2 Minutes With ... Daniel Wesinger, President & Founder of Unfold
Daniel Wesinger is president and founder of Unfold, a leading entertainment design agency specializing in digital creative for movies, video games, TV shows and brands. Unfold has team members across the globe with offices in Los Angeles, Jakarta and New York.
Prior to joining the advertising and tech world, Daniel worked in film production in both L.A. and NYC. He holds a masters from Columbia University and lives in Venice, Calif., with his wife and two kids.
We spent two minutes with Daniel to learn more about his background, his creative inspirations and recent work he's admired.
Daniel, tell us...
Where'd you grew up, and where you live now.
I grew up in Los Angeles, more specifically the San Fernando Valley. Pretty much walking distance from a handful of the Boogie Nights and Magnolia filming locations. I stayed in L.A. for college and moved to NYC for grad school. I also did a stint in S.F., which is where I lived when I started Unfold. I now live in Venice, Calif.
Why did you pursue a career in entertainment?
As a kid I fell in love with the romanticism of movies. My step-grandfather was a Hollywood photographer in the '40s through the '80s. He shot everyone from Marilyn to Brando. Although a different era, his clients were the studios and networks, similar to my work now. The stories he would tell mesmerized me as a kid trying to make it in entertainment.
Three movies/TV shows you couldn't do without, and why.
Singin' in the Rain. I'm smitten by classic Hollywood and adore musicals. Seeing Gene Kelly romp around in the rain always leaves me as smitten as his love for Debbie Reynolds.
Happiness. Life can be dark and complicated—and I've always been attracted to filmmakers with the gift of telling uncomfortable stories beautifully. Life clearly isn't just heroes and villains, and this film does a really good job of living in the grey.
The Big Lebowski. I first saw this movie at USC on the big screen. At the core, it's a classic three-act story about a guy wanting the return of a stolen rug—but the movie also opts to take on many different genres at once, and does so flawlessly.
Your favorite movie trailer or poster.
Far Cry 4's "Reveal Trailer." I know this isn’t a movie—but man, is it good. The way Ubisoft introduces Kyrat, the game's locale, as well as Pagan Min, the villain, is horrifyingly brilliant. This was the first time that a game trailer took me to another place.
One of your favorite projects you've ever worked on, and why.
Watch Dogs 2. It was one of the first times that the sorts of "things" Unfold was pushing for came together, better than we had hoped. For this HTML takeover, we deployed multiple units on a page, and positioned them so they felt like one giant canvas. At the time, no one was doing this sort of stuff.
A recent project you're proud of, and why.
Top Gun: Maverick social content. There was a change in the marketing team at the studio and they stumbled across our original pitch that hadn't gotten much traction. Due to the theatrical release being delayed by the pandemic, the pitch we were insanely proud of got a second look.
Someone else's work, in entertainment or beyond, that you admired lately.
Giant Spoon. They are so smart and good, they leave you mesmerized. They work like their existence depends on it. They sweat the small details while simultaneously reaching for the stars. There will never be a better activation at SXSW than the year they re-built Westworld with hundreds of actors. Who does that?
A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.
Trillion Dollar Coach. A book about Bill Campbell, business coach to Silicon Valley's elite.
A visual artist or band/musician you admire.
Michel Gondry. I would watch his music video DVDs on a loop when I was coming up. I didn't know it was possible to imagine things the way he did. It was next level. In college, I was able to intern for him for two videos in NYC and I never forgot the warmth he exuded to the folks around him.
Your favorite fictional character.
Sammy Glick from What Makes Sammy Run by Budd Schulberg. The book's themes of making it in Hollywood are ageless, and are as relevant today as they were when the book was published in 1941.
Someone worth following in social media.
Scott Galloway, NYU professor, serial entrepreneur
Your main strength as a marketer/creative.
Relentless pursuit of perfection.
Your biggest weakness.
Relentless pursuit of perfection.
Something people would find surprising about you.
Spanish is my first language.
One thing that always makes you happy.
Traveling with Brick Rucker, the other half of Unfold. We started in bedrooms and we now get to enjoy some of the finer things that would have felt unfathomable when we started.
One thing that always makes you sad.
When the lights come up after a movie.
What you'd be doing if you weren't in entertainment.
Something that involves building things—perhaps venture capital and seed financing.