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Collaboration

m ss ng p eces: Filling The Gaps

m ss ng p eces co-founder Scott Thrift breaks down the benefits of single-minded focus and taking note of the endless inspiration everywhere around us.


m ss ng p eces was founded by Ari Kuschnir and Scott Thrift in 2003. Together, they develop original video programming for clients including Cool Hunting, Wired, lvhrd, GOOD and TED, and, most importantly, are “passionate about the potential of the web to pollinate new forms of storytelling.” Scott Thrift took some time out of his very busy production schedule to speak with Behance about misconceptions regarding online content, recognizing talent and strength in small groups and the reproduction and reapplication of positive project outcomes.

The sheer amount of work being produced by the m ss ng p eces team would be unmanageable at best, if not tackled with a specific, defined gameplan. “We scale up or down in personnel depending on each project. We go into each project with clearly defined expectations, deadlines and goals. My partner Ari and I have been launching schemes and making films as friends since 1999 and as a business now for two years so we are starting to get a firm grasp on how to optimize our efforts for the common good.” In addition to the technical aspects of scheduling, knowing where the team’s strength lies is an important additional aspect. “Know what you’re good at. Find out what you actually enjoy doing and do it, over and over again. If that doesn’t naturally create an organized and organic system of effective operation, I don’t know what will.”

Know what you’re good at. Find out what you actually enjoy doing and do it, over and over again.

The theme of finding “something” to do well, then applying that talent actually found itself as a tangible object, which helps keep the team focused and serious about their projects. “When we started, we started with ‘something’. The idea being that, if I understand how to create and present one thing, one single thing, I could do it again. So sticking to one thing really helped Ari and I get real serious, real fast. Consequently we have found that if you keep doing what you are doing you will get more of what you already have. At the moment I am enthusiastic about the potential of the web to be a new soil for cinema to take root in. I don’t think that has happened yet and I am a little ashamed at the general public notion of online video and I’m interested in creating an authentic cinematic experience that resonates within that space.”

Behind all their work is the drive and focus to create honest, genuine films — and their subject matter often aids in keeping them on track. “When you interview someone like Vestergaard Frandsen who invented, manufactures and distributes the Life Straw and he begins the conversation by saying, “I am in the business of saving lives’ it forces you to search again for the validity in pursuing a career of creating even more imagery in an already corrupt wasteland of images. It’s easy to lose my way with raw information like that to try and decipher. But I happen to believe in Herzog’s cry for a war against inadequate images and find my way back to the task at hand eventually. ”

What surprises me is the sheer amount of inspirational sources that surround all of us all of the time.

A big source of frustration for Thrift lies in often misled perceptions and attitudes towards web-exclusive production. “There is also what I would call a mass delusion circulating the advertising agency sorts in regards to the word ‘viral’. As soon as we hear the word in a meeting a hopeful little mouse dies somewhere in New York. The internet is telling us that we are free to create something wonderful and I believe the web will naturally allow that piece to gain an audience. The best promotional tool is for the piece to shine on, whether one or ten thousand people see it [and] care, it’s real. I understand the current state of media as one that is not created to jump out and snatch people’s attention like a Super Bowl commercial, but to be authentic and genuine and allow the audience to discover its value alone. This theory, whether it is actually true or will be in the future gives me a great deal of hope and keeps my head on the work at hand. Also, the word ‘blog’ has to be one of the most unimpressive uses of the english language so far in the 21st century, it’s embarrassing.”

Running out of inspirational sources seem to be the last thing on Thrift’s mind. “What surprises me is the sheer amount of inspirational sources that surround all of us all of the time. It’s enough to wear you out with all this inspiration inspiring those who inspire. I think about the fact that at this moment James Cameron is trying to figure out how to design a perfect illusion in three dimensional space. Chris Anderson is curating next year’s TED conference.  I just spent a week in Tokyo but didn’t get it until I saw ‘The Taste of Tea.’ Animal Collective has broken their way through some sort of supersonic extradimension. Being conscious of the earth as a whole is becoming hip. Robert Altman made ‘Short Cuts.’ Jodorworsky finally released ‘The Holy Mountain.’ Every episode of ‘This American Life’ is compelling. There is so much great music, brilliant design, cinematic masterpieces, untold literary riches and heart stopping works of art already in the world I sometimes wonder why I don’t just throw in the towel and trim trees for the winter in some small town for the rest of my life. Maybe I will, right after the next three hundred pieces I need to go ahead and finish already.”

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