Thomas BECKNER

Creative Director | HEARST DIGITAL MEDIA

Thomas Beckner is the Creative Director of Video at Hearst Digital Media. Passionate about imagery and story-telling, he started his career working for Peter Jennings’ Documentary Group. His work as a Producer and DP has been broadcast across ABC, PBS, HBO, ARTE, Discovery, Travel Channel, TVGN, and more. He is also the Co-founder and CD of Inside Elsewhere, a travel-inspired lifestyle journal. 

questionnaire

What was your very first job? 

Writing for the local newspaper in my hometown, Greeneville, TN. I oversaw the “It Happened Here” section which was a report of crimes, arrests, unsolved mysteries, fires, livestock thefts and other bizarre happenings around rural Greene County. Digging through police reports each morning was exhilarating. 

Please describe, in your own words, what your job is and what work it entails. 

I am CD of Video at Hearst Digital Media so I oversee the creative for editorial and branded projects across numerous magazines and brands. Besides strategizing for the ever-changing digital landscape, I work with super talented colleagues from conception to execution. The position allows me to interact with the many departments at HDM which is quite rewarding.  Encouraging people to push the limits and let their freak flags fly is my MO and I’m lucky to be in a place where my boss’ encourage me to do the same.  

How did you discover that the creative world was right for you ? Was there a time in your life that you credit to this discovery ? What was there train of events that brought you to where you are today ? 

When I was younger I loved 2 things: cameras and tap dancing. Although some (my mom?!) might disagree, it turns out that I’m better behind the lens than onstage. After studying English Literature and photography in college, I moved to Paris on a whim and as fate would have it, I eventually met an expatriate producer who took me under her wing and become my mentor. Looking back, it’s as if the universe chose this career for me. And I wouldn’t change a thing.

In your constantly growing and expanding industry, how do you find inspiration to keep your work fresh, innovative and relevant ? 

First, I travel. That’s most important. I rarely take the same route to work which is an easy way to discover new things. I read a lot about subjects that have little reflection of my occupation. I spend time with art, theatre, and music which always inspires me. I try to take time each day to see what the best creatives out there are shooting, producing, watching, posting and reading. I often talk to strangers.

If you had to pick one piece of work or project that you are most proud of, more for the creative work and innovation it required, rather than its recognition or industry “success,” what would it be ? 

Here are two completely different pieces of work that I’m proud of:

Into Harm’s Way – Broadcast Documentary - https://vimeo.com/39446462

For the Love of Gabrielle – Editorial Piece for Harper’s Bazaar -  https://vimeo.com/209273032

jury

SVP Global Creative Director | SIMON
Founder, Creative Director | SLANG INC.
Global Design Director | COTY PRESTIGE
Exec. Creative Director | PERIERA & O'DELL
VP Group Creative Director | DIGITASLBI
Chief Strategic Officer | VICE MEDIA
EVP Exec. Creative Director | BBDO
Creative Director | CONDE NAST
Creative Director | HEARST DIGITAL MEDIA
Creative Director | CARHARTT
Creative Director | ARITZIA
Creative Director | REFINERY29
Creative Director | GREY BEAUTY
Chief Engagement Officer | SAMSUNG
Director of Branded Content | MACY'S
VP Group CD | YOUNG & RUBICAM
Dir. of Creative Operations | DROGA5
Assoc. Creative Director | ARNOLD WW
Managing Director, CCO | HAVAS LIFE
ECD, Managing Partner | SID LEE
Exec. Creative Director | MCGARRYBOWEN
VP Brand Design | SYFY
SVP Creative Director | DDB (AVEENO)
Exec. Creative Director | ANTHROPOLOGIE
SVP Global Creative Director | CREME LA MER
Global Digital Creative Director | KIEHL'S
Sr. Dir of Creative Production | NIKE
Exec. Dir., Creative Studio | NARS COSMETCS
SVP Executive Producer | MCCANN
Exec. Creative Director | SELECT WORLD
Chief Creative Officer | THE FADER
VP CD | AUTHENTIC BRANDS GROUP
Exec. Dir. of Production | DAVID YURMAN
CCO | AVRETT FREE GINSBERG
Head of Visual Design | AMAZON
Exec. Creative Director | SPRING STUDIOS
Exec. Creative Director | ARNOLD WW
Chairman | SCHOOL OF VISUAL ARTS
Creative Director | VAYNER MEDIA
Global Head of Design | CITIBANK
Creative Director | TJ MAXX
VP Brand Marketing | CHOBANI
Sr. Manager, Interactive | TIMBERLAND
VP CD | HUDSON'S BAY, LORD&TAYLOR
Sr. Creative Director | UNDER ARMOUR
Chief Creative Officer | JACK MORTON
Creative Director | R/GA
ECD | FALLON NEW YORK
VP Creative Director | PUBLICIS
Exec. Creative Director | JWT
Exec. Creative Director | NICKELODEON
Assoc. Creative Director | R/GA
VP Global Creative | MICHAEL KORS
Head of Brand Design | WARBY PARKER
VP Brand CD | VH1
Creative Director
ECD, Global Product & Innovation | HUGE
VP Creative Marketing | XCEL BRANDS
SVP, Group Creative Director | MOMENTUM
Founder | MEKANISM
Creative Director
VP CD of Experiential Design | EDELMAN
Sr. Art Director | DROGA5
Digital Creative Director | NBCUNIVERSAL
Creative Director | SHOWTIME NETWORKS
Creative Innovation Lead | GOOGLE ZOO
Creative Director | AEROSOLES
Director of Innovation | MEDIACOM
Creative Director | NFL
Chief Creative Officer & Co-Founder | SID LEE
Group Creative Director | MOTHER NEW YORK
VP Global Creative | ESTEE LAUDER / ADF
SVP Brand Creative | KATE SPADE
Chief Creative Officer | CARROT- VICE AGENCY
VP Creative Services | ALICE+OLIVIA
Design Dir., Global Brand Design | CONVERSE
Design Director | 360I
Chief Creative Officer | HUDSON ROUGE
Owner + Artistic Director | EPI
Sr. Art Director | BARON & BARON
Head of Global Creative Design | JO MALONE
Creative Services | HARRY WINSTON
Group CD | THE MARTIN AGENCY
ACD | THE CREATIVE GROUP, CONDE NAST
Dir. of Digital and Print Prod. | KENNETH COLE
Partner | THE PUB
Exec Creative Director | TIFFANY & CO
Creative Director | SHOPBOP
Artistic Director | EQUINOX
Founder, Creative Director | AIR PARIS
ACD | BERGDORF GOODMAN
SVP ECD | LAIRD + PARTNERS
Creative | AMAZON FASHION JAPAN
SVP, Creative Director | ARNOLD WW
Art Director | PAPER
Group Creative Director | RAZORFISH
Photo Director | T MAGAZINE
Creative Director | EXPRESS
Co-Founder, CD | JOHANNES LEONARDO
Creative Director | BARTON F. GRAF
Partner | WALTON ISAACSON
Sr. Social Media Strategist | ADIDAS
VP Creative Director | MCCANN
Chief Production Officer | DDB
Founder | NR2154
Creative Director | APPLE
Chief Creative Officer | SAPIENTRAZORFISH
VP Creative | MAYBELLINE
VP Group CD | MCCANN ERICKSON