Derek Fearon

Derek Fearon is an Associate Creative Director at MATTE who has been with the company since our humble beginnings as a small team of entrepreneurs and self-starters in a Lower East Side apartment.

Matte Spotlight

Art

Date

3/14/2023

Text

MATTE PROJECTS

Introduction

As MATTE flourished into a creative powerhouse, Fearon made his mark with positions across projects and departments—from Director of Post Production, to Film Director, to where he is today. Over the course of nine years, Fearon came to define the archetype of talent that MATTE is known for cultivating: resourceful, passionate, visionary.

Interview

Derek, what’s it been like?
Being a nimble team operating out of the heart of NYC – that is as true today as it was nine years ago when I joined. Back then, we wore many hats, figured out scrappy solutions, had lots of fun doing it– and that is all the same today. Friends of mine on our team, like Ariel Panigel and River Myers– have been fixtures in the experience of many years here. What has changed is the scale of our team, the impact of our work, and the breadth of all our experiences.

How did the journey begin?
Live experiences are woven into MATTE’s DNA. That is evident in our festivals, cultural programming, and experiential services– but also in our early Films portfolio, for which I was the editor and a creative. In the beginning, it was about getting our foot in the door with our dream clients: an event with a luxury brand could lead to more content creation opportunities with that brand. That ended up being true, but along the way, capturing live events with highly elevated cinematic perspectives, and dynamic edits, often turned around overnight, became our signature.

How did Editing inform your trajectory as a Creative Director?

As an editor, many of my assignments involved honing the Creative Direction in Post. How should the edit make you feel? How should the color grade and animated titles look, how should music and SFX sound? Being trusted with these choices as an editor unlocked my potential to grow as a creative. By 2017, I led a Post Team of 5 editors and 2 motion designers, as our Director of Post Production. In that role, I began to work as a Director for projects with a specific Post-Production component, like an emphasis on motion design or VFX. Our Post Team, led by Mike Czeizinger, remains part of MATTE’s lifeblood. As an Associate Creative Director, I employ the same values I learned in my training at MATTE as an editor– attention to detail in Post, deep respect for the brief, and a collaborative, empowering spirit across all teams.

What have been some of the most memorable experiences working with MATTE?

I have seen the world with MATTE. My passport was stamped for the first time when Kenneth Cole brought Brett Kincaid and me to Haiti to shoot their philanthropic work there. We followed a traveling music festival around Brazil for their digital content two years in a row, where I shared tour bus rides with one of my favorite musicians. We supported Samsung in a massive VR presentation at Cannes Lions in 2016. Gigi Compagno and I chased the Vice President of China around a private island to get a single shot. Whether it was Tokyo, Mexico City, Costa Rica, or Anguilla– travel, and the special breed of people here at MATTE who have become my friends– are woven into the fabric of my experience here.

What challenges did you run into along the way?

Covid was a huge reset on our work and perspective. The pandemic was an opportunity for me to tap right back into the nimble and multi-disciplinary spirit I knew from our early years. I kept a steady pace of work, using safe solutions to shoot and creative uses of animation + archival assets. As the emergency subsided, MATTE also found a new leadership vision that saw an even bigger future for us all as a studio.

What have you been up to lately?

Those opportunities allowed us to compete on a greater plane with large-scale advertising work for a variety of new prestige clients. We reached heights that we dreamed about back when the company began, which really makes me proud, having been around for the whole journey. I work on the YSL Beauté account, a prestigious client, with a really strong team. The occasional live event capture opportunity also reappears from time to time.

What's next?

No slowing down, delivering big and bold work to clients and the MATTE brand, and continuing to enjoy great experiences with my dear friends and colleagues here

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