Posts Tagged ‘Saul Bass’

One of Mad Men's most distinctive ads

Capturing Style – and getting the period right

How to seduce the viewer, the consumer, the public?  A show that has explored that driving question in very powerful, incisive, and grownup ways has been the series Mad Men, which is reaching its final episode in just a few days.  This article by Brooke Marine from Vulture features the work of co-producer Josh Weltman, who was brought on board Mad Men by creator and showrunner Matt Weiner to create fictional period-appropriate advertising for protagonist adman Don Draper.

The challenges presented by commercial work have been explored in Moving Images and in previous posts on this blog, including an appreciation of Saul Bass and the close-up interview with Kevin Goff, creator of the 2015 Esurance ad featuring the Breaking Bad Walter White character and McDonald’s “Mom vs. Dad” and “The Last Fry,” among others.  Besides “seducing strangers,” as Josh Weltman puts it, how about simply keeping the attention of teenagers or college students?  That’s the enormous challenge faced by any young filmmakers creating ads or PSAs for high school or university contexts.  It’s also a tall order that can help any young adpeople to hone their communications skills for some of the toughest audiences imaginable.  And this helps all students to understand and critique the media messages that they face every day.

Read Full Post »

Storyboard example from "The Hanging Tree" by writer/director/artist Delmer Daves

Storyboard example from “The Hanging Tree” by writer/director/artist Delmer Daves

One of the primary preparatory methods available to mediamakers working through pre-visualization techniques is storyboards.  This concept is presented in the initial chapter of Moving Images and has been discussed numerous times in mediateacher.net blog posts (such as through the work of Alex Toth or Saul Bass).  For filmmakers and educators wishing to explore further a wide range of methods and historical uses of storyboards, the following post (with the caveat of “please be forewarned!” some of their examples are gruesome, such as from John Carpenter’s The Thing) from the exceptional site cinephilia & beyond is a superb resource.  The cases from such classics as Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train, Ridley Scott’s Alien and Blade Runner, among others, are extremely informative.

And this year’s deluxe boxed-set blu-ray release of Jerry Lewis’s The Nutty Professor has provided one of the most unexpectedly thorough resources concerning storyboarding that has ever been released to the public.  In addition, for more information on the image at left and its creator Delmer Daves, check this post out on this inspiring American creator.

Read Full Post »

Saul Bass titles for Delmer Daves's "Cowboy"

Saul Bass titles for Delmer Daves’s “Cowboy”

Today’s Google Doodle is a clever visual pièce-de-résistance quite worthy of its subject, Saul Bass.  A year ago, I wrote a blog post about this brilliant American creator in Saul Bass, Visual Innovator.  As well as checking out my post you should also see this piece by the Doodle’s creator, Matthew Cruickshank, or this Washington Post blog that features many video links.  Have fun watching this little movie and guessing the big movies it celebrates!

Read Full Post »

Poster created from iconic images by artist Saul Bass

Just recently a definitive, in-depth book on the design work of artist Saul Bass has been released: Saul Bass: A Life in Film & Design (by Jennifer Bass and Pat Kirkham).  Bass was a true media innovator and through his work one can observe the synergy between text, composition, color, movement, and other visual elements at the core of effective communication.

Bass’s work has provided inspiration for generations of design professionals, advertisers, and filmmakers.  The dynamism of his designs were key as filmmakers invigorated the function and importance of title sequences in movies, and his work helped to usher in the mid-century modern style that has seen a renaissance in recent years, from advertising to graphic novels to animation.

Bass’s storyboard for the infamous and extremely influential shower murder scene from Psycho is highlighted in Chapter 1 of Moving Images (see Figure 1-36).  The half-hour movie Bass on Titles provides a good overview of his work and viewpoints on the craft of movie titles, such as his groundbreaking work for a number of Alfred Hitchcock films (such as Psycho, Vertigo, and North by Northwest), Scorsese movies (including Goodfellas, Cape Fearand The Age of Innocence), and many others including The Man with the Golden Arm and Cowboy.  His work can provide examples for many aspects of the essential questions in Moving Images, including motion picture forms in Chapter 5 and the full production process in Chapter 8.

As a final point, Saul Bass: A Life in Film & Design features a superb foreword by Martin Scorsese – to add to the list of his exceptional work in this vein, including the moving piece he wrote for the DVD release of the Beatles’ movie Help, directed by Richard Lester.

Read Full Post »