Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Pitch's Questionnaire with John January, Sullivan Higdon & Sink executive creative director

Sullivan Higdon & Sink's executive creative director digs KC.

Posted By on Wed, Jan 16, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Name: John January

Occupation: Executive creative director, Sullivan Higdon & Sink

Hometown: Dighton, Kansas. That's way, way out in western Kansas.

Current neighborhood: Brookside

Who or what is your sidekick? My three kids. And, shamefully, my iPhone.

What career would you choose in an alternate reality? Either a rock-star screenwriter or the proprietor of a successful haunted attraction. It's a coin flip.

What was the last local restaurant you patronized? The Rieger

Where do you drink? The Peanut on Main, Tower Tavern and the Gaf

What's your favorite charity? MOCSA. What it does is so important - for women, kids and men. Not just crisis management but also intervention and advocacy.

Favorite place to spend your paycheck: An hour at Westport Westlake Ace Hardware or Euston's Waldo Hardware or Soil Service is better than therapy.

What local phenomenon do you think is overrated? This local propensity for wrapping tree trunks with Christmas lights. And then those sort of jagged upside-down V's that people make by stringing lights from tree to ground? Whole neighborhoods in KC do it. It's just a taste thing but, to me, it's a hot Christmas mess.

Where do you like to take out-of-town guests? Since we're Brooksiders, we like to let people experience the Brookside shops and Crestwood. A little time inside the undying quirk that is Brookside Toy & Science and the other great shops and then a stroll for a drink at Blue Grotto will restore your faith that small business is alive and well and awesome.

Finish this sentence: "Kansas City got it right when ... " How about KC will get it right when we capitalize on Google Fiber and do awesome things with it. Come on, smart people and silicon dreamers. Make it so.

"Kansas City screwed up when ... " We let the public school system, as a whole, get bad and stay bad.

"Kansas City needs ... " To get the chip off the shoulder. This is a great city with a lot of great prospects and good momentum. There's nothing for which to apologize.

"People might be surprised to know that I ... " Oh, I'm an open book.

"On my day off, I like to ... " Create stuff where I am the only critic. I spend a lot of creative energy on things that, ultimately, have to please more people than just me. Whether that's a demographic or a client, or ideally both. So when I get the luxury of time, I like to create stuff that I like, and I don't care if anyone else does. Keeps me sane.

"In five years, I'll be ... " Marveling at who my kids are becoming. I'd like to say I'll have finished yet another screenplay but ...

What TV show do you make sure you watch? Game of Thrones. It's The West Wing meets the Renaissance Festival. There are a troubling number of gruesome horse deaths, but that's balanced out with plenty of satisfying shocks, zombies and some terrific performances. How could you not watch it?

____ take up a lot of space in my iTunes: Audiobooks

What movie do you watch at least once a year? Young Frankenstein at Halloween. Love Actually at Christmas. The Godfather and The Godfather: Part II just because. Also both the Kill Bills and Star Wars IV. You should probably throw Goodfellas on there, too. And It's a Wonderful Life. And, if it's on Spike on a lazy Sunday, The Shawshank Redemption.

What local tradition do you take part in every year? Friday night at the American Royal. Uniquely KC. And the more people you know, the better the night gets. I also love an Arrowhead tailgate.

Favorite person or thing to follow on Twitter: @DalaiLama

Person or thing you find really irritating at this moment: All things twee.

What subscription - print, digital, etc. - do you value most? Discover magazine. It's People magazine for science buffs.

Last book you read: Last Night in Twisted River. I'm a big, huge John Irving fan.

Favorite day trip: Lawrence

Interesting brush with the law? I sorta, kinda stole a rental car. It looked just like the one we rented. And the keys were in it. And the valet was sort of inattentive so ... we just grabbed it. We realized our mistake on the way to the airport. Let's just say all's well that ends well.

Describe a recent triumph: I didn't ignore what my gut said was right. I didn't deviate in the face of doubt. And I didn't bother second-guessing myself. It paid off. It almost always pays off. But even when it doesn't, I sleep better.

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