When you get a call from Hollywood looking to fill a creative role, you have to give it your best performance.
Rac Clark at Dick Clark Productions in Los Angeles contacted our firm to design a new award for the upcoming telecast of the Hollywood Film Awards. This forerunner to the Oscars has been a long-standing awards event for the movie industry, but had never been televised before. The assignment had its challenges, a crazy timeframe being one.
Rac recommended our team to Allen Shapiro, CEO of Dick Clark and the show’s Executive Producer, based on his experience working with our design team on the Academy of Country Music Awards for CBS. The ACM award remains iconic in the industry. Having worked through the creative process with some 50 board members at ACM – all leading professionals in the entertainment industry – was a testing ground for our design team’s imagination and professional fortitude.
Public touchpoints with the HFA were under-performing – so it was an exciting opportunity to elevate the profile of this prestigious award. The biggest creative challenge was incorporating all of the elements on the client’s “must include” list AND create an elegant solutions – an award that would be mantel-worthy – something Brad Pitt would proudly display beside Angelina’s Oscar.
Due process is often a luxury with aggressive scheduling – with only a month to nail a concept direction, create 3D renderings, get approval and manufacture the final award for the show – the panic button was never too far away.
As with many “top down” industries, creatives are held at arms length from the head honcho decision-makers. It makes for a communication gap that can challenge the three golden rules of collaborative innovation: 1) resist the temptation to default to familiar clichés; 2) imitation is for followers; 3) evoke vs. tell. Four specific “ideas” were provided to us: a director’s chair/megaphone, a vintage film camera with the double canister mount, a classic tripod movie set spotlight and a film slate. It didn’t take a lot of research to discover that these visual clichés had already been used in every conceivable fashion. The problem with defaulting to a single, literal element was this: no one thing could represent such a multifaceted industry. The award had to symbolize something bigger.
To address the timeframe, we put together a critical path to ensure everyone understood the urgencies in the back and forth process. We immediately started a conversation with the awards manufacturers regarding costs, timing and options. Given the distance between us and key stakeholders in the decision process, we decided to create a website to present our research, rationale and four concepts for initial presentation. The immediacy of the internet closed the gap on the deadline reality.
To communicate our concerns regarding the overuse of literal elements (specific to the film industry), we researched existing awards (thanks Google) and built a rationale for developing unique interpretations, based on the direction the client provided. And since dimension, scale and award materials would influence decision-making, we presented the four concepts as 3D animated renderings to showcase the merit of each design direction.
We partnered with one of our animators in Poland to produce the 3D renderings and animation while we finished up the respective concepts and presentation. Managing deadlines and timelines from LA to Toronto to Poland proved interesting to say the least. When all was said and done, HFA decided to put a hold on the redesign of their award. The show’s production overtook the process and anxiety to make a decision without time to tweak brought everything to a halt. There is talk of regrouping to develop one of the ideas further. Stay tuned for the sequel.
Our task every day we come to work is to provide creative ideas that help clients share the experience of their brand stories. Every day the team here at Riordon is working to win best supporting role.