2 Minutes With ... Kai Hasson, Founding Partner and Creative Director at Portal A

His creative picks, from YouTube Rewind to Jack Black

Photo illustration by Ashley Epping

In his role as creative director at Portal A, Kai oversees the development and creation of all of the agency's branded and original content.

In his spare time over the past year, he also wrote and directed a short film, Robu, about an American teenager in Tokyo on a quest to find a lost manga and a connection with his father.

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

Kai, tell us...

The town where you were born, and where you live now.

I was born in Berkeley, California. I live in Los Angeles.

What you wanted to be when you grew up.

A film director.

How you discovered you were creative.

I still make that discovery. For me, it's not a given unless I'm actually making something.

A person you idolized creatively growing up.

Bill Watterson.

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

Getting the assurance from my parents that I could pursue what made me most happy.

The first concert you saw, and your favorite band or musician today.

First concert: Crosby, Still, Nash & Young. Favorite musician today: Thom Yorke.

Your favorite visual artist.

Akira Kurosawa.

Your favorite hero or heroine in fiction.

Indiana Jones, but sometimes I think he's real.

The best book you've read lately.

On Writing by Stephen King. Very, very scary.

Your favorite movie.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, duh.

Your favorite Instagram follow.

My mom.

Your favorite creative project you've ever worked on, and why.

I've gotten the privilege to work on YouTube Rewind for the last … I guess it's been almost 10 years. We turned a platform's year-end video into a must-see property—we're talking uppercase B viewership, not M—that can ignite the internet world on fire. It's been a crazy experience and something that has shaped the way I think about the internet. 

Your favorite creative project or two from the past year, and why.

I'm really proud of the work we've done with two Clorox brands, Brita and Glad. We were able to create tentpole work with amazing talent, draw millions of eyeballs, and most importantly—for me—have a ton of fun making it all.

Someone else's creative project that inspired you years ago.

BMW Films.

Someone else's creative project that you've been envious of lately.

Everything Jack Black is doing on YouTube. I watch it all. It's so smart and always in his voice.

Your main strength as a creative person.

Communicating ideas so they feel undeniable … even if I'm still working it out in my head.

Your weakness or blind spot.

Even though I'm digital through and through, I still have trouble keeping up with all the latest. There's just so much!

One thing that always makes you happy.

Mexican food.

One thing that always makes you sad.

Making good content without a good distribution plan.

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

Motorcycling through Southeast Asia.

Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd was editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio from 2018 to 2023.

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