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Dewey Reid – Digital Design Director – CNN

Meet Dewey Reid, Digital Design Director at CNN

Video Transcript

What made me choose this career was the fact that my father was in the arts, a lot of my family members were. But I started making movies when I was about eight years old. I saw a movie and I redrew the whole movie and I put it in a cardboard box with pencils and we rolled it through and my dad saw that and he bought a little camera for me and he bought a little editor and I made about two hours worth of movies when I was – from about eight years old until about 14 years old. Then I started to do video and things like that. But I just loved moving images, I loved film, I just have always been a film nut. And animation too.

So I’m an animator and an illustrator. But the funny thing is your career changes as you go through your life and one of the things that I’m kind of known for is that when I get an opportunity I just walk through the door. And it was really a fun career but all of a sudden I got an offer from this strange company – as a matter fact a headhunter called me on the phone and I got off the phone I said to Cindy, you can’t believe who just called me. And she said, who? And I said, it was Microsoft. And she goes, whose Microsoft? So that’s how early on it was. But the thing is is that I took the move to Microsoft. And all my friends were like, you’re nuts, what are you doing? I mean you’ve got the first digital art show, your career is going great, why are you doing this? I said, I don’t know, I think it’s the future. And I said, I think that the whole world is going to change. And so I took that opportunity to do it. So that’s how I went from doing what I really love to doing now what I really love.

If I had a piece of advice for anybody is that when you see an opportunity you just go through that door. Take that opportunity. Because if you sit there and go, should I? Shouldn’t I? Should I? Shouldn’t I? I mean, the door will close. And it happens fast. And it’s really fun. Sometimes you make the wrong move. I’ve made a couple. But you can get out of those. I mean that can change pretty easily.

Well, it’s a long strange journey. It’s about a 30-year plus journey. So right out of high school I went to work for a place called The Peanut Gallery. The Peanut Gallery was all the artists of the 60s. So it was Victor Moscoso and Stanley Mouse and Kelley and I ended up doing Grateful Dead T-shirts and things like that. But I was working and going to college and taking classes in college. So I was taking animation classes. I took theater classes because I really liked film and I thought theater would be a good thing to learn. But I just took random classes, but I also worked in the field the whole time. After that I ended up with kind of a career and I ended up in the film industry and worked with Lucasfilm and worked with a place called Colossal Pictures. In Colossal we did all the original MTV branding and we did Nike and Coca-Cola and I mean everything. We did this one show called Liquid Television.

But during that time what happened is, all of a sudden the computer industry started to come in so we started to do all of our art on computers. And going from doing one illustration every three days to doing three illustrations a day. Which was like a huge change in the industry.

And anyway I was at Microsoft and they ended up headhuntering me into the interactive television group in research under Nathan Werbel at Microsoft. Then they realized that they don’t really have the bandwidth to do interactive television. They said, you can be the creative director of kids Encarta or MSN. And I said, what’s MSN? And they said, it’s going to be our online portal. And I said, what’s an online portal?

So at any rate it was very early on in the Internet and I ended up doing the first three iterations – 3 to 4 iterations of MSN. Designing that and building it. Then I wanted to come back to the Bay Area because I really love the Bay Area. I started working with Red Sky Interactive so we were doing all sorts of interactive things for Coca-Cola and Miller beer and people like that. Then I started my own company and we won about three or four Emmys and we got to be pretty well-known and so then I started getting headhuntered again by companies. Ended up at Yahoo, ended up working with Marissa Mayer who I did my whole design team they did the weather app and the news digest app and probably about 15 to 20 other apps.

And at that time then CNN came to me and I said, wow, here’s a great chance for me to take all my technology knowledge and go back into media. Which is really where my heart and soul was was in media companies. And I didn’t realize because I was 20 years in this technology industry, they don’t understand media like media companies do. So getting back into a media company – and also I also wanted to work in New York. It’s been great. And it’s a great, terrific job. As a matter fact we just released the Apple watch today which was great, March 9. And we’re constantly releasing things every day because the news is constantly coming at us. So we have to move really fast and we have to work with video and we have to work with animation, we have to work with technologies and we have to – so it’s everything I’ve learned in my career is in this one job which is pretty awesome.

I can’t emphasize more that the doing is how you make your life happen. You know, if you don’t, you’re just talking about life. You’ve got to participate.


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