At AtmosFX, we love highlighting the staffers who do so much important work behind the scenes. For example, the work the Customer Support team does isn’t always high-profile, but it is every bit as essential in ensuring that our fans can make the most of their AtmosFX Digital Decorations. One of those essential team-members making the magic happen is customer support and operations specialist, Joe Morgan.
Just prior to the holiday season of 2017, customer support manager Daniel Kelleher knew he needed assistance. In particular, he needed someone who had audio-visual and tech experience.
Like Daniel, Joe is a film-school graduate of University of North Carolina School of the Arts so, he fit the bill perfectly. The two worked closely together during their college years. After graduation, Joe found himself working as the audio-visual/technology guru for an interactive comedy bus tour that engaged pedestrians (and others) as the tour rolled through the New York City streets.
Joe also works on documentary films and reality television programs, largely in post-production. In his spare time, he builds and performs on synthesizers.
That type of varied and innovative AV/tech experience was exactly the type of thing AtmosFX was looking for. Joe has seen it all, and Daniel knew that AtmosFX customers would greatly benefit from Joe's wealth of expertise. So, Daniel convinced Joe to move out west.
Joe's AV/tech background is a great resource for the company. In particular, he's a strong advocate for customer education so both he and Daniel have been hard at work developing articles, videos, diagrams, and step-by-step instructions that seek to answer every imaginable question a customer might have.
"For me, it is really important to develop language that people can relate to — especially for those who are not tech-savvy," Joe says. “No jargon!”
In fact, Joe says finds a little extra pleasure in helping the fans who are just starting to discover all they can do with their AtmosFX digital decorations.
"There is no shame in not knowing," he adds.
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Q: You have an unusual – and varied – background in audio-visual technologies. How would you say that experience has informed your work on the support team here at AtmosFX?
Joe Morgan: My background gives me an insight into the various and unusual ways people might want to set up their digital decorations. Given that I've worked on some pretty unorthodox A/V projects, I have a good idea of how far A/V technology can flex to get a particular effect. It also gives me a wide range of suggestions to help decorators increase the scope and complexity of their decorating projects. My favorite customers are the ones who want to challenge themselves and level-up their decorating game.
Q: Any questions from customers you recall that made you laugh – perhaps because the question was something you never expected?
JM: One of my favorite early customer interactions was with a retired electrical engineer who had been making amusement park–quality Halloween decorations with his wife for 40 years. They had designed a two way–mirror effect that transformed a figure in a window into a nightmarish witch, which had helped them to generate local celebrity status. The couple was just beginning to incorporate video into their decorating process and had lots of questions about how to create Hollusion effects. Helping these folks improve their setup when the level of their decorating craft was already so high was a real honor.
Q: In your spare time, you build synthesizers and perform what you call "bleepy music." Can you recommend three synthesizer-forward albums that might change the perception of those who say they don’t care for this type of music?
JM: There's a lot of great synthesizer music but, as the instrument is designed to do things that conventional musical instruments don't do, much of it can be a little on the "difficult" side. People with more traditional preferences often find comfort in familiarity and since electronic music is meant to create new and unfamiliar sounds, it's challenging to suggest music for people with this kind of taste. You'll hear these kinds of sounds from familiar artists like Bjork and Pink Floyd, but that's hardly the limit of what the instrument can do. A few of the more accessible synthesizer albums I enjoy are:
- Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe and Ariel Kalma: We Know Each Other Somehow
- Jean Michel Jarre: Oxygene (this one is a real classic)
- Boards of Canada: Tomorrow's Harvest
Q: Care to tell us an embarrassing story about your colleague Daniel Kelleher from your days at University of North Carolina School of the Arts?
JM: Daniel and I attended a film conservatory together known for its intense production schedule. It's probably the closest thing any art school student could compare to boot camp. In our first two years, we did a TON of audio work on student productions. There are many, many insane stories (one including an actor shaving half of his head; another where the two of us were stuck recording audio on a roof in a dark alley in the dead of winter). It was art school so weird things were constantly happening. While I'm sure there are some embarrassing stories somewhere along the way, most involve being thrown together into strange situations with strange people for 12-hour stretches just to turn around and do it all over again the next day. With the crazy hours and constant work, we drank A LOT of coffee. We still drink A LOT of coffee.
Q: Are there any characters/scenes that you think AtmosFX should create, regardless of whether or not the decoration would sell well?
JM: I love AtmosFX Digital Decorations (Phantasms is a particular favorite), but it would be awesome to see robots, aliens or space themes sometime in the future.
Q: Not including Halloween, what is your favorite holiday?
JM: Halloween is my birthday. There are no other holidays. ;^)
Q: What is your favorite movie genre and what are your top 5 favorite movies within that genre?
JM: "Art House" which is a pretty nebulous genre. Is it even a single genre?
- The Holy Mountain
- The Fantastic Planet
- Eyes Without a Face