Saturday, April 28, 2012

120 [m ] : Ben 10, Alien Swarm Central Image

2009 - Alien Swarm, as mentioned previously, was an original live action movie featuring the main trio of characters, Ben, Gwen and Kevin, from the Cartoon Network (CN) animated series Ben 10: Alien Force. Especially because it was a movie, although CN does tend to pattern big marketing campaigns as movie premieres, we were to develop a movie poster to deliver all the iconic elements of the program. This was quickly, albeit informally, known as the central image.

The creative team of Matt, Clint and myself (if memory serves) largely were inspired by the current tropes of an action movie movie poster: 1) ample use of black; 2) saturated key colors (green for all Ben 10 iterations); 3) big faces of the main actor*; and 4) vignettes of key action sequences, villains or mystery characters**. Above are the little conceptual thumbnail drawings I produced on our initial brainstorming session, which mostly served as a guide for poses and camera angles which could possibly be of use from a photo-shoot of the four young actors.

Here’s what I feel needs clarification:
* Big faces of the main actor/actress is only of value if the target audience is expected to recognize the actor/actress. That seems like basic marketing to me. Alien Swarm cast all young unknowns for the main cast. But big faces being so much a part of “action movie” poster vocabulary, it was hard not to deliver some as conceptual explorations.
** Mystery characters- to show them or not to show them? Elena, the mystery character in “Alien Swarm” had nothing to offer as a visual element to the poster, because she was not part of “Ben 10” mythology. She was only given a back story to connect her to Ben - so once after audience figures out who the other three teens are they are left to wonder if the second girl is maybe Ben’s girl friend, Julie, with re-cast ethnicity. Mostly, the mystery of Elena is whether or not she is on Ben’s side, and that kind of ambiguity does not read well in a poster visual.

As always with Ben, it’s his wristwatch, the Omnitrix, that gives him the power to jump into action. It isn’t Ben that punches and shoots things, it’s any number of alien heroes in which he’s transformed that punches and shoots things.

There was the additional complication that the visual effects company would not be able to fulfill any special request for images of Ben’s alien hero transformations.

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