Wondersmith | STASH MAGAZINE

Joe Murray and Thom Blackburn launch Wondersmith

Creative industry veterans Joe Murray and Thom Blackburn launch their new design/VFX/editorial/production studio called Wondersmith in Charlotte, NC.

From the release:

Charlotte, N.C. – (Jan. 21, 2015) – Two accomplished creative industry executives are very proud to announce the official launch of their new creative production company that’s focused on serving agencies and brands worldwide. The company is called Wondersmith (https://wondersmith.tv) and the principals are founder and executive producer Joe Murray and creative director Thom Blackburn.

Joe began his career as a still photographer but soon moved into post-production as a commercial editor and finishing artist. Working with a diverse client roster including Boone Oakley, Trone, Husqvarna, Panasonic, Carmax, Bojangles’ and Rack Room Shoes, his skills as a post supervisor and producer rose rapidly. Joe launched Edit at Joe’s in Charlotte in 2003, which he has run successfully for the past 11 years, earning a solid reputation as a go-to producer with unlimited capabilities–and a knack for building lasting relationships that span all facets of business.

“Wondersmith is a true reflection of our existing body of work and our ongoing commitments to creative development and smart production approaches,” Joe began. “The addition of Thom as creative director demonstrates these commitments and gives us a proven creative leader with experience directing large teams of the highest caliber.”

Joe continued, “We are confident in our ability to handle large-scale location or studio productions anywhere in the world – and we know our account services, animation, visual effects, editing and finishing are top-tier. To us, our bottom-line commitment to serving our clients’ needs is where we shine.”

Thom connected with Joe in 2013 to begin laying the groundwork for Wondersmith’s launch. For the previous four years, Thom was executive creative director for Limerick Studios, one of the Southeast’s premier motion content providers. There, he helped bring home many national and regional ADDY(R) Awards and oversaw projects for Belk, The Charlotte Hornets, Duke Energy, Husqvarna, Lowe’s Home Improvement, NASCAR, North Carolina Education Lottery, Rubbermaid and The Hartford, to name but a few. Prior to that, he spent a decade in Los Angeles as creative director for full-service motion design and production studio SOLID, where his work for major consumer and entertainment brands consistently earned worldwide media acclaim. Also a veteran of the staffs of Media-Comm, ESPN, and Creative Post and Transfer, Thom earned his BFA in Visual Art from UNC in Charlotte, after beginning his career in film and television at the age of 16.

One of Joe’s most fruitful long-term partnerships is with BooneOakley and their client Bojangles’, delivering numerous memorable agency campaigns. “Joe, Thom and the team at Wondersmith offer us LA creativity and execution right in our neighborhood,” said David Oakley, chief creative officer of BooneOakley. “We consider the Wondersmith team true partners; collaborating with them always makes our work better.”

Wondersmith’s latest montage reel presented on the website reflects the principals’ working relationships with many creative agencies like BooneOakley, Trone Brand Energy and Sigma, among many others, and consumer and entertainment brands including Fox Sports, Goodwill, Husqvarna, North State, Poulan Pro, and Rack Room Shoes.

Wondersmith is especially proud of its recent work for North State and Husqvarna, feeling that these projects offer a very clear representation of the firm’s capabilities. Working with executives at Trone Brand Energy, regional telecommunications company North State sought to promote their new fiber initiative at a level that would position them as a major player. To produce two :30 spots with spectacular production values, Wondersmith assembled an A-list crew. With Joe as executive producer and Thom as creative director, they enlisted director Andrew Hardaway, director of photography Florian Stadler, VFX lead Byron Nash (also of Wondersmith) and other illustrious talents including LA-based Jeff Elmassian of Endless Noise, who created a custom score. The results effectively speak for themselves.

“In one 14-hour day, we shot two broadcast spots utilizing two custom sets,” Joe explained. “With great directing and casting, we got everything we needed in a minimal amount of time.”

“This was a job made for Wondersmith,” added Thom. “From the initial concepting phase, we helped define the visual arc of the characters’ inspirations, using those visuals to point back to the brand in entertaining ways. It is an honor when a client entrusts you with creating their visual vocabulary.”

Wondersmith has also produced numerous national spots for Husqvarna and its Poulan PRO product division, and company principals value those types of opportunities, while remaining heavily focused on supporting brands through their creative agencies.

“We are indebted to the many clients who have put their trust in us over the years and helped bring us to this point,” Joe concluded. “From here, we hope our work and our reputations will do most of the talking for us. We look forward to growing our business with clients who value the creative collaboration Wondersmith can offer.”

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