Meet the creative stars that work behind the silver screen

Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.

Helen Keller

It takes a lot of people to make a film, and each year there are hundreds of releases, but few are worth talking about, especially when you’re not a movie critic like me. However, I admire not just the storyline but the creative process too. Here are some of my favourite highlights from the last year of cinema.

Joker director, Todd Phillips, dissecting the opening scene

It’s hard to believe this is the same director as the infamous film The Hangover, saying that though, I first watched The Hangover on top of a three-person bunk bed in a sketchy hostel when King Cross wasn’t so shiny and new. It was a fiver in Tesco’s bargain bin so I can’t complain, I’ve since rewatched it with much enjoyment. 

Joker, however, has left me consumed. When searching for more content, I found Vanity Fair had released a new video with Phillips explaining the introductory scene, illustrating how the dark world of Joker was constructed, describing that the ‘movie is meant to be unsettling’.

The making of an iconic logo

Another interview worth your time is with Chad Danieley, as you can tell by the header, he is the creator of the film’s iconic logotype using wood type and letterpress. Surprisingly, it was Danieley’s first concept from the sixteen he delivered to Warner Brothers that was selected, a rare occurrence in the film industry where reshoots are a common occurrence. The designer has since continued to play with the Joker theme to some varying degree on his Instagram page.

Midsommar (2019)

Midsommar, directed by Ari Aster, is the first to make me physically wince; however, it balances intense emotional and bodily trauma with sweet beauty. I left the cinema not knowing if I liked it, as I’d felt disturbed, but as time has passed, I’ve come to appreciate a movie that leaves you feeling affected, whether that’s positive or negative.

Fan artist, Alex Vincent, mocked up a fictional Goosebumps book to pay tribute to the most floral horror film of the year.

Us (2019)

Lara, my wife, and I were in Prague feeling withdrawal symptoms of not having watched any English language television for a week so we treated ourselves to Jordan Peele’s Us at a local Czech picture house.

I’m not a big horror film fan, my wife is, but I’d say that this film opened my eyes to the genre. Not to dwell too much time on recollecting the story, as it still sends shivers down my spine, I wanted to share this clever pin design by Essence Hayes. The dressmaker scissors play a big role in the movie.

Welcome to the graphic design department

Lastly, this isn’t a film released in 2019, but instead a conference I attended – Adobe Max. Annie Atkins spoke in Los Angeles about being a part of a film’s graphic design department. The process of creating a world that feels real to the viewer is no easy feat, with many props needing to be hand made, whole newspapers have written from scratch, delivering hundreds of thousands of individual pieces to make the film convincing to the viewer without much, if any, credit given.

Adobe put together a great video which gives you a good summary of what Atkins spoke about. Also, look out for her book Designing Graphic Props for Filmmaking by Phaidon in February 2020, it’ll be on my reading list for sure.

Most of what I make gets seen in the blurry background if it gets seen at all. I never feel frustated that my work isn’t seen, I only every feel happy and excited if it is seen becuase 95% of my work will never be seen, and that’s my job.

Annie Atkins