Create Advertising's Jonathan Gitlin on Black Panther, FX, and the Advent of Web3
Jonathan Gitlin began his journey at Create Advertising Group almost 16 years ago as an intern while in art school. Over the years, he went on to become a motion graphics designer, creative director, and ultimately, partner and president of the company.
Jonathan is also founder of Create Better, the cultural council of Create Advertising that is dedicated to improving the cultural competency of the agency. The council supports projects of substance and oversees philanthropic and mission-driven initiatives, to which Create proudly donates the talents of the agency.
We spoke with Jonathan for our Backstory series, where we chat with folks in the entertainment industry about their creative inspirations and more.
Jonathan, tell us...
Where you were born, and where you live now.
Born in Valley Village and currently live in Studio City.
Your first job in the industry.
I was an intern in the design department here at Create Advertising.
A breakthrough moment in your career.
Winning the Golden Trailer Award for Best Motion Graphics for the Hitman teaser. I was only about a year into my career at the time, and I worked on it with my good friend Jake Black. It was the first big thing I'd done at Create and was the beginning of what has turned out to be a lifelong creative collaboration with Jake.
Three movies you couldn't do without.
Your favorite movie quote.
"Wait, Master, it might be dangerous ... you go, first." —Igor from Young Frankenstein
Your favorite movie trailer or poster.
My favorite trailer of all time is the one we cut for Black Panther, which won Best of Show at the Golden Trailer Awards. Of course, any time you get to work on a Marvel movie it's exciting. As epic as Marvel always is, being part of the Black Panther campaign felt like being part of something even bigger; even more special. The film is so important for so many reasons, and we wanted to do it justice.
A classic TV show and a recent TV show that you loved.
My favorite classic is I Love Lucy. As far as I'm concerned, Lucille Ball is simply one of the best comedians who ever lived. Her style of comedy and the show itself were both just so unique. When I was a kid I could watch it for hours on end, and to this day the comedy and stories in each episode still hold up.
On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, my current favorite show is Euphoria. Oh man, what a wild ride!!! Euphoria is just so incredibly original. The story is gripping, the performances are incredible, and the way it's stylized is visually stunning.
A recent project you're proud of.
I'm extremely proud of the work we did on the FX Masterbrand. Start to finish it was a six-year journey to build an iconic identity for the network, and it challenged us to take the guardrails off our own thinking and reinvent the way we approach brand design. In partnership with FX's design team, we created a one-of-a-kind graphic shoot that tapped into our wildest imagination, deepest technical ambitions, and has leveraged every tool in our creative stable to build the FX brand—both figuratively and physically. Along the way, we collaborated with a powerhouse team of artists, builders, 3-D printers, production teams, VR experts and visual technologists who worked in entirely new ways to deliver groundbreaking results and share their A-game with FX.
Someone else's project that you admired recently.
I loved the spot "Everyone but Jon Hamm" for Apple TV+. The spot is so smart and well done. But what makes it even better is that I found out that my good friend Katie Cali cut it! I was just so proud of her and loved that her work was getting so much buzz.
One thing about how entertainment marketing is evolving that you're excited about.
I'm eager to see how Web3 (crypto, NFTs, the metaverse) affects entertainment marketing. I find the ways that technology is opening up entirely new possibilities for how we experience, market and memorialize entertainment totally fascinating. It's challenging us to think about the content we produce differently, and that's what's most exciting about it. We now have brand new sandboxes to play in!
What would you be doing if you weren't in entertainment marketing?
A lawyer. Thank God that didn't happen! I took the LSATs and was on track to go to law school, thinking I'd follow in my dad's footsteps. But then I did a total pivot and enrolled in art school and I've never looked back. Best decision I ever made!