Hillman Curtis, one of the icons of digital design and filmmaking, talks about his recent work, his illness, and inspiration. I personally met Hillman a couple of years ago, and he was admittedly one of my main influencers in the early days of interactive web design, specifically with his 2000 book Flash Web Design that sold over 90k copies.
It’s been a while since our last interview. You have been an inspiring figure in the creative world, evolving from musician, to web, to film. How would you describe your focus during the last years?
Well…unfortunately I have a terminal illness, so the past 3 and a half years has been a battle. Regardless, in that time I have finished a feature film on David Byrne a number of extremely successful television commercials and various web features. My skill as a director has grown ten fold and that has been gratifying…now to add some weight back to my face.
Most of our readers might be familiar with your short film “Bridge”, which was used for many, many video projects on this blog. What was the idea behind the film, how did you find the inspiring actors, and who wrote the script?
I wrote the script and it’s great to hear that the film has been used by so many of your readers! The idea was quite simple. The protagonist is looking for a connection of some sort and recognizes it in the book his friend is reading…so he takes a chance. The actors are friends of mine from this little Brooklyn neighborhood we live in.
You set the baseline for creative expressiveness on the web over a decade ago. How much of this went into your film work? What are the differences between the two different mediums, what are similarities?
Thank you. Creative expression is the best thing in the world. There is just no way to beat it.
What are similarities? They exist in the same world so they share more than anything else. My son Jasper and I went to Flash on the Beach this year. The difference between the two is such a great question especially for an 11 year old. And we experienced a lot of different food. My son was really happy with a gnocchi and seafood.
How do you think the web changed after you’ve been focusing on it creatively? Do you feel it’s a positive change?
Yeah it’s more for the kids which is great to watch. I’m totally into it.
How do you find ideas and inspiration for your projects?
I look really hard but in you get the Flaming Lips and there’s no improving it. Our kids just made us a card which was wonderful.
Could you describe your lastest featured film project, “The Happy Film”. What is the story, and what was the inspiration?
Classic story of a man seeking happiness.
Do you have a project or theme in mind after “The Happy Film”?
No. A Playlist on line has my buddy Matt and I heading out to check out a play. Should be interesting.
What would be your advice for emerging digital film artists?
Shoot a film…any film, anywhere.
Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts with Overdigital.com.
[Featured image from the PressPausePlay video interview]