Design Powerhouse is Chiller’s Go-to-Shop for All Things Horror
Lauren DeBellis, November 4th, 2010
MOTIVE, a creative services company specializing in identity, branding, interactive, creative development and live action production for television, online, radio and print that transcends multiple media platforms, has recently zipped up a fearsome, feisty promo package for the Chiller network’s syndication of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The project is the latest of several innovative promo concepts MOTIVE has produced this year for the NBC Universal-owned Chiller, including campaigns for the network’s “Horror-pocalypse: 31 Days of Night” movie marathon and Mortal Trivia and Meet the Maker series, among others.
For Buffy, Chiller sought a promo that was subtle, referencing signature aspects of the show without using actual series footage. Felix Thoo, the MOTIVE art director for the project and a major horror film aficionado, knew exactly what to do-working in Adobe After Effects and MAXON Cinema 4D, he created a :20 teaser spot that opens with the image of red smoke slowly unfurling against a black background. A female voice, accompanied by spare piano music, intones, “In every generation there is a chosen one.” As the smoke unfurls, it reveals the words “chosen one,” a reference fans of the show will immediately recognize. As the voiceover continues, the smoke unveils such other key terms from the series as “vampires” and “demons” until the final reveal of the show logo, followed by Chiller’s logo.
“This was a teaser announcement, so we didn’t want to show much in terms of actual footage,” says John Jamilkowski of Brand New Bike, who served as the creative director for the Buffy and Horror-pocalypse projects. “It was more about evoking a certain emotional response in fans to the announcement, so it needed to be dramatic and impressionistic. MOTIVE’s treatment, with the smoke revealing then taking away the type, captured this perfectly. Not only that, the subtle transition from the Buffy to Chiller logo at the end of the spot really brought home to viewers why Buffy was a great fit for Chiller’s lineup.”
The look Jamilkowski and his team sought for Horror-pocalypse was the exact opposite of that for Buffy. “I wanted to go with a version of a 1970s grindhouse cinema trailer that had the rough, in-your-face exploitation look, but was updated for a 2010 audience,” he notes. Motive responded with a :60 spot featuring a mash up of B-movie clips with a tongue-in-cheek voiceover. For a 2010 sensibility, Thoo created typography that mimics the style of comic books and graphic novels, inserting it at key moments in the footage and voiceover. Though the footage came from a variety of sources, Chiller wanted it to look uniform, so Thoo utilized After Effects to blow up the entire spot and give it a harsh color correction, giving it a more uniform, raw look. The pacing for the spot was set by Sr. Editor Stephen Hoppe who found the best moments to balance the horror with the right amount of humor.
“The spot has a lot of energy, and that’s what this kind of programming needs,” says Jamilkowski “This was targeted at people who love the genre, so it was very helpful that Felix [Thoo] also has alove of horror. He put some funny stuff in it as well, cliche moments that he knew the fans would understand. It’s rare to find people who love the stuff they’re working on, and that is what happened here. It elevated the project exponentially.”
Buffy and Horror-pocalypse are the most recent in a slew of deliverables MOTIVE has created for Chiller over the course of the year. The company has also brought its unique flair for horror to an Alfred Hitchcock movie marathon the channel aired. Chiller could not use actual Hitchcock movie footage in the spot, so MOTIVE employed black-and-white animation, with some well-placed splashes of red, to recreate some of the films’ most iconic scenes. As a final touch, still photos from the movies, such as Tippi Hedren fending off fowl in The Birds and the Janet Leigh shower scream scene in Psycho, pop out at key moments.
“I’ve worked with MOTIVE many times, and we keep going back t
o them because not only do they do great design work, but they are also a great team to work with and a great partner,” says Shea Pepper, creative director for Chiller. “They bring a lot to the table creatively, and definitely understand branding. They have a lot of network experience, so we don’t have to explain anything about what is needed for those kinds of spots, which makes our jobs easier.”
Other Chiller content MOTIVE produced promos for include the original series Mortal Trivia and Meet the Maker, and the movie Blood: The Last Vampire. The design firm also created the network’s “Immortal Trivia” and “Chilling Moments” interstitials. MOTIVE has also produced spooky spots for Fangoria and the History Channel.
“We are thrilled to have been able to work so closely with Chiller this year,” says Chris Valentino, executive creative director, MOTIVE. “Because we were doing such a variety of promotional material over the course of the year, it gave us the opportunity to get everyone at the company involved, making this a true team effort. The Chiller team members were very open to experimentation with different looks, so not only did we have an excellent collaboration, we also had a lot of fun. We look forward to continuing this exciting partnership.”