Tuesday, September 24, 2013


This is my first movie poster. I was lucky to be involved in creating it, and delighted that the filmmaker let me have that much fun. It began with a screenplay for a science fiction short titled Default, by E.M. Spairow. It is set close by in the future, has education as a theme, and a Bradbury book in the scenic design.The dystopian story displays a soupcon of horror, a touch of dark comedy, a terrible timely trope. What would that look like on a poster? There would be red and black, because those are the colors of the horror genre. Black at the bottom because if you're sinking, you're fading to black. Black is the pit of hell, it's also a dandy pedestal to support the art above, and it works as a perfect place to put credits now, and film festival laurels later. Anyone who has enjoyed seeing a PAID IN FULL stamp will appreciate the terror of a PAST DUE stamp so an inky untidy font surrounded by a decayed box in dried blood red would simulate an old school rubber stamp. The yellow to orange descending gradient in the background is meant to simulate flame. "It was a pleasure to burn," is the opening line of Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. I wanted the lighter versions of the Default stamp to glimmer enough to create a phantom shimmer. One of the prototypes had a 50% transparent gray gaussian blur ascending middle to top, but it was too much, and I remembered to rely on the audience to see what it wanted to see. Put everything in and then take stuff out. It's a good design rule and a good writing rule, too. In drawing class I liked the method of laying dark all over and using erasers to pull the highlight. I haven't seen the poster with gloss paper yet, but I think, with a good light source, it will fool the eyes into seeing fire. Glance at the poster, quickly look away and your retina will supply the ghost image I'm talking about. The filmmaker liked this poster enough to use it on the DVD cover, too. I'm delighted. The creative process is joy for me, and when the person I've drawn for is happy, that is bliss. You can follow the life of Default on the movie's facebook page, or on twitter.

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