Tuesday, 29. March 2011 7:00
while we’ve been longing to expand those profiled on the poolhouse questionnaire to include people throughout production, folks in production are a busy lot and it’s hard to pin them down.
david rolfe is first in what we hope will be long list of people in production we are showcasing. as partner/director of integrated production at cp+b, rolfe oversees production for the agency’s six “factories” (boulder, miami, los angeles, toronto, london and gothenburg) for a diverse client list that includes microsoft, unilever, kraft, phillips, coke zero, discovery networks, american express, domino’s pizza, metlife, molson canadian, old navy, sas, best buy and bolthouse farms’ baby carrots. cp+b’s work has has made them one of most-awarded agencies in the world—with the unprecedented distinction of winning the grand prix at the cannes lions international advertising festival in every category and advertising age has named them agency of the decade.
the agency has a reputation for being made up of a passionate team (now numbering over 1000 people) with boundless energy and many interagency relationships. rolfe’s profile shows he’s the embodiment of all this — with his drive for great production, passion for tennis and knowledge of wine and his love for his wife, cp+b vp/group creative director tiffany rolfe.
david rolfe, cp+b director of integrated production
where is your hometown?
i’m from seattle, i did some time in portland and then i went all the way to miami, for like thirteen years then on to chicago for twenty months and wound up in boulder, co where there’s 64 times more sun than the first two places mentioned here. i am going to also be spending a lot more time in la soon but that won’t be too much different than the last twelve years anyway.
what location are you currently in?
i’m in boulder. in an office. looking out my blurry door windows that tend to make people taller, so i feel intimidated before every meeting.
what led you to working as a producer?
i think i got lucky because i wanted to be in film (a filmmaker) since i was about 15. i had a mentor who was a feature maker and i worked with him during and after college, and then jumped in to film work just after college, and never really strayed (except for part-time in wine biz, that diverted me just enough to actually be useful in producing). i was always a producer because i am some form of a control freak. not exactly a control freak, just a version of a control freak. a producer version.
what’s your biggest passion right now?
by far, tennis. i have always been possessed by a firm competitive need to play sports. tennis has been the hardest and its been a renewed-since-teen’s passion for about five years now—after i had to quit basketball due to repeated ankle sprains. injuries are still fucking things up but i’m working through it.
what is your dream job?
being a pro baseball player. or pretty much doing what i do now. i forget often but certainly not all the time that i have a dream job, that i get to do something akin to what i’ve wanted to do since i was young, that i’ve evolved and learned greatly within the business i’m in (advertising and marketing) and i work around driven and smart creative people day and night.
what is your favorite aspect of producing?
i like the “completion factor.” i don’t mind that most everything we may see starts as a form of a problem. its an inspiring problem, always. but what gets me through it—every… single… time… over and over—is that i know it will end and it will be done. so i consistently feel driven to make something great every time—cuz i know it will be done, it will finish, so might as well make it best it can be. this is not an abstraction it’s empirically real—we are in a biz where things get done, together.
if you could have another skill what would it be?
mathematician, maybe. yoga instructor? i did yoga once and got hurt, made no sense. so that could be a good ‘other skill.’ maitre d’ also. my god iwould be good at that, methinks. at a dinner party one of our great young producers said her fiancé was “really aware of even the small things going on with the people around him.” i said, “so, he’s sensitive.” i knew that would f with her a little because her fiancé also happens to be a pro hockey player. so she couldn’t admit to it. i am sensitive, because i don’t play pro hockey (yet).
who in production do you most admire?
can’t imagine a harder question. i enjoy admiring lots in the peeps around us—an admiration whore. in the film production biz i think daniel bergman is quite a piece of work (in a good way). i like different peeps in our biz for a variety of reasons: carmody for director culture, pat for our bond, stavros for his uniqueness and drive, kamen for his diplomacy, and speaking of diplomacy—matt miller, steve golin for what he’s done, letitia edwards has always blown me away, matt bonin is a smart thinker, chris rossiter for his balls and candor, bijarchi for his persuasive gifts, both classic minn guys dilo and sitley, i don’t know ben grylewicz well (but come onnnn, that work over the years), tk for his spirit, my partner for on and on rupert, peter friedman for how he was so complimentary when i was younger, john garland for his enterprise and grant hill for his consummate grace. then there’s buckley, one and only. kerstin. yvette. and bart fucking lipton. anyone that can have elongated bouts of sincerity and passion, i could shout out on and on.
what is your pet peeve?
let’s see… i don’t like ineffective drinking. much shouldn’t be solved during drinking, but so much can be.
where is your favorite place you’ve traveled to for work and for pleasure?
i thought shooting in barcelona was quite a treat. and stockholm with stylewar in the summer. for pleasure i like the whole world but i’m seriously not at all fettered whilst floating in a pool in palm springs. s. africa is tops too. and I shot a bit in reykjavik. not sure this was supposed to be another laundry list answer, but I have a counter to everything.
what word or phrase do you most overuse?
it used to be “honestly…” so lame, so fallibly used, that word. you mean you haven’t been honest on your other thoughts? i think i have tons of these unfortunately. i am the worst with overused expressions. truly have days where i am happy with my “work performance” and then many days where i am absolutely positive i am michael scott.
what or who is your greatest love?
i really hit my stride as the most fortune man in the world when my wife tiffany and i were married. we have fun and love each other lots.
the rolfes - dave & tiff
when are you happiest?
the unexpected moments that reveal that you’ve grown in to something, accomplished something, rode out something positively, etc. the moments when you can somehow reflect that you’ve reached a situation or a perspective because you deserved it. i really like it when its along with someone else too—the team thing. could be some point at the end of a production with my team or a pal’s embrace or my wife sleeping, a drop shot or a shudder on a ski lift.
what is your current state of mind?
i have a lot of work to do. it’s monday.
what do you consider your greatest achievement?
i definitely like what i do, and love the people i work with. i definitely adore my wife a lot. i love my pals a lot and my family means everything to me. that’s all I need to get done in this life.
what would you most like to do?
always remember that i get to choose.
where would you like to live?
i have lived in seattle, portland, miami, chicago and boulder. all are pretty cool. portland is probably the coolest place. but in the truest sense, colorado is an incredible place. this isn’t shared by everyone i work around and i seriously struggle with why that is. my explanation is on my blog under “co.” i am also about to live in la, which is home to lots of great friends. that’s what’s going to carry me through it.
what is your most marked characteristic?
i have had a sort of goatee that is what a hopefully cool 23 yr old would have had in 1994, for near ten years. so the marked, problematic thing is: i am 42, its 2011, and the goatee is mostly white-grey.
what is your motto?
i have lots. about 30% are useful and don’t make me seem like michael scott. today i said, “make em smell the blood.” i also say “don’t make it hurt.” sometimes in the same conversation. which is why I can be so much like michael scott. but i just reread this question and I see it’s mottos and not expressions. i don’t have a motto. i talk so much i don’t think i could ever get something down to a single thought.
what are you doing right now?
half-pondering a work-station that will be easier on my back. so when i’m not working i can continue to be hard on my back.
dave in a game of extreme ping pong