As a kid, Sean Hodgson often raced home from school to watch his favorite cartoons: G.I. Joe and Transformers. His fascination with moving images and storytelling led him to a degree in digital animation and eventually a career at one of the biggest entertainment venues in Michigan.
“I liked the idea of being able to utilize the power of animation to tell stories,” said Hodgson, director of digital content at Palace Sports & Entertainment. “When 3D started to become popular and I found out CCS offered a program, I jumped at enrolling. I built my portfolio up at another college then transferred to CCS.
“I remember my professors in the digital animation program emphasizing that regardless of which medium you use to tell a story (3D or 2D), what you create is only as powerful as the story itself. This means that if you made a super kick-ass 3D animation but the story lacked, then you failed. Now, on the other hand, if you have an outstanding story and only animate it with stick figures, it will have more of an impact than the flashy, 3D piece. This lesson continues to impact my work today.”
Hodgson’s position as the director of digital content at Palace Sports & Entertainment has allowed him to work on several multimedia initiatives. He works closely with top management, internal personnel and outside vendors to ensure successful campaign launches and continued operation of websites and development of new products as well as provide education on digital innovation to upper management.
Hodgson helped launch the Pistons Program Network (PPN) with 24 channels of exclusive Pistons video content, collaborated with the video production team to develop branded content for PPN and has managed photographers to ensure specific content is captured from each game/event. He also was one of the driving forces behind the official Detroit Pistons mobile app (for iOS and Android), established a social loyalty platform for Pistons fans and developed pages for Pistons entertainment teams (Dance, Cheer, Drumline, Flight Crew, Mason, Hooper, Mob Squad, Prevue and D-Town) as well as developed three Pistons fan affinity clubs: Future Pistons, Hardwood Club and Pistons Playmakers.
In addition to work he’s done with the Pistons, Hodgson co-led the redesign of Palacenet.com and is currently developing official PS&E mobile app.
“I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to work with this organization to rebuild our brand and expand our digital community,” he said.
During the Pistons’ off season, Hodgson shifts his attention to the concert/entertainment side at DTE and Meadowbrook. This involves coming up with new ideas for digital content as well as identifying brand advocates for the company.
Prior to accepting his position at Palace Sports & Entertainment, Hodgson spent four years as lead creative manager and online video producer at Weber Shandwick (Birmingham). His work on Track to Track (a series about Corvette racing) earned him a national public relations award for digital story telling.
“Chevrolet wanted to connect corvette fans to one another and create new fans within the niche performance enthusiast market, so I worked with them to create a 12-video series that shared behind-the-scenes insights into Corvette racing's competition in sports car endurance racing,” he explained. “From celebrating Corvette Racing's 50th Anniversary at the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans to technical pieces on race prep, the behind-the-scenes footage gave fans a glimpse of something they couldn’t get anywhere else. Ties between the track car and the production car brought fans into the cockpit with never-before-seen in-car footage as Corvette Racing won the 2010 series finale in Atlanta. Episodes were shared across multiple Chevrolet and Corvette social media platforms and syndicated to automotive/motorsports enthusiast web sites. Additionally, as a team we engaged Corvette Racing drivers and partners who also shared the videos across their own social media platforms.”
The video series can be viewed at http://youtu.be/2wQs7GgF134
In his spare time, Hodgson is a member of several social media and motion graphics groups, including Cinema 4D user groups and Social Media in the D. He credits his peers as well as the foundation he developed at CCS for his ability to introduce fresh concepts in such a dynamic industry.
“This is a fast paced business, so staying creative constantly can be a challenge,” said Hodgson. “I try to stay positive and reflect on what I learned from some of the great teachers I had while attending CCS. School gives you that freedom to let your imagination run wild and the ability to challenge yourself on each project. I feel that in itself has helped me throughout my career so far.”