We had the good fortune of connecting with Derek Shields and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Derek, can you tell us about a book that has had a meaningful impact on you?
About 8 months ago is when the pandemic hit really close to home. Everything was shutting down… stores, schools and the workplace. I closed my office and sent my team home with their computers, in an effort to maintain the projects we already had in-house. Eventually everything came to a screeching halt. No new work… and the then current projects were stopped… and it got really scary. The thought of reopening in 2 months seemed feasible but as the days flew by it became more clear we were in this for the long haul. There were days I didn’t want to get out of bed and questioned everything. I pulled myself together and had multiple zoom calls with the Team to try to keep up the morale and conjure up projects so we would keep ourselves busy. Through it all, I continued to feel afraid and worried about how we would survive. I talked to friends and tried to keep my spirits up and a really good friend recommended the book “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson, M.D. Although the book seemed simple and short it was an easy concept to grasp and was so relatable it seemed as if it was written for me… especially considering all that was happening around me. It reminded me that I had to stay relevant in this Industry and if I kept pushing ultimately NEW cheese would appear. Its basic lesson taught me that no matter how old I get there is still more to learn and grow through. So here we are almost 8 months later and I believe that for all the darkest moments we may go through, having friends and family there to talk to is the best thing in the world. I won’t tell you exactly what the book is about I’d encourage you to read it… but the journey they go through in the book is pretty much life’s journey… and that little book definitely reignited my fire to keep pushing to get new cheese.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My company Proof Creative Group is a creative agency focusing on developing key art for Movie releases. We are located in Burbank, California. I think what sets us apart is our ability to treat each project as its own thing and not just another project with the same solutions. I am proud of the many accomplishments and work we’ve produced as a small shop. I appreciate the relationships we’ve developed with our clients and the ability to talk through ideas, truly creating a partnership on each project we approach. It has been 12 years that we’ve been in business and it hasn’t always been easy but I respect the tough times that I went through especially in the beginning. Those obstacles taught me valuable lessons and allowed me to look out for things to avoid. I believe my team and I have overcome some of the challenges because we never stop. My intentions are always in a good place and I always want to do the best for any project we’re involved in. I believe the work speaks for itself and I’d rather let that lead than to talk about it.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well it’s been like 8 months since I’ve actually been anywhere… but I typically would take them through all the museums that Los Angeles has to offer… LACMA, MOCA, The Getty, etc… there are of course the Beverly Hills and Santa Monica areas and definitely the beaches. I can’t forget the valley area and the Hollywood Hills…. and even though this might extend past a week long visit… my favorite place to visit is Santa Barbara.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are a few people that have been in my life and have made huge impacts on my career… Fred Tio, Craig Murray, John Blas, Gregory Hill, John Sampson, My Mom, My wife Mercedes Shields and my 2 children Brooklyn and Miles.