been really liberating. I hope that agencies are flexible with the ability to work remote when it’s desired.
What was your favorite KUCD project? What class did you make it in?
Creative Writing. I loved Creative Writing because it was an opportunity to make art and experiment without expectations. I wasn’t expected to be any good at it so the reward was sweeter. There’s a lot of pressure and disappointment that comes with any creative career and I think you need those outlets to keep your balance.
How did your decision to attend KUCD affect the trajectory of your career?
Financially KUCD was my best option. While getting on the radar of recruiters and good agencies took a lot of work, and it’s surly easier to do coming from a bigger AD school like VCU, or Brigham Young, it ultimately comes down to the quality of your work and thinking and how you navigate relationships.
What advice would you give your high school self about choosing a college?
I’d say not to stress so hard. It feels like such a big deal at the time but now that I am a few years past it, collage feels like a small stepping stone. Given the chance I’d try to enjoy it more a second time around.
What is the best part of KUCD?
The versatility of the program allows you to change direction quickly. I picked up a lot of skills like motion, editing, illustration, writing that don’t define my job or necessarily find daily use, but have helped me to stand out or contribute when I otherwise wouldn’t have.
Any advice for current KUCD students?
Model yourself and your expectations off of creatives you admire. Be super honest and diligent with yourself. If something is bad, fix it. If you’re not up to par for a job or internship, figure out where to start and work to get there.