Ex-Digital Kitchen Crew launch Almost Gold in Chicago
From the release:
Creative Director Linas Jodwalis has staked a claim with Almost Gold, a new design-driven production studio featuring Director Matthew Egan. Tapping Tom Leonard as Executive Producer, the Chicago-based shop is positioning itself to provide concept-to-completion creativity for the advertising and entertainment industries.
“Almost Gold is a cohesive model by design and because of design,” explains Founder/Creative Director Linas Jodwalis. “We codified this approach because it benefits client relationships with continuity and trust, and allows us to efficiently produce thoughtful and vibrant work.”
“We love working on the integrity of the idea, using creative intuition and respect for brand voice to develop the most captivating and effective results,” adds Director Matt Egan. “With Almost Gold we have built an environment where ideas and opportunity can thrive, and we are excited to share that with clients.”
Founder/Creative Director Linas Jodwalis has a vision that can be traced back to his start in the explosive growth of the design centric production and VFX in Los Angeles. An inaugural team member of Motion Theory, Linas was integral to commercial and music video shoots for HP, Reebok, Beck, SyFy Channel and Velvet Revolver, among others.
Returning to Chicago to be Director of 3D at Digital Kitchen, Linas expanded his leadership role with projects for noted clients including Coke, Target, PBS, and McDonald’s. It was at Digital Kitchen that he first worked with Director Matt Egan, developing the creative shorthand that would be central to their future collaborations and ultimately lead to the development of Almost Gold.
Linas enjoyed collaborating on projects with MK12, Thornberg & Forester, Decoy, and Radar Studios, followed by tenures at Vitamin Pictures, where Linas was Art Director and head of 3D, and Method Studios, where he led the VFX Department. Each experience and project added a layer of understanding for the future vision for Almost Gold.
Director Matthew Egan has an unabashed passion for the visual arts and conceptual storytelling. His strengths lie in distilling concept, design, and story down to their most authentic elements; creating small windows into larger stories. With a background in visual art and a life-long infatuation with all things film, Matt honed his craft in the trenches of experience, starting as an editor and expanding into directing.
To date, he has directed projects for Target, Jim Beam, Kellogg’s, Nintendo, POM Wonderful, and writer/executive producer Derek Haas. Without exception Matt throws his whole being into a project – blood, sweat, and soul. He’s the first guy on set for the shoot and the last guy at the computer during post. His unwavering focus is always on the relationship between content and audience – engage, experience, and enlighten.
Linas and Matt helm projects jointly, building custom teams from a vast network of talent to produce visually resonant, branded results. Strategy and business acumen is the domain of Tom Leonard, who is Almost Gold’s Executive Producer.
“Tom an outstanding, idea-driven producer who naturally unites client needs and artistic vision with his vast experience,” says Linas. “He’s the perfect business backbone for the company.”
“He has a wonderful dynamic with people,” adds Matt. “He has the ability to make everyone happier while ushering projects along smoothly. It’s a rare talent.”
During his successful and multifaceted career in the advertising and entertainment industries, Tom Leonard has served as producer, executive producer, and director of business development. Tom has sat on both sides of the table, from the edit suite to the executive suite. He brings to Almost Gold a combination of expertise in strategy, branding and PR, with an equal fluency in production, design, VFX, and editorial.
Tom’s career has been a true journey through the turning points of an ever-evolving industry. He has experienced monumental advances in technology, shifts in distribution, and the re-engineering of business models at the highest levels. He has done so as an insider with game-changing companies including NBC, Rhythm & Hues, Pittard Sullivan, PDI/ DreamWorks, Digital Kitchen, Butler, Shine & Stern, Goodby, and Imaginary Forces. On the creative side, Tom has stood on the front-lines of production with artists like Wim Wenders, John Dykstra, Sam Raimi, Sean Penn, Peter Gabriel, and Frank Oz.
I’m really excited about the opportunity,” comments Tom Leonard. “Linas, Matt, and I had a great working relationship at Digital Kitchen, and I’m elated to be able to help them launch and build Almost Gold. They are exceptional creatives. Both bring key, symbiotic creative strengths to the process, which is why they work so well together. I think with my experience, and the A level resources we have at our disposal, we’re going to be an invaluable partner to agencies and brands when it comes to producing highly creative content.”
Almost Gold’s studio is located in the Hubbard Street Artists Lofts in the West Town / Fulton Market neighborhood of Chicago.