Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Pepe and Lucas - Movie Poster Development

One of the last things I did for Pepe and Lucas was design the movie poster. In my mind, that was a pretty quick job. Just create an image that encompassed the heart and soul of the short or create an awesome montage like a Drew Struzan poster. Simple. Like so much of Pepe and Lucas, this was to be yet another learning experience. I took a movie poster class in art school and one of the assignment challenges was to design a poster for Forrest Gump. My teacher told us that he chose this movie because it contained so many genres within it and could be promoted in any number of ways. It was a love story, a war epic, a historical drama, a comedy, a buddy movie, etc.. It had everything. I came to find that the genre blending in our short created much the same challenge. So I set about trying to cover as many possibilities as I could.
 I began setting up a conflict.
 I grabbed a couple frames from the animatic.
 I took inspiration from zany comedy action movie posters like It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. I spent a lot of time playing with title placement.

 Eventually, I started involving the Magician as a dark, looming presence.
 Even though making money doesn't end up being the real victory, it is what causes the conflict to escalate to epic proportions. I decided very early that I didn't want to reveal the characters' "powers" or hint at a possible friendship or romance. If the twists are what make your story unique, you don't want to ruin the surprise for your audience.
 I eventually moved from just character sketch ideas to more finished color comps utilizing characters from the animatic or from the concept art. Something to get us just that one step closer to a more finished idea.
 I had started investigating poster ideas that just introduced the characters in some kind of a composition without actually alluding to the story or conflict. Just introducing them as appealing characters.
 I found this actually gave a little more mystery and anticipation and really highlighted what we had set out to do -- create an awesome company portfolio piece that demonstrated our studio's capability with a strong emphasis on character design and animation.

 I had just about exhausted all of my ideas at this point, but my co-worker Tony Vasquez suggested focusing on elements other than the faces. The hats and the shoes were all very distinct and were strong symbols for each character.

There's no police presence, even after all the destruction and mayhem, but I liked Tony's suggestion to do a literal character lineup. This may seem like a lot of posters and in fact, I cut out a chunk that were subtle variations on many of these. However, this image is one of only a handful of images that the audience gets to see to convince them to watch our short. Here more than anywhere else, we need to cover all the bases.
I don't make movie posters for our products much at BZ, but this opportunity ended up being very enlightening. It reminded me how less is so often more - less story and less character (or rather, cropping the character for a better composition). I feel like if we'd highlighted the action and the battles, then that's all anyone would have expected, but also all they would have wanted to see as well. Action and effects are so eye catching, and we really wanted an eye catching image that also intrigued the imagination. We needed to entice someone to step into our genre blended world to see what would happen. In my next post I'll show you the final movie poster we created as well as some of the promotional images we created for the film.

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