2 Minutes With ... Ian Grody, ECD at Giant Spoon

On Kurt Vonnegut, Lovecraft Country Drive-In and Bleed for the Throne

As executive creative director at Giant Spoon, Ian Grody combines his experience creating TV shows and building campaigns to help brands tell better stories. Leading creative across both coasts, he has built in-world narratives for the likes of HBO and helped bring brands like YETI and Synchrony into the spotlight.

Before joining Giant Spoon in 2018, Ian spent five years at Kettle, where he led the company's content arm, focusing on Apple, Netflix, L'Oréal and Oakley. Prior to that, he honed his storytelling skills, working on ads and promos for indie film distributors, startups and brands. A dramatic writing fellowship alum of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, Ian also developed and sold superhero series, dystopian thrillers and country musicals to networks like MTV, SYFY and CMT.

We spent two minutes with Ian to learn more about his background, his creative inspirations, and recent work he's admired.

Ian, tell us...

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

I grew up on Long Island. Now, I live in the West Village.

How you first realized you were creative.

Sitting at my first grade desk, pulling objects from the classroom into the story I was writing. Something clicked.

A person you idolized creatively early on.

Kurt Vonnegut. His books showed me how silliness and soulfulness could live side by side; and how silliness can satisfy and disarm cynics, so you can deliver more meaningful, more serious ideas. I try to carry that philosophy into my creative, even my relationships.

A moment from high school or college that changed your life.

In college, I learned how movies work—what they look like when you pop the hood and see what makes the car go. It's shaped the way I look at every kind of story.

A visual artist or band/musician you admire.

Visually? John Currin, Edward Gorey, Maira Kalman and Tim Burton. And whoever makes the salads at Via Carota.

A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.

La Haine. I hadn't seen it before! Interior Chinatown was a pretty wonderful book.

Your favorite fictional character.

Roger Thornhill. Can you beat Cary Grant as an ad exec on the run?

Someone or something worth following in social media.

Kennedy Yanko. I love her sculpture; she builds these beautiful paint skins. Oh, and Magical Realism Bot. The best.

How Covid-19 changed your life, personally or professionally.

Covid's a magnifying glass. I didn't change as much as I recognized the extreme good and the extreme challenges in my life.

One of your favorite creative projects you've ever worked on.

HBO's Bleed for the Throne. It was all about purposeful provocation. An experience on the subject of sacrifice where the cost of admission was a pint of blood.

HBO | Bleed #ForTheThrone
A recent project you're proud of.

The Lovecraft Country Drive-In. The details of the experience were special. Faux out-of-home, 100+ minutes of original audio, all full of commentary. To me, the work felt like an extension of the show, not an IRL commercial for the show.

HBO | Lovecraft Country Drive-In
Someone else's work that inspired you years ago.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Jonathan Franzen, Zadie Smith and Michael Chabon. The authors who made me want to write.

Someone else's work you admired lately.

Paul Mazursky. I watched Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice the other night—whoa! You don't see as much amazing satire today. Or maybe I don't. But this felt tonally perfect. Ridiculous and profound in all the right places.

Your main strength as a creative person.

Strong opinions.

Your biggest weakness.

Strong opinions.

One thing that always makes you happy.

Ted Lasso. And my kids. But also Ted Lasso.

One thing that always makes you sad.

A refrigerator without seltzer.

What you'd be doing if you weren't in advertising.

Nothing that requires heavy lifting.

2 Minutes With is our regular interview series where we chat with creatives about their backgrounds, creative inspirations, work they admire and more. For more about 2 Minutes With, or to be considered for the series, please get in touch.

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