Set to the arresting words of poet Shane Koyczan, New York City-based creative agency Thornberg & Forester produced this artistic spot to introduce the 22nd season of one of A&E’s flagship series, Intervention.

Using a flowing watercolor look, the spot flows in and out in time to Koyczan’s powerful words, accompanied by a library music track that was enhanced by film score composer Joel Pickard’s design and mix. Season 22 is set entirely in Las Vegas—marking the first time the series has done that—and little callbacks to Sin City pop up throughout.

The genesis of the piece came when A&E Creative Director Dave Bouffard discovered Koyczan’s poem on YouTube. Koyczan’s eloquent words are accompanied by a sped up live-action short film in which a woman illustrates the poem using black ink on white space. From there, it was clear to Bouffard that Thornberg & Forester was the right agency for the project.

“Our goal for the new season of Intervention was to create something both surprising and relevant to this long running series. The first step was finding poet Shane Koyczan and his amazing work. But to bring those words to life in a lyrical and equally powerful animation was going to require the perfect team, and it was immediately clear to me that Thornberg & Forester needed to be a part of this project,” Bouffard said in a statement.

Thornberg & Forester absorbed Koyczan’s work and then veered off in their own creative direction, turning his ideas into vibrant watercolors.

“Shane’s work transcends inspiration,” said Scott Matz, executive creative director at Thornberg & Forester.

To start, Thornberg & Forester brought in illustrators Vincent Diga and Sam Ballardini and Matz worked closely with them to create the initial illustrations and storyboards. Those helped the team determine how much detail and animation each sequence would need.

Storyboard for T&F's 'Intervention' spot
Storyboard for T&F’s ‘Intervention’ spot

Once the storyboards were created, the team took to Photoshop to design the watercolor looks. They then animated them in After Effects, with two scenes that required more motion, like the book closing at the end, done in Cinema 4D.

With the visuals complete, Thornberg & Forester brought in Pickard, who custom-crafted the music to perfectly fit the moment.

“Composer Joel Pickard is a long time ally of ours at T&F. I knew he would be the perfect fit for sound design and mix as his process is highly curated and artfully elegant,” said Matz.

Thornberg & Forester executed the entire package in less than a month, and both partners were excited about the finished project. Besides the :60, above, Thornberg & Forester produced :30s, :20s and :15s with various tune-in messages.

“[Thornberg & Forester’s] thoughtful, unique and high-powered visual executions always distill the core of the brief and then transcend it. Working with them on this tight turnaround was seamless, collaborative and incredibly rewarding, reaffirming once again why they are one of my favorite go-to partners,” said Bouffard.

“The heart of our company is clear in the piece itself and we really appreciate it,” said Matz. “We owe tremendous gratitude to A&E for partnering with us on this very important work. It went a lot further for us, from a place of humanity, to be involved at this level.”

Season 22 of Intervention, which includes seven new episodes, premiered Monday, March 15 at 10/9 c pm on A&E and it also streams on A&E’s website.


Agency: Thornberg & Forester

Creative Director: Scott Matz

Design: Vincent Diga, Sam Ballardini, Scott Matz

Animation: Ken Krueger, Alex Pope, Jinsup Kim

Producer: Dino D’Adamo

Editor: Henry Hayes

Music: Music Bed

Sound Design & Mix: Joel Pickard

Client: A&E

Creative Director: Dave Bouffard

Producer: Kari Shackelton

Writer & Voice: Shane Koyczan

Excerpt from ‘Resolution’

Tags: a&e intervention shane koyczan thornberg and forester

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