"FOREST FIRE" - TITLE SEQUENCE
I have long seen national competitions come and go, letting them slip by with my eyes on seemingly more important tasks at hand. While sometimes that may have been true, I no longer wanted it to feel as though I kept making excuses to give one a shot. I had noticed Filmsupply had a competition coming up. They partnered with their sister company Musicbed to sponsor a competition and I could not pass this one up. The jist of the rules were, you had to use 5-40 pieces of stockfootage from Filmsupply and 1-3 pieces of music from Musicbed keeping your creation under or at one minute long. There were three categories you could submit under, Ad Spec, Trailer, or Title Sequence. Of course, like many Motion Designers, I have a dream of working on title sequences for a living.
So, I start scouring musicbed for a place to start. I'm a musician, a killer soundtrack is a great way to get my visual creativity sparked. I found a few pieces that were potential winners but, I ended up settling on this piece by Adona. There was something about the hook of "runnin through the fire" that I thought I might be able to build around.
I found a BOAT load of potential footage that began fitting a small narrative but, it was still far to wide in scope to hone down a coherent stoyline that I could build around. After going around in circles of possible ideas, I decided to grab a few frames and jump into Photoshop to start designing a few frames. I figured maybe if I could start finding a visual language to jump from some ideas for more story development might come along.
After a little messing around with Title Lockup Possibilities this was the first frame I landed on. From there I began an animatic, piecing the puzzle together with different combinations of footage. I knew it would be very easy to get all this put together and for everything to feel diss-jointed and disperate, so I did my best to limit the piece to a handful of characters. This ended up being a difficult decision, I left a few phenomenal shots on the cutting room floor because I simply had too many different faces in the piece.
After a few late nights (paying clients get in the way of this sort of thing!) a story began to form. It was a lot of back and forth between finding major transition points then lining up shots that would make sense and letting the shots inform story development. At a certain point I had enough of the key spots filled out, that I had fully formed a story of the show to build around. After that it became a breeze to link the pieces together to fit that story. The plot line I developed went like this:
Iraqi War Vet John Forest returns home to his struggling hometown on the coast of North Carolina. He begins seeing a prostitute and it soon becomes a relationship free of charge. John comes to find that she is being pimped out by her incestuous brother. Becoming enraged by jealousy and protectiveness, his response leads to an uncontrollable tailspin of debauchery, violence, and murder.
I've got to say though, I fell for the trap. I told myself this will not take on the double exposure of True Detective's Season One. Sure... However, for being my first dive into Title Sequence land... on an amature level, I have to say I LOVE this kind of work. I sincerely hope that I find myself lucky enough to do this kind of thing professionaly one day. As for how the competition ultimately ended up for me, I came into it with high hopes. Just like other competitions I've gotten into I REALLY wanted to win one of those titles, however yet again I fell a hair short. My hat is off to the winners though. Again, very well deserved, there was some truly top notch work posted throughout this process. I did however find some sort of concellation, "Forest Fire" got an honorable mention within the winning announcements. Although extremely bummed when I first read it, I am now very proud. Two thousand some entries and I was lucky enough to graze the top of the pile.
You can check out the winning announcements, be sure to take sometime and check out the winning submissions. They are well worth your time!
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