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Without question, the best process for developing effective and memorable key art includes early planning and collaboration between design agency and producers. Engaging an agency during pre-production to develop the positioning/marketing strategy allows for big ideas to flourish, and provides the necessary time to plan and collaborate with many layers of production to make the vision a reality.
This WENTWORTH Case Study serves to illustrate our best practice process for creating key art which is developed during pre-production and allows concepts to guide photography for highly stylised and strategic marketing. The creative is littered with visual clues to the characters and their interactions – from the dead pigeon and scattered rose petals alluding to Ally’s heartbreak, to The Freak’s gloved hand and cautious glancing over her should. These subtle details were only possible with great planning & consensus between production, network and creatives.
THE BRIEFCarnival Studio was engaged by Foxtel Publicity to develop concepts for the fifth season of this hugely popular prison drama. Much of their previous key art had been developed internally and often centred on a retouched but straightforward production still from the gallery shoot. We were briefed to develop some high-concept directions focusing on the former Governor, Joan Ferguson (Pamela Rabe), who sees her fortunes reversed and now serves as a prisoner herself.
We developed five concept directions, including written treatments (1) and layout sketches (2).
The concepts sought to visually represent the tagline, ‘Revenge will set them free’, and highlighted the entire prison’s hatred of Ferguson. We were happy with the chosen direction as it featured a strong sense of depth and allowed the large ensemble cast to be grouped on a bench, avoiding a typical standing group setup. Working on-set in Melbourne with photographer Ben King, we shot clean plates of the prison recreation yard as a guide for angles once talent arrived on-set (3).
In collaboration with Ben, we Art directed the talent to capture a palpable sense of tension (4).
Back in the studio, we pieced the imagery together to achieve the ideal emotional connection between all characters, before moving on to retouching, colour grading and finishing for delivery (5).
By having early discussions between production, network /distributor and creatives (agency, photographers), we harnessed group consensus on the positioning and creative direction. From there, we developed specific concepts and ideas that went beyond straight gallery shoots, involving key creative teams in production – unit photographers for clean plate capture and special shoot planning, wardrobe and prop departments.
We also had the support of producers and publicists to make it happen during the tight-shoot schedule. A projects’ marketing will always be far stronger when pre-planned, even if there is a micro-budget that does not allow for special shoots.
Addressing marketing as a vital aspect of production (during production) is key, and can be as simple as the unit photographer shooting key actors off in the sidelines for 10 minutes.
Art Direction / Design: Demi Hopkins
Retouching / Finishing: Seth M. Jones
Photography: Ben King
Carnival is always happy to provide advice to producers to make sure marketing assets are scheduled and captured while filming, and if desired, to develop concepts for key art development. Get in touch if you’d like to know more about our process.