Saturday, November 2, 2013

DETONATOR _ Movie Poster Design

DETONATOR is a killer first feature film by bud Damon Maulucci and his co-creator Keir Politz. Even though I'm biased, this tale resonated with me in its conflict of art, big dreams, big business, and the responsibilities of adult domesticity. Here's the rub:
Sully fights to hold on to his family when a toxic friend resurfaces. In this gritty thriller, Sully, former frontman of a once prominent punk band, anxiously trudges toward a new world in order to remain in his young son’s daily life when ex-bandmate, Mick, catches him mid-stride with a promise to make good on an old debt. In one hellish night that stretches till dawn, Sully chases Mick through the recesses of Philadelphia.
I had the chance to help the filmmakers work up a poster for their showing at the Indie Memphis Film Festival this weekend. The subject matter begged for a lo-fi photocopied concert flier treatment. After a few iterations, we arrived at the following image based on a flier they did for a local screening and with my hand lettering for the credits.

And, here's a look at some earlier roughs (with dummy copy as credits).

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

CRUMBY PICTURES _ Art Direction for Sesame Street

Long time, no blog.

I'm finally able to open the oven on CRUMBY PICTURES, the Cookie Monster movie trailer parody series that premiered on Season 44 ( ! ) of Sesame Street this week. Rather than a classroom curriculum of math or literacy, these shorts teach executive functions (self-control, patience, delayed gratification) by having the impetuous monster face personal challenges as the star of famous flicks (including Lord of the Rings, Life of Pi, and Hunger Games).

MAGNETIC DREAMS has worked with Sesame Workshop for years now (Elmo the Musical, shorts like Birdwalk Empire, Super Grover 2.0) creating computer-generated characters and backgrounds to accompany Muppet performances shot on green screen.

For Crumby Pictures, the goal was to make the production feel as much like the original movies as possible from little Easter Egg details to overall polish.

In classic Muppet fashion, the opening starts with a bang. A send-up of the Universal logo animation, one bite into a chocolate chip planet results in an exploding crumby debris field (rigged by Benjamin Rodriguez). Below is an alternate snazzier version of the logo I had proposed.

THE BISCOTTI KID (parody of The Karate Kid) was the first to air as a sneak preview on the internet. After the video are my logo and some still frames (Creative Director, Rickey Boyd and Comp Director, Rhea Borzak). A lot of great in-jokes in the script and I threw in some recognizable objects like the handheld drum from Karate Kid 2.

THE SPY WHO LOVED COOKIES (parody of both the old and new Bond movies, including the song "Cookie Fall") was essentially our pilot episode of the series. Most episodes contain a single full CG set (here, Ladyfinger's lair as concept art by me, final model by Brad Applebaum) and photocomp plates that I create and are thoroughly embellished by our compositing team.

Below are my backplate for the vista outside Ladyfinger's Lair and unused backgrounds for scenes in M's office and Q's lab that were cut for time.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

"NOBODY CARES" _ An Update

At the end of last year, I helped a group of local Nashville students create an artwork that expressed the violence in their neighborhood. It's called "Nobody Cares." For more detailed information, go HERE.

They depicted themselves as piƱatas, burst open and spilling traits on paper that would be their eulogies, those qualities the world would lose in their passing. But the piece wouldn't be finished until the public was able to interact with it at the Frist Center gallery in the entrance hall this April. Now, only a few months later, the artwork is literally overwhelmed with the red and pink accounts of violence the viewers have experienced and of the lives they mourn. 

And, here's feedback from the Associate Educator at the museum:

"NOBODY CARES has really filled out and is a vibrant shock to the viewing public as a whole. Many responses have been shared to the point we are having to regulate the weight of the paper messages so other can continue to add to the piece."

Today's a day to remember the deceased, celebrate the living, and denounce those who choose to bring more violence into the world by their own hand.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

ELMO THE MUSICAL _ Detective and Prince Elmo (Easter Eggs)

After a brief break, Sesame Street is airing the remaining Elmo the Musical episodes for Season 43. As with any production, I feel like the team at MAGNETIC DREAMS STUDIO continued to learn and improve upon our computer-generated environments and animation over the course of the season, including a fully CG-animated character in the form of a stinky-breathed Dragon in PRINCE ELMO THE MUSICAL.

This week's DETECTIVE THE MUSICAL (Thursday 2/14) was actually one of the first scripts that I did development art for. You can see in the following collection how I experimented with a more graphic, abstract, rendition for the show (the bottom row, along with the SEA CAPTAIN pilot) that was ultimately surpassed by the fully-realized sets of the top row.

Below is a closer look at the Muppet Noir concept art for the episode's motel room (design by Astrid Riemer and additionally lighting by me, final models by Tim Crowson, lighting effects by Josh Stafford). Correct me if this isn't the seediest set in Sesame history...

An arty inside joke for the older kids (and adults), we needed to add some motel art so I digitally painted a Cubist still life to accompany the episode's math curriculum about cubes.

DETECTIVE was one of the few episodes where I did concept art for scenes that were eventually cut for time. Although we do feature a felty femme fatale and a cube criminal with a signature trait, the show almost also originally featured the streetlight lit encounters in dark alleys and on foggy docks that also populate classic Film Noir.

PRINCE ELMO THE MUSICAL (full episode online along with web games HERE) is our epic journey of an episode with our largest sets and a number of complicated effects and models (like an undulating, burping, Hill of Beans - models by Brad Applebaum and Lyn Lopez, effects by Abdel Pizarro). I added a pretty prominent Easter Egg homage for old school Sesame Street fans. See if you recognize it and then check the video at the end of the post.