My name is Paul Hahn, I’m an art director and I live in Westchester now. Right down the street from Carson, which makes it easy to get to the Stub Hub Center. It will be easy to get to the new LAFC stadium as well. I’m thinking about getting season tickets to them.
Are you already thinking of becoming an LAFC supporter?
I’m originally a DC United fan having been from the area. I’m still a card-carrying member of Barra Brava, the DC United fan group. We were the originals. I think I’ll always be a member. I still support the movement to get them in their own stadium. It’s important for the team and the community.
But I like what LAFC is doing right now. They are making it very community based and it seems like a very modern day soccer franchise. Something that I think the Galaxy let slip away. They had an opportunity to connect with their fans in a real way. I love what LAFC is doing. Reaching out to their fan, getting their ideas and having them as part of their events. It’s really cool. You can tell its serious when a bunch of my friends in the American Outlaws are planning on jumping ship. That’s a serious thing. To jump ship from the Galaxy who are at the pinnacle of American soccer. To leave that is kind of crazy.
Tell us about your job as an art director. What does that entail?
I’m in my tenth year working in the digital world. Basically I’m a digital designer creating experiences in a digital world. I know that sounds kind of vague. but that’s how I describe it. It’s pretty much an ever-changing world out there when you are talking about digital. When I entered the game we were just talking about website design, fast forward a couple of years were starting to talk about TV experiences. For example working on designing out cable guides and TV menus. And then I started to branch out into everything from video game design as far as the menus and the graphics go to the graphics that you see on Fox Sports and ESPN. Now fast forward to modern day and we are working on everything. Being an art director in the digital world, that could mean everything from working on apps, to public installations, even vehicle design. I was lucky to be a part of the project that brought the digital screens to life for the BMW i3. Which is kind of crazy because you see them all over the place now. Meaning all the digital screens in the car I designed, which is dope. The instrumentation, the instrument panels, all the menus, the entertainment console. I think there are three screens in that car. So that was pretty dope.
No matter what happens the rest of your life you will always have that!
As long as humans are interacting with digital screens I will always have a job!
Lets stay on that topic of digital. People have long said that soccer in America is the sport of the Internet. Do you have any thoughts on being an American soccer fan and the use of technology in advancing the sport here?
Oh man, that is something I love to talk about at work. Soccer is the perfect topic. It came at the right place and right time. I have some really good friends that are here from London and they love America because they can finally watch every Arsenal game on TV. That is happening here in the US. Its kind of crazy to think that. As a DirectTV subscriber they have access to every single premier league game.
From a design perspective, it’s really easy and fun to imagine new experiences and new scenarios that we currently don’t have when it comes to soccer. For example, people had been kicking around the idea of sharing short highlight clips for years. We were just waiting on the platform to arrive and that’s what Vine really is. Vine was a huge breakthrough for soccer fans around the world. Right now if I were to share a highlight with you I would search for it on vine. My own personal Vine accounts is sick goals and crazy dunks from the NBA. That’s pretty much it. You need a partner to really make it happen, and I think Vine with their very lax rules and licensing disapprovals, they kind of let everything slide. Whereas YouTube, they are pretty much the opposite.
Do you think that platforms that allow for very quick and easily digestible clips of the game hurts or helps the sport?
It means more exposure for American fans and that is key. There is nothing negative about exposure. What are your alternatives? You see quick highlights on SportsCenter with other sports all the time. That has been good for those sports.
What I like about vine is that you are seeing that persons commentary on top of the goals. It’s usually an audible reaction so wherever it comes from around the world I find that part captivating. Hearing a grown man freaking out about goal or a move are amazing and kind of humanize the game. Hearing the realness of their reactions goes beyond just the highlight. There is no way I would put a highlight up on the Internet without putting my own emotion and commentary on it.
I know you are an Arsenal fan. Who do you think they should buy in the transfer window?
[Laughs] I’m glad that Higuain is off the table so we don’t have to hear about that anymore. That’s how I feel as an Arsenal fan. I don’t even want these players anymore. I want them signed other places so I don’t have to hear these rumors anymore. The last guy we could probably sense is Mahrez, but any Arsenal fan knows that that’s not how Arsene works. There hasn’t been an incident that I can remember where the media talks about a potential signing for a month and it actually happens. Usually it comes out of nowhere like it happened with Ozil, Sanchez, these were just kind of out of nowhere. Even Xhaka. All the names that are talked about like Stones, Higuain or Pogba, they never work out. So I don’t even think about those kinds of guys to join Arsenal Football Club. It will be some weird like 17 year old French dude that we’ve never heard of.
What’s your prediction for the top four teams finishing teams in the EPL this season?
My prediction for the top four? That’s a good one. Arsenal definitely number two [more laughing]. I think Mourinho’s mental game will just shatter the hopes and dreams of some other contenders. Manchester United might win the league just because of him. Pep and Mourinho I think are the two managers who can win the league in their first year. Im terrified of Pep. Ill put United winning the league. Im already crowning them champions! Arsenal two, just because that’s arsenal. Pep and City in three. It kind of sucks to say, but Tottenham is getting better every year. Their core scares me to death. They are going to be champion contenders all year. I hate to say it but those guys are awesome. Those guys are doing it right. Going young and keeping them all together. They are going to be scary.