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Traction Films

JC Estensen

JC Estensen – Creative Director

Remember that kid your mother wouldn't let you play with? Well, he's running Traction’s creative department. Growing up in Minneapolis, “The Estensen Boys” were widely renowned for their free-spirited, risk-taking exploits. And, as the eldest of this group, JC naturally found himself in a leadership position while still quite young. So, it's no surprise that the qualities he refined then--fierce independence, occasional irreverence and a flair for creative story-telling--have made him a success in the film world. JC began his career at Leo Burnett in Chicago and went on to work in Louisville and Minneapolis, where he spent 8 years at Campbell Mithun. Throughout the course of his career, JC has collected creative awards for work on clients such as Maker's Mark Bourbon, Laphroaig Single Malt Scotch, Knob Creek Bourbon (noticing a trend?), Toro Lawnmowers and Andersen Windows. JC has spent much of his career writing, creating and producing TV concepts and working alongside various directors and DPs on locations all over the world. JC eventually decided that living in the mountains near Bozeman, and close to world-class skiing, would be a terrific way to feed his creative muse. If you meet JC on the slopes and are looking for a way to break the ice and test his ability to spin a good tale, just ask him how a certain neighborhood swamp might've happened to catch on fire.

Jessica Tavenner

Jessica Tavenner – Production Manager

We can safely say that we've already got our fair share of Renaissance men, but Jessica may hold the distinguished title of being our most accomplished Renaissance woman. World traveler? Check. Degree in Art History? Check. International purveyor of fine costume jewelry and borderline film geek? Yep. Luckily for us, Jessica grew bored with her 15-hour production days and working on more than 30 feature films in New York, including: Sleepers, The Devil’s Own, Miss Congeniality and Meet Joe Black (her lips remain sealed about what Brad Pitt’s REALLY like). So, after a brief stint developing lines of costume jewelry for the likes of K-Mart, Target and Walmart, she brought her creative talents to Montana to settle down and recharge. She has since produced several award-winning commercials and enjoys the less-than-15-hour workdays she’s found with us (unless there’s an RFP to write, proof, edit, format and send out, of course).

Mike Gold

Mike Gold - CEO

We could start with the fact that Mike is a Brit with a fine mind and a Monty Python-esque sense of humor who played rugby and enjoys opera. Or, we could start with the cities where he has worked: places like London, Auckland, San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles. Or the ad agencies: BBDO, Publicis and Saatchi & Saatchi as President of the San Francisco operation. He spent valuable time on the client side as SVP of Advertising and Corporate Communications for Packard Bell, NEC in Los Angeles. Mike’s agency clients included Heineken (lots of product testing required to understand the consumer experience), Cadbury and Packard Bell. He also ran international accounts like FedEx, Pizza Hut, Hewlett-Packard and British Airways, as well as managing the $200 million M&M Mars account across 42 countries…that’s a lot of chocolate! Awards? Numerous Clio’s, Cannes Lions and the PROMO for best business-to-business promotion in the world have left him well versed in the arenas of film and broadcast production. After a life of globe hopping to more than 70 countries, Mike has settled in Montana, where he teaches Advertising and Global Marketing at MSU-Bozeman. Traction Films feels pretty darn lucky to have a guy like this at the helm. In fact, we keep pinching ourselves.

Murray Steinman

Murray Steinman - President

Every company needs a visionary, and ours is Murray. He has a planeload of experience in PR, marketing, advertising and strategic planning – which just happens to mesh quite nicely with what we do for our clients. He has helped many clients build their brands and has worked with major national and international news organizations. By “major” we mean the likes of ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox Networks, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post plus the BBC, ITN and Tokyo TV. He facilitated a $14 million land deal adjacent to Yellowstone National Park, developed an integrated campaign that enabled the Dakota Value Capture Cooperative to raise $20 million, and launched a $15 million capital campaign for the National Farmers Union. When Murray isn’t overseeing Traction, he is working on his novel or training at the local athletic club.

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