Back in June, I was super stoked to hear from my old director friend Liz Plonka. I worked with Liz on some cool Carlos Mencia stuff a while back, and knew it had to be an exciting project if she was calling. Sure ’nuff, it was pretty cool.
Jay Leno had just put Liz on board to direct his new prime time show on NBC, and Liz in turn was looking for some proper graphics to package the show. Liz had just seen my graphics for the new “Penn & Teller: Bullshit!’ season on Showtime, remembered how easy it was working with me on Mencias special for comedy central , and thought “hey, lets give this dummy a call”.
The pitch process was pretty long and grueling. At first I submitted quite a few run of the mill “network safe” boards. I threw the usual at them, city at night, lights, traffic, people running…you know, cuz you’ve seen it a million times. Sometimes you need to pitch the obvious stuff first, get a reaction, then gauge where theirs heads are at from there.
I thought maybe it would be cool to have Jay at a diner at night, reading the latest headlines, just before going on stage. So Cal diners and gear heads go arm in arm, so that set up was obvious. The Jay crew thought so too.
I thought it might be fun to make a miniature model of the Hollywood hills and float a techno-crane-macro-lens kinda jammy setup over it…fun right!? Like the Star Wars Death Star trench scene, yeah? Again, too similar to what Conan might have.
I finally realized that the Leno people were looking for something to really stand out from the other late night shows. Duh. I tried some more organic approaches, one which I thought had potential was this sorta hand drawn look.
Debbie, The EP had a bad experience with hand drawn looking grfx somewhere in her past dealings, so I went one final direction, with photos from Jays past. Boom, it was what felt right to them. I did my best to keep it from feeling “too Jay” or “too sentimental”. The idea was to make it feel as though we optically printed all this loose footage back onto some old negative stock, gate leaks and all.
The look worked well. The first pass was far more aged looking. Warmer colors gave it an aged feel that the jay folks wanted to stay away from. Once I cooled it down with more chemical blues and greens, it took on a lot more energy, and everyone seemed to feel really good about it. Another job delivered.
A great gig, and awesome people to work with.
Break a leg tonight Jay,