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An Interview with Jonathan Blank


Jonathan Blank Jonathan Blank is currently the founder and CEO of Wildform, a video, animation and presentation software company. Wildform's products include the Flix Flash video encoders, the Wild FX video titlers and text animators and the Linx Flash editor. Jonathan is also an award-winning filmmaker. Among his films are: "Sex, Drugs & Democracy" ("A seductive argument" --Roger Ebert), "Anarchy TV" ("A wild, crazy and twisted comedy" --Jan Wahl, KRON-TV), and "Collecting America" ( "Fascinating.3 ½ stars" --Joe Gelmis, NY Newsday)

Wildform







Geetesh: Tell us more about Wildform and the products you create.

Jonathan: Wildform creates video, animation and presentation software. Many of our programs output Flash which is the most popular media format on the Internet. Our goal is to create powerful software that is very easy to use. Wildform has been around since 1999 and we're based in Venice, California. I started the company because I was dissatisfied with the software that was available at the time to put interactive video and animation on the Web. That is when we released, Flix, the first software that converted video into Flash. And we've been off and running ever since. Our current products include the Flix line of Flash video encoders, the Wild FX line of video titlers and text animators, the Linx Flash editor/assembler and the Wildform Video Library collection of royalty free stock footage.


Geetesh: Using Flash content within PowerPoint is something that's becoming very popular. Why would anyone use this route rather than create the entire presentation in Flash.

Jonathan: If you are used to working with PowerPoint, you may already have some expertise that you want to take advantage of. You may also have a number of templates that make it a lot easier to develop new presentations, as opposed to starting from scratch. And while I'm a big fan of Flash, PowerPoint is the industry standard for presentations. In general I would advise using both - why limit yourself to any single technology. And Flash integrates well with PowerPoint, so it's a natural fit.


Geetesh: How do you use PowerPoint?

Jonathan: We use PowerPoint for business presentations.


Geetesh: How relevant are your products for a PowerPoint audience.

Jonathan: I think they are very relevant. One thing you start to notice about PowerPoint presentations is that so many of them look the same. And it's very important not to bore your audience. By adding some striking Wild FX text animations, or Flix encoded video you can really bring your presentation to life and make it stand out from the crowd.


Geetesh: Your products include a video footage library - how significant is video in a presentation.

Jonathan: If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many words does a video convey? There is simply no way to compare the power and effect of a well placed video in any presentation. It really gets a viewer's attention and can make a lasting impression.


Geetesh: Death by PowerPoint - you've probably heard that before. Who's to blame: PowerPoint itself or the creator's lack of imagination?

Jonathan: Like any technology, once it is overused and once it becomes a requirement as opposed to a complimentary tool, you will find a glut of uninspired and boring examples. That said, PowerPoint has certainly revolutionized the whole idea of what a presentation is and Microsoft deserves some credit for that. Ultimately, PowerPoint is a powerful tool that can be used for good or evil...just kidding. PowerPoint presentations can be interesting or boring, just like any other presentation. It's really a question of how it is used.


Geetesh: Tell me more about Wildform's support infrastructure.

Jonathan: Wildform provides free email support to our customers.



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