Thursday, July 1, 2010

Creating the Brand... courtesy of Artist Jennifer Downey

It's been over a month since I've written a real blog posting, but oh, it has been one long journey. We are, my friends, nearing the end of production. Final edits have been completed. Versions have been posted. Effects have been added, changed, re-added, edited and changed again. Credits writted and changed. Music composed. Licensed music edited, cut in and laid on the video. Conference calls with the composer. Meeting with the sound post-production guru (aka Richard Ross, AES). And, totally unforeseen, we had to create an intro graphic announcing Museworks. As soon as I saw the rough cut, I knew it was wrong, so wrong, to have my logo, or any logo for that matter, laying on top of the first scene of the film. That's a core rule of branding and something I do know a little about.

Spent a couple of hours yesterday at the studio of our effects master Matt Rhodes. Yesterday, June 30, was Film Lock Day. And although we didn't officially lock it, we did indeed lock the direction and changes to get there. I drove over to Oakland and sat down with a big fat glass of red wine (yes, it was quite delicious) and we started tackling all the little finishing touches remianing to be done -- which effects to stick with, which to dismiss, at what point we fade out the effects, etc. Then we hashed through the credits -- how to pace them, which to de-emphasize, changing the order, adding new names, adding music credit details, on and on. Then we headed into unknown territory: the graphic intro.

This is a little project I've been tackling for the last 10 days or so. Once I realized that I needed the intro, I flashed back to Jennifer Downey, our original storyboard illustrator. She's a talented artist and has a lot of really great art that we could choose from. So I perused her website and selected two images that I thought would work for the intro. But talented often means busy and despite multiple phone and email messages back and forth, we never connected live. But she made it happen. She was able to access the electronic file of one of the paintings and emailed it over, cropped exactly how I needed it. I thank God here for the blessings of technology (again) and for all the years of extended love shared among my friends. As Jennifer was getting ready to board her flight for vacation, she emailed me the image and went on her way. That's trust AND love right there. Doesn't get any better than that.

The image:  Old Wise Limbs
Oil on Canvas
24 x 44 x 1.5 in

So with our film composer on the line (again), we reviewed the intros used by Paramount, Universal, Dreamworks, and 20th Century Fox. Each was almost exactly 22 seconds. Weird. So we stuck with 15 seconds and created a little graphic "pow" moment for Douglas, because he's a musician and he'll like that.

The intro looks fabulous. Mucho thanks to Jennifer for making the time to get us the artwork. It's just beautiful.

Jennifer Downey
A native Californian, Jennifer lives and works in Berkeley, across the bay from San Francisco. After graduating from UC Davis with degrees in English and Economics, she pursued a "sensible" career in business. However, after finding office politics, hour-long commutes, dress-down Fridays, and cubicle confines anything but conducive to creativity, she quit, packed her bags, and left for Ireland. In the small, coastal town of Galway, the Atlantic wind cleared her head and she rediscovered her original love: art.

In her illustration work, Jennifer combines bold, graphic color with clean line. She is interested in how line and color interact--how an image transforms as one views it from a color-dominant perspective and then from a line-dominant one. She strives to create images that engage the viewer and make the accompanying text or message memorable.

Jennifer is inspired by wilderness, mythology, activism, travel, salon-style conversations, trail rides, the changing of seasons, live music, and people who see no choice but to follow their passions.

You can view Jennifer's art on her website or at
Check out other studio intros on youtube.
Dreamworks Intro

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