Freelance Melbourne creative Simon Burgin is breaking new ground as a ‘creative technologist’.

Naturally, we wanted to catch up with this intriging creative type (who lists his skills on The Freelance Collective) to hear more about what he’s up to, and hear a little more about this trendy new term he’s using to define his services these days.

Burgin says that ‘creative technologist’ best describes his skillset. Creative technologists generally fall into one of two camps: a techie with creative talent or a creative with a knack for tech. Either way, a good creative technologist has a solid understanding of both fields, according to The Creative Group.

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself – how long have you been offering your skills freelance, and what do you do?

Simon: “I’m a New Zealander based in Melbourne, I’m blond, like to grow chillies in my garden and have an unhealthy addiction to Reddit (I love it)

My skills are as a creative, motion designer, editor, and creative technologist. I’ve been a freelancing for the last three years, prior to that I worked with an experiential ad agency and prior to that, I ran a small production company in Wellington. I’ve been drawn to work with new technology and interactivity in the last few years after discovering it appeases both my creative and geeky sides. I’ve developed interactive projects for Melbourne Music Week, White Night and Spring Fashion Week, working with projectors, video game sensors, LED screens etc.. I’m always looking for something new to learn and to discover creative applications for.”

Q: Can you explain what a creative technologist does? And how long has the term been around for?

Simon: “The simplest definition I can give is an individual who is both conceptual creative and has practical innovation and development skills with technology. Someone who can come up with a novel creative idea in the morning and whip up a rapid working prototype by the afternoon. It’s a little bit of a mad scientist role in that respect and it’s recently come about as the industry has moved beyond print and broadcast into a plethora of digital and technologically driven outcomes. Personally, I think it’s absolutely crucial to understand the mechanics of new mediums in order to develop effective creative and creative technologists can bridge the gap between creatives and developers.”

Q: Do you expect there to be additional need for these services in years to come? Why?

Simon: “I think increasingly there will be a demand for novel digital experience outcomes, especially in advertising. As more and more technological tools become available (and they are at an ever rapid rate) it’s really important to know what they can do, (what they can’t do!) and how best they can be utilised for creative. It’s interesting to note how established creative processes require drastic rethinking when faced with a fresh new medium. The mechanics of virtual reality for instance requires us to think very differently in terms of how to conceive and deliver a narrative.  The best ideas I come up with are usually in tandem between sketching and developing a prototype. The creative process ends up being an ongoing iterative development till I hit a sweet spot.”  

Q: What sort of clients benefit most from your services?

Simon: “Clients that are willing to do different kinds of work, collaborate from the onset and entertain new approaches. It’s been my mandate recently to focus on making the creative development process much more friendly and accessible.. letting clients in on the inner workings of what I’m doing (instead of smoke and mirrors)… focusing on engaging and playful creative instead of getting too hung up on the technicals.”

Q: What’s the best thing about life as a creative freelancer?

Simon: “The best thing is the variety and the all the friendships you make around the place.”

Read more about Simon here.


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