If you’re looking to launch a show but don’t yet have actors or footage or maybe even all of the scripts, creative agency Bigstar is the place for you.
The agency, founded by Josh Norton in 2004, does many different types of creative work, but one of the things it excels at is making something out of nothing.
For example, the below tease for FX’s The Americans required only Bigstar’s imagination, collaboration with FX (who helpfully provided the flag imagery) and the creative tools of the trade:
Or this social tease for season seven of HBO’s Game of Thrones, which took existing audio and wound it around larger-than-life statues of the House sigils, all created whole cloth out of computer-generated imagery:
That request — to create something out of little more than a concept — is one Bigstar gets often, and it’s one they love.
“A lot of times, clients can’t provide the elements to tell their story or to express a specific piece of narrative arithmetic that they need done. It’s up to us at Bigstar to really create something out of nothing. We have a lot of research resources in order to do so, and we love that challenge,” said Norton, founder and executive creative director.
“That is definitely the call we get a lot of times from clients who are like ‘I don’t have footage, or I don’t really have a brief together.’ And I’m like, ‘well, then you’ve called us at the right time. You’ve called the right people,’” said Carson Hood, executive producer.
Earlier this year, Bigstar took that design-driven approach for a new campaign for Krypton, which premiered on Syfy in March.
“It was one of those briefs that was pretty open: ‘Here’s our show, here’s some of the elements of the series, here’s our cast of characters. We need to get the word out and we don’t have any material. What ideas do you guys have?’” said Norton. “That was essentially the brief and again, like Carson said, we love those briefs.
“What we tried to do first is really distill the story down to some visual mnemonics, some recognizable visual moments that were very near and dear to the creators’ heart, Norton continued. “Usually, we’re able to have a conversation with the marketing team or the network to help us get down to the really important details, to the big story visuals that we can tap into.”
“I think [this teaser is] a pretty good example of us trying to … drill down to those most basic, most powerful visual elements and then put them together into a story that really delivers a dramatic visual punch and stays in-line narratively and engages viewers.”
Right on the heels of launching Krypton, frequent client AMC approached Bigstar about creating a launch spot for season four of Fear the Walking Dead.
This time, Bigstar had access to talent and footage, but the agency still put its own unique design stamp on the spot, which features Lennie James, who plays fan-favorite Morgan, coming over to Fear the Walking Dead from mothership The Walking Dead.
“I think we pitched [AMC] five different concepts,” said Norton. “These days we really do like to cover the gamut when we pitch. I think there were ideas that were just about Morgan and then there was this strobe concept, which really was a visual device and language that allowed us to get from one character to the next really quickly.
“They really gravitated towards this idea of creating this percussive, flutter-cut editorial that would rip through the characters as they emoted to camera and they would also have props, such as guns and knives and other very meaningful objects with them, and then we intercut that with some really active, very bold typography.”
In the end, it’s about knowing a story well enough to give potential viewers a lot of information with one big concept shared in a short period of time.
“We like to do things that other people cannot,” said Norton. “We like to combine these big disciplines of graphic design, animation, live action and 3D. It’s our best day when we get to put those things together and create something unique.”
To hear all of Josh Norton and Carson Hood’s conversation with PromaxBDA Editorial Director Paige Albiniak about how Bigstar approaches its craft, listen to this episode of The Daily Brief Podcast:
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