Two Things For Your Consideration Today

The first thing I’d like you to consider today is this article from The Review Review by Michelle Seaton (I found this after it was tweeted by @Explorer – a great resource that you should follow). She’s speaking specifically to writers, but I think this exists in most creative professionals, and maybe everyone to some extent. I like her fix though – do more of whatever it is you do. For those of you that prefer the highlights, here is what I found most helpful:

Also, we writers are expert liars. Here are the top three lies we tell ourselves:

  • Rejection is all powerful. You think rejection is proof that you have no talent or that the work is no good. Actually, the only thing a rejection proves is that you sent out your work. Good for you. I suggest you collect ten of these and then reward yourself.
  • I will submit this story soon, when it feels finished. No you won’t. For most stories and essays there is no moment when it will feel good enough. Submit before you feel ready. Like, today.
  • I’m afraid that my work will end up in a journal that’s not good enough. Right. Because keeping the work moldering in your hard drive for a few years is a much better fate for it. No one knows how prestigious a journal is or isn’t—except for those at the very top. So stop obsessing.

It’s like she already read my blog, and my mind.

 

The second thing I would like to submit for your consideration is this short video by Eliot Rausch featuring Charlie Kaufman. I found this browsing the tweets of @Good , and highly recommend you follow them. I’ve watched this twice now, and I still haven’t really had it sink in all the way. The first time I was trying to listen and take in the images at the same time, which I found nearly impossible. Really listening, and converting that to understanding while also trying to see and convert those images to understanding was way too much for my brain to handle (especially at 2am). So I recommend playing it once with your eyes closed to really hear what he’s saying, and then once while watching to see how beautifully Eliot Rausch strung together this footage.

 

What I have to Offer from Eliot Rausch on Vimeo.

 

It’s a deep day! Leave your comments on either below, and let me know your thoughts.

 

Until Next Time,

-RachelAnn

Design On Fire

First, you should know – I LOVE the hunger games. I thought the series was really well done, and the movies didn’t do such a bad job either. They were thoroughly gorgeous and I can’t get over how awesome all the marketing pieces were. They really captured the ultra consumerism, high fashion, future that I was picturing when I read the books. Many have said they could have taken it even further, but I thought it was spot on. And everything goes together SO WELL. From the costumes to the web animations, everything in this campaign just fits.

I found this break down of the interactive website on Behance and I thought it would be awesome to share. Go be amazed 🙂

Until Next Time,

-RachelAnn

There Just Isn’t

A friend of mine asked me to make this for her. One of her all-time favorite  movies is the Wizard of Oz, so I can absolutely see why she would want this quote. It’s interesting how much this quote means to me. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I like the Wizard of Oz as much as the next girl, but it hasn’t really been on my top 10. None the less, this particular quote is really important to me now that I’m away from my family. It was comforting to work on, and fun to finish. Enjoy!

 

 

Until Next Time,

-RachelAnn

UNLESS

I promised you a post, and I’m through breaking blog promises, which we all know are the most sacred of the promises.

I designed and framed this for my sister in law for Christmas.

If you don’t recognize the quote, it’s from Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax. It has been her favorite book since forever and since we were trying to do simple gifts this year (and simple to mail to Texas) I thought this would be a nice little trinket. I made it in yellow and gray to match her decorations, and gave it a cute little frame. All in all I think it was effective.

I bring this up because I just went to see The Lorax in theaters. It was really bright and happy and fun, and I think the animators/illustrators did an amazing job. I also think that the quote itself is always worth a re-iteration.

I was never a big Dr. Seuss fan, not until I got older actually. I think I probably read One Fish Two Fish and Green Eggs and Ham once or twice as a kid, but it wasn’t until a high school teacher read us Oh The Places You’ll Go that I really started to see the value in his rhymes.

Maybe you’re tired of the environmental message or the down with big business spiel that the Lorax always gets pegged with (or maybe you’re not), but I think the really important part of this book/film is exactly that quote. It makes you feel something, or me at least. And it makes me think. It makes me think about what I complain about that I do nothing to change. It makes me think about what I care about, and what injustice I see. It makes me think about what I can do to help.

Maybe that injustice does include big business and the damage to the environment. It often does for me, but I can relate this even to my business. If I don’t have enough clients, sitting in my living room watching Downton Abbey isn’t going to change that. If I don’t have the skills I want or need, where can I go and what can I do to get them? It’s about being proactive I guess.

Find what it is for you.

Because – unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot (about whatever it might be), nothing is going to get better. It’s not.

Until Next Time,

-RachelAnn

The Title Sequence

I love movies, and pop cultural things in general, but especially movies. One of the greatest indicators, to me, of whether this movie is going to be worth it’s million dollar, or thousand dollar, budget is the opening credits. A well planned, designed, and executed opening credit sequence should be the perfect introduction to the mood, and look of the movie. So, if it’s well done, I get pumped for the rest of what I’m going to see. If it isn’t I pretty much lower my expectation bar and wait to be pleasantly surprised.

I’ve found that TV shows are stepping it up as of late as well. Especially shows that aren’t on basic cable (like Dexter, and True Blood) because they have bigger budgets, but there are are the occasional basic cable shows that just knock it out of the park as well.

If you google best opening credits, you’ll get the top 10s, the top 20s etc. but I’d like to make a case for some of the ones you might not see on those lists (and share some that are because they are that cool.)

First we’ll go with TV, in no particular order of my favorites.

1. Sherlock on BBC

I love this one because there is so much layering and movement. It gives you a good sense of what the show is like, i.e. a modern London and modern forensic technology tell you this is a modern show. The complexity of the layers and images that are sometimes strange and eery tell you this is a mystery and crime show. The worn type face tells you there is some element of history to it (because it’s based on sherlock holmes by sir arthur conan doyle) and the way each credit fits into some negative space gives kind of the feeling of fitting puzzle pieces together, which is the premise of the show. Also, if you haven’t seen this show’s 3 episode first season, go ahead and hop on watch instantly, they are pretty great.

2. Dexter

This is one of my favorite shows, and the opening credits were instrumental in grabbing my attention. I knew very little about the show when I watched this sequence the first time, but it was so cool how obvious it’s premise became  after watching this. First of all the music is spot on. I really love that old twangy sound mixed with the afro-cuban beat. It is perfect for the setting and tone of the show (Miami serial-killer of course). Then there’s the action. Everything he is doing is totally normal and mundane. Anybody would swat a mosquito and I don’t know anyone who would say drinking french press coffee, slicing and frying some ham, squeezing some orange juice, shaving, flossing, or tying their shoes is a weird action. They are all morning routine things that any normal human being could do. However, the slow motion, the close ups and the dark backdrop all give you the creeps don’t they? It’s the perfect set up because that’s Dexter’s goal – to seem normal, but underneath he is anything but. Not only this, but the typeface, and the spreading dark red that happens inside the type are wonderful additions. Everything is placed exactly in the right spot so that you know what this show is about, and what you’re about to see.

3. Boardwalk Empire

I haven’t actually watched this show, but apparently the opening credits were nominated for the 2011 Emmy for Outstanding Main Title Design, and I can see why. First of all the color and lighting are superb. It gives you an old time feeling with the perfect touch of there’s something bigger going on here than just some pretty waves on this man’s very fine shoes. The costume, the music and the movement are all great indicators that that this man is big time and that the time period is a little ways back. When all the bottles start to wash up on shore I wonder if they represent the actual alcohol they contain, or people, or bodies. When we get to the lightning flashing in his eyes and the swiftly coming rain clouds I pick up that he’s headed for trouble. And when he finally walks back toward the title (in a brilliant display of typeface choice) I can see he’s got it under control. This one is a great mood setter, and the placement of that stark white typeface over the sea greens and pinstripe suit is a great way to show off the names of Mark Wahlberg and Martin Scorsese. Way to go.

Now for some films, again in no particular order

1. Juno

I know a lot of people are doing this aftereffects illustrated thing nowadays, but I think it works best for Juno. The sort of stop motion feel of the illustration gives it the perfectly awkward vibe that the film carries throughout, and the colors definitely give off the “I was bored in a small town” feeling. Also, again, the action is perfectly suited to the premise of the film. She’s a  dumb kid drinking Sunny D so that she’ll have to pee for the third time in a row. Such an apt choice of music too. I also really love the drawing and un-drawing of places as she goes along and the hand drawn typeface. Each of the pieces lends itself really well to the attitude of the film.

2. The Prestige

First of all, besides this sequence: New Market Films has a GREAT logo, and I applaud whoever designed that one. Secondly, and pertaining to the title sequence: I cannot say enough about good typesetting. The Warner Brothers/Touchstone credit and the title both have leading and kerning that are to-die-for as well as a very well chosen typeface that coveys the antique setting and the showmanship of the film. You only really need to watch this video for a few seconds because they jump right in to the story. After the pan across all the silk top hats we are in story mode and no longer in title sequence land. Which is one of the things I love about this film, and Christopher Nolan: no wasting time. You came here for a film, so let’s have a film. Not only that, but the short title sequence gives you all the mood and info you need so why give any more time to it? You know it’s going to be somber, you know it’s going to be dark, you know it’s going to be elegant, and you know it’s going to be strange. All this from the typeface, colors, music, and one panning shot of the top hats in the forest. Brilliant.

3. O Brother Where Art Thou

Another vintage feel, but from a totally different place and time. The very first piece of the title sequence gives you just the sounds of the chain gang and the bugs as the studios get their credit. Then we see that retro typeface in a distressed feeling cream color that was so used in the early 1900s. Now one of my favorite features of the film: its tie to the Homer’s Odyssey. The typeface is easily read, and wonderfully spaced in the same vintage cream color. Even the timing of the fades is perfect. Then we finally see the landscape the chain gang is working with and hear them sing. I love the washed out color, gives you the sense of monotony they must feel. As we pan over the chain gang and their work the film is setting up what these boys are running from the entire movie. When the title comes in we get a change of pace in the music and some really delightful vintage design trinkets in the super thin frame and icons in the corners. They keep the vintage font, and intersperse some great action sequences of the guys running. I love the mix of comedy and tragedy in this film, and the opening credits give you a pretty good sense of that by dividing if between the chain gang sequence and the escape sequence.

So, obviously this isn’t exhaustive, but just a few that I really love. Hope you’ve enjoyed it. See you next time!

-RachelAnn