Case Study: 16 oz Screenplay Promotion
MOVIE POSTER DESIGN & EXECUTION
16 oz: The story of a boxing club owner caught between two worlds finds himself battling his past and his heritage in the build up to the final showdown.
Story Board: "A storyboard is a graphic organizer that plans a narrative (Aaron Sherman for Storyboard That)."
Commercial photography: “An area of photography capturing images used to sell, advertise or market a business, a product, a service, a person or persons. Magazines are filled with adverts. Photographical images within these adverts are commercial photographs. Billboards, packaging, brochures, leaflets and posters all fall under the banner of commercial photography. It’s basically any photograph being used for business, sales and making money (Heather Evans for Theselfemployed.com).”
Graphic Design: “Graphic design is the craft of creating visual content to communicate messages. Applying visual hierarchy and page layout techniques, graphic designers use typography and pictures to meet users’ specific needs and focus on the logic of displaying elements in interactive designs to optimize the user experience (The Interaction Design Foundation).”
Process: Concepting, Client Revision, Talent Acquisition/Searching, Execute Photoshoots, Retouching, Compositing, Layout Design/Branding, Client Presentation, Print
Role: Project Management, Creative Direction, Designer, Photographer, Stylist, Retoucher
Tools: Acrobat, Lightroom, Photoshop, Illustrator, 301 Original Photography Studio, R&L Digital (Printing)
Additional Credits: Mike Steiner (Model), Michael Bonardi (Production), Taylor Chung (Model), Joseph Hahn (Model), Alex Wagner (Car Owner), Jacob Wendel (Car Owner), Zachary Collins (Car Owner)
Pain Point: Nothing to Show Investors
A rough sketch won’t lock in any investors. To fully embrace the gravity of the 16oz screenplay, it needed to have a face that could be translated throughout multiple platforms.
Utilizing a pivotal scene from the screenplay, create a movie poster that can, in turn, become a book cover as well as assist in pitching to investors.
Concepting: Nail The Vision Prior to Production
Storyboarding. This portion of the project is absolutely critical because it will help align the client to the creative vision. If a creative team dives straight into execution without the client signing off on every detail, this almost always guarantees that you’ll be doing more work that won’t be accounted for in the budget.
This stage can either be hand-drawn or, my approach, find imagery that is as close to the creative vision as I can find online. From there, I efficiently composite everything together in Photoshop to provide a rough version of what the final piece will look like. Because this is photography based movie poster with text (title, teaser, author), each of the elements must be considered so that the client can envision it the same way I am.
The details are the most important part: wardrobe styling, types of vehicles, overall mood of the image and text, graphic elements, the way the snow is falling (is it blowing the snow sideways or are they heavy flakes falling quietly in a foreboding, quiet manor), everything must be hashed out.
This stage also provides the opportunity for the client to note any revisions prior to final execution. These may be simple tweaks to typography, addition or subtraction of characters, compositional shifts, etc. All of which must be taken into consideration throughout the assorted photoshoots/design process. For example, the client noted the initial font choice for 16 oz was too “Fast & Furious”, suggesting that he wanted more of a Japanese feel to it.
Coordination and Execution of Photoshoots: Let’s Do This
A mixture of phone calls, emails and texts as well as an occasional favor or two are required to lock in talent. Once the individuals have been chosen for the respective characters, clothing sizes must be accounted for.
Then I ran out to Forever 21 because I knew they’d carry the right style clothing I was seeking out. Find the right fit, colors, styles, and keep the darn receipt! Everything can be returned.
From there, shoot each character in-studio. Lighting is specific to the scene (characters are heavily backlit by car headlights, dramatic overhead light simulating the light of the moon and the light naturally reflecting off of a snow covered ground). It has to be dramatic while simultaneously being believable.
The cars were just as important as the people — Japanese mafia wouldn’t drive an Alfa Romeo or a Ford Focus. Sporty, edgy, red and black to keep with the overall color scheme. Civic Type R, Nissan 240 SX and a Mustang. Once I found appropriate cars through a Columbus car group on Facebook (a little bit of resourcefulness goes a long way), I scheduled times to meet with the owners to photograph their vehicles. The cars were shot on separate days but lighting (overcast) had to be consistent for each one.
Effects add a realistic touch to the overall scene. Snow flakes (shot separately) overlaid atop everything as well as a smoke layer (in a cold environment, cars would naturally emit exhaust that in turn would create the smokey effect). Smoke smoothes the transition between the middle ground and the background (the skyline). I chose to shoot my own images to achieve the smoke effect by using a fog machine in a warehouse to ensure I’m using only the highest quality imagery throughout.
I created my own texture for the 16oz type treatment by capturing photos that could easily be manipulated to read like a decaying, beaten up feel without sacrificing legibility.
Retouching: The Real Magic
I’ve gotten the shots, now it’s time to clean them up and isolate them. Once each image is isolated, I drop them into the final scene based off of the initial design concept and ground them by adding shadows where/when needed.
This process is entirely behind the scenes but is absolutely critical to the end product. A poorly composited poster means that you’ll be able to see where the pieces were photoshopped out, sizing and proportions are off, pieces are pixelated or inconsistent in image quality, any number of things could happen. The key is to regulate the production process so as to avoid amateur mistakes like so.
Results: Legitimize the Story
There should be a well executed image to assist in telling the story in a quicker, shareable manor. Not only does this provide a face to the screenplay, 16oz, it now opens the doors to creating a more fleshed out campaign for partnerships, a book cover, and gives investors something to sink their teeth into.
What’s Your Story? 301 Can Help Bring It To Life
From the initial meeting where we established overall creative direction to the delivery of the framed image, we ensured every detail was taken care of. By going through 301 Original, the client was able to turn a rough sketch into a dramatic, eye catching hero image tailored to the original narrative.
Investors want to know that their money is going to be well spent. When presenting a story, having a strong visual element to accompany it helps to insert the viewer within the narrative. After all, if they’re unable to relate, if they cannot connect, why would they feel obliged to support such a thing?
Schedule your no-strings-attached call with 301 Original today. We want to know what your story is and how we can help bring it to life.