Archive for the ‘Film’ Category

Found on Veer today, a blog called Future Trash on which a large number of intricate illustrations are posted, inviting the curious to sit and stare at the bizarre details for way too long. There’s an alphabet neighborhood in which each house is built inside of a letter, each with its own quirks and eccentricities. Also featured is “crash/canal,” a twisted labyrinth of roads filled with all manner of happenings. Oddly, both of these mini-verses seem to be entirely devoid of people, making me wonder if these are visions of a place or time when something went horribly wrong, a la the creepy-looking movie coming out on Friday the 13th in June about the world’s flora poisoning all those bad humans. In any case, these intriguing drawings remind me of exploring Richard Scarry books as a kid or doodling elaborate stick-figure worlds in my Geography notebooks in high school. Fun stuff.

Also, continuing the excellent trend of creating end titles that keep viewers rooted to their seats long after a movie ends, Communication Arts recognizes the gorgeous titles from Enchanted by Yuco. Featuring hand-illustrated imagery composited with 2-D and 3-D elements and lush typography that grows into each scene, the work is entertaining as a stand-alone piece of artwork and joins other such end-title gems as the titles for Lemony Snicket. Good luck navigating the Yuco website, however – the branching lines effect can really get irritating when you’re trying to find something specific.


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In a fresh re-imagining of the “please don’t talk during the movie” spot that plays just before the titles come up, Martin Scorsese barges in on a sweet phone call between a little boy and his daddy. It’s clever, hysterical, and WAY better than the annoying “sound effects” one that we usually get, complete with wailing baby that sounds just a tad too real.

Friday Juicy Site Bonus: A blog all about package design. Some of it I’ve seen, some is new, all is gorgeous. The author seems attracted to the crisp, clean graphic design that is cutting through the clutter lately. Bravo! I’ll be adding this blog to my rotation, so expect to see reviews on some of this stuff in the future.

Found on Veer 

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Cloverfield poster

I wrote a few months back about the ingenious trailer for the now-named Cloverfield movie, featuring a hand-held camera of a party which gets rudely interrupted by a mysterious large monster crashing through downtown New York. Giving only the date of release, interested viewers are intrigued enough to track down hints and clues on a variety of websites, set up forums discussing their findings and hypotheses, and basically work themselves into a frenzy over the upcoming movie.

Basically it’s the viral concept, carefully crafted into a marketing strategy that has been wildly successful in this instance. It helps that the man responsible for the movie is also well-known for his series Lost, who drops tantalizing hints onto websites, into episodes, on DVDs, online games and various other places to keep the storyline as complex and engaging as possible.

But I think the real discovery here is the idea of personal investment in one’s characters. In Lost, the viewer slowly uncovers the histories of the characters, and through personal effort (the “search”) finds out more about each person so that the character feels real to the viewer and also very personal. The triumph of solving a puzzle or searching down a clue involves the viewer and requires the kind of personal investment that puts them into the storyline, almost as if they really know the people involved and are trying to help them in real-time.

In Cloverfield, the viewers are able to find videos, photos and information about various characters and their relationships with each other, in real-time, leading up to the movie’s release so that by then they’ve been experiencing this storyline for months and can’t wait to find out what happens to their friends. Truly genius, and an important mantra for advertisers: get your audience personally invested in your product, and you’ve got a winner.

Here’s a very thorough recap of the entire marketing effort on Movie Marketing Madness. Very much worth a read.

Found on AdFreak via Twitter.

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A short film

The significance of the message in this short film might take a couple of views to catch, especially some of the smaller moments. Either way it’s beautifully made, succinct and hopeful. Made by Hillman Curtis, found on Veer.

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When a character in a tv show drinks a Pepsi, it’s called product placement and to some it’s considered a very sneaky method of subliminal advertising. However, animated movies do this kind of thing all the time, and it’s considered a clever puzzle to be discovered as part of the enjoyment of watching the movie. A detailed list of some of Pixar’s in-house promotional easter eggs can be found in this article from Jim Hill Media. It becomes a kind of “Where’s Waldo” search if you know that there is something to look for. For example, I have seen most of the movies mentioned but I never caught on to the Pizza Planet truck cameo. I did, however, notice the Toy Story and Nemo toys in Boo’s bedroom in Monster’s Inc.

Film makers have a list of ways to make their “boring” jobs more fun. If you start to notice them, after a while they can become quite distracting and annoying. In particular, the so-called “Wilhelm Scream,” a sound effect from an old cowboy film that has been used in tv shows, commercials, video games and movies for years – and which once you are tuned in to notice it, can stick out like a sore thumb and cause a major break in the suspension of disbelief during an otherwise enjoyable movie.

But as a puzzle-lover, I find that these little in-jokes are intriguing and often very cleverly hidden, and so I look for them more often than am turned off by them. Beyond being used as a common thread between movies from the same studio, I can see this method being misused to promote products in the same way that tv show product placement is used to (successfully) get people to drink more Pepsi. But for the most part, it’s a harmless amusement that generates a little buzz for the animators and studios. 

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An excellent list of typography in motion as the primary graphic element in video was posted on Designer Daily recently. In reviewing the videos listed, I appreciate the focus on the dynamics of the words, the synchronization to the audio track and the willingness for the most part to let go of additional graphics.

The beauty of type is emphasized, and the motion mirrors the emotion of the voice or music through color, movement and effects.

However. When all of these videos are viewed in series, I noticed that the concept of type being used in this way has already been made repetitive. With few exceptions (the Citizen Cope animation being a gorgeous example of one that steps outside the mold), each of these animations presents the words as a continually rotating or shifting stack of words that slide together niftily into a neat little puzzle. Top of one word slides and rotates to meet the sides of the next four words, which turn again to meet the bottom of the next word, perhaps with a stripe thrown in for added strength. Then to push the 3D illusion, the first set of word blocks is maybe tilted in space while the next set of words clatter into place at an imagined 90˚ angle, which then rotates away again to accept the next sentence.

I love that type is being explored in motion mediums. But creatives – be creative! There is more than one way to make motion type dynamic.

Found on Veer.

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Finally, Fallon has released the “making of” for their latest Bravia ad, Play-Doh. I haven’t seen a more permanent link (Creativity Online locks free content after a week or so), but I’ll update the link if I find one in the near future. It’s a great study on how insane a simple idea can become. For such a happy, light-hearted ad, it looks like it was an absolute headache to make.

And, for all the advertisers and graphic designers out there working toward the weekend, here’s one of those humorous “it’s funny because it’s true” links: a spoof on an infomercial selling various products for those clients who know exactly what they want but their designers aren’t giving it to them. It gets a bit long & repetitive in spots, but it’s good for a laugh. (Found on AdFreak)

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