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Archive for August, 2012

Asylum vs Leo Burnett London: Where Do You Stand?

By now you’ve probably read Asylum Films’ open letter to Leo Burnett London, in which the production company accuses the agency of “reshooting” a job that Asylum had already completed for them. An excerpt:

[The newer spot] is essentially our piece of work reshot and redone with a bigger budget. Not only the concept, but lighting, the feel and shot selection are almost identical.

At no point were we consulted on this or even told about it happening as a courtesy, and certainly not asked about our ability to create this new version. We feel hugely aggrieved by the situation. It is hard for smaller companies to make the transition into doing work with bigger agencies, but we feel we have the experience and showreel to do so.

Leo Burnett London responded on their blog, citing “misinformation”:

We came up with the idea and the long, and highly-detailed, script for an ‘internal’ film to be played at the annual gala dinner held by Ronald McDonald House Charities. Obviously, there was a very small budget given that it was only going to be watched by a few hundred people. This meant we could only approach production companies at the cheaper end of the spectrum. Asylum’s Ben Falk did a great job for us. As a consequence, our RMHC client took the decision to invest a larger production budget to re-make the film with higher production values so that it could be aired on public media (cinema, if you’re interested). The higher production budget meant that the creative team could now interest production companies beyond the cheaper end of the spectrum.

Ouch. Leo Burnett London is basically saying that Asylum did such a good job (for the money) that they justified the client spending more money and going with a more expensive (read: higher end) production company.

Of course, the whole reason that Asylum knocked themselves out on the project (presumably losing money on it) was so they could get repeat business and be Leo Burnett’s go-to prodco for bigger and better projects.

Shifting Perspective

From one perspective, you could argue that Asylum misjudged the opportunity. They saw it as an entry point to bigger budget work, when it fact it was only a one-off gig. They rolled the dice and lost. Them’s the breaks.

From another angle, you could argue that while Leo Burnett London wrote the script, Asylum was responsible for the look of the project, and the right thing to do would have been to at least give them a shot at the bigger budget version. Of course, as LBL points out on their blog, they own the entire concept and both of its executions. Asylum’s hurt doesn’t come from business contracts, though; it comes from what they feel are ethical obligations.

Power Play?

And there’s the rub: Agencies are often justified — from a purely business point-of-view — in doing what they did with Asylum. But when they carry out their actions with impunity, they can come across as bullies.

The agency/vendor relationship is a strange one. Agencies have the ultimate power, insofar as they write the checks and manage the client. Yet vendors have power, too: the power of creation. Many agencies have attempted to cobble together in-house prodcos and studios, and nearly all of them have failed. It’s harder than it looks to run a studio, especially from within a massive corporation owned by an even larger holding company with thousands of shareholders.

So vendors are needed by agencies and vice versa. The difference? There are, in the eyes of agencies, countless vendors to choose from. They’re interchangeable. Expendable, even. That’s as true at “cheaper end of the spectrum” as it is at the expensive end.

The price for Asylum’s protest is yet to be determined, but you can be sure Leo Burnett London won’t suffer much from it.

What do you think?

There’s much, much more to be said on this general topic. What’s your take?

Make sure to read both Asylum and Leo Burnett London’s statements before commenting.

Friday, August 31st, 2012 | 85 Comments »

Review: The Art of Legend of the Guardians: The Owls Of Ga’Hoole

Directed by Zack Snyder (300), Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga-hoole did not fare particularly well at the box office or in critics’ columns. We’ll leave the reasons for its middling success to Rotten Tomatoes, but one thing’s for sure: the visuals weren’t to blame.

Marshaling over 500 artists, Sydney-based Animal Logic was responsible for designing, developing and executing the film’s richly detailed world in meticulous, stereoscopic detail. The film is breathtaking, and it deserved its AACTA award for Best Visual Effects.

Birds of a Feather

Animal Logic’s challenge was not an easy one. Non-ornithologists like myself have a tough time discerning between whole orders of birds, let alone spotting the unique characteristics that define a single species. For the film, Animal Logic not only created 15 distinct species of owls, they imbued each character with defining physical traits that expressed their unique personalities.


Thursday, August 30th, 2012 | 6 Comments »

DON’T WORRY, DRIVE ON: Fossil Fools & Fracking Lies

MONSTRO along with the minds of Alexander Perry, Michael Wilson and audio genius Ben Roider bring us what might look like the revival of good infographics. This is what I call beautiful design, and for those transition addicts, this will make you smile. A game changer for an important cause.

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012 | 7 Comments »

Nicholas Ferreira and Dominik Grejc: MOVA Title Sequence

Check out these slick titles for MOVA, a fictitious Motion Design Festival dreamed up by Nicholas Ferrira and Dominik Grejc as part of their final project at Vancouver Film School.

From Nicholas Ferreira and Dominik Grejc:

The Main Title Sequence for MOVA is a journey through multiple environments that aims to explore the creative process of bringing an idea to life. The project became more powerful with the astonishing sound design by White Noise Lab which was a key factor in conveying the emotions we were looking for.


Wednesday, August 29th, 2012 | 11 Comments »

Buck for Fruit Snacks

With their trademark sense of humor – and fantastically clever character animation – Buck delivers for Fruit Snacks. Make sure to also check out Gush Doctor, Big Smack, and Towel Boy.


Wednesday, August 29th, 2012 | 5 Comments »

Terry Crews makes Muscle Music for Old Spice

Terry Crews is back for Old Spice, this time using his body as a music making MACHINE!

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012 | 5 Comments »

Jacob Wyatt: Metro

Jacob Wyatt’s Metro, a student film created with a band of friends at Brigham Young University, has recently been released online after a run on the festival circuit.

The film follows a young girl as she chases a thieving fox through a wondrous underground world. There’s a surprise at the end, but the journey alone is worth the four-minute investment of your time.

Wyatt’s interest in comics is clearly evidenced in his use of panel-like framing throughout the short. The rich palettes and expansive underground settings seem barely contained in the rectangles he uses to pace the action. Like a comic, these panels direct the viewer’s attention while playing with scale, suggesting a world much larger than can be fully expressed on the screen (or the page).

But there’s another side effect of using panels in this particular animation: the panels appear one after the other in a chained sequence that itself echoes the chase playing out on screen. Each time a panel appears, it contains a new surprise in a new area of the screen, just as each turn the girl makes reveals some new spectacle, some new hidden marvel underground as she pursues the elusive fox.

Jacob Wyatt’s blog | Tumblr | Deviant Art profile

Update: Metro has been entered into the Short List festival, where it’s in fine company.

Monday, August 27th, 2012 | 4 Comments »