Thursday, July 26, 2007

Brick Weekly, July 26, 2007 Issue

Brandt Identity
By Jennifer Pullinger

You can almost hear Don LaFontaine’s ominous voiceover introduction to the film now: “In a world where your identity and quality of life depends on corporate sponsorship, losing your sponsor could mean the difference between upscale condo living and West Virginia public housing.”

In his new comedic short film “nyc 2057ad,” Richmond animator and commercial ad designer Stephen W. Brandt explores what the future may hold if corporations are allowed to run our lives. The two-minute short recently made its television debut on Logo Network’s “Alien Boot Camp,” a show featuring gay and lesbian-themed animation.

39-year-old Brandt is part of Richmond’s creative community, and like many, a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University. And like so many more creative types, he paid his dues with stints in Los Angeles or New York City. In the early 1990s, he worked on the west coast in broadcast design at E! Entertainment Television and Turner Entertainment Networks. Later, he freelanced in New York City as an art director for such companies as PBS, Showtime and The Movie Channel.

Brandt held on to his freelancer status when he moved back here in 2001, but now his domain is animation and television commercial production. He says transitioning from broadcast design to what he does now wasn’t difficult to do artistically.

“I actually feel like I almost have—even doing television commercials through ad agencies—more freedom than I did before, simply because when I was in broadcast design, I was expected to work in the style of the television networks,” Brandt says.
Since then, Brandt has created commercials for the likes of Bojangle’s Chicken, The Virginia Tobacco Settlement Foundation and World of Mirth. He’s also written, produced, and directed some short films, in addition to “nyc 2057ad.” If that wasn’t versatile enough, he also composes the music for most of his animated shorts.

While he says he enjoys experimenting with a variety of looks and techniques, he is drawn to a few visual styles in particular. One of those Brandt describes as “the penny arcade look,” which is abstract, mechanical, contemporary and reminiscent of Betty Boop cartoons all at once. It is perhaps what TV ads would have looked like in the 1940s if advertising executives had access to today’s modern software. If commercials were fun to watch, as Brandt’s are, then viewers wouldn’t flip the channels in between breaks as much as they do.

(For the rest of the story...) Source: Brick Weekly

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