Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Naked Campaign - Episode 21: Mapquest

In January of 2007 together with Gail Levin and Steve Brodner we came up with idea for The Naked Campaign -a sort of running diary (there it is again) of the 2008 Election from the perspective of one of America's great political caricaturists.

Initially we did a little film to Obama's 2004 Convention speech. Nothing too profound, just testing waters. Note, however, our team's collective prescience and keen interpretation of the national psyche a full year before Iowa.

We followed with a profile of Bill Richardson (hey, if we were right 100% of time we wouldn't be in film). This sparked the interest of lots of people.

Interest that we had been producing this work on own on dime, on the cheap and hey, "wouldn't like for us to show your work for nothing, too?!?". At some point in the future I'll answer this question.

That's when The New Yorker asked us to do a similar piece on Giuliani.

Both the Giuliani and Richardson segments demonstrate what is vital about this project. An illustrator has special skills for seeing people -in the same way a cook has special skills with taste, or a veterinarian develops understanding of animals. These observational talents can provide profound little insights into public figures. Look at how Giuliani interacts with people around him, how people react to him and how that informs the way they think about their elected officials.

This latest, MapQuest, was kind of a slog, to be honest.

We shot it Monday afternoon. An hour and thirty minutes of footage.

Typically we shoot directly into the Final Cut system through the Aja IO box, but there's been some problem with the audio -probably a loose wire somewhere that will find me in a Laocoonian tangle of RCA connections in a futile effort to fix it -so the tape has to be digitized.

The idea is to shoot in the morning, cut in the afternoon, deliver by sundown. That wasn't about to happen on this one.

So Gail and I roughed it out by the end of day and it was practically 5 minutes. I'd like these things to be about thirty seconds, personally, but a 5 minute cut from 90 minutes of footage after two hours of editing is sometimes a fair compromise.

The other component is the "animation". We like to have one or two little bits per story, whatever we can do in the two or three hours we have to make the pieces.

Christina Capozzi (although I guess it's Christina Riley now) using does the animation/motion graphics while I'm fine tuning the edit.

This morning we managed to knock another two minutes off the segment bring it to a Top Forty friendly 3:09.

It turned out OK. I especially like the Mitt Romney Michigan.

These are some concept sketches by Brodner.

The second Iowa one was never realized -I'd like to know what the thinking behind that one is.

Nice maps.

You can see all of The New Yorker segments on their website.

Or YouTube if adult content is blocked at your office.

You can also see outtakes, behind the scenes photos, a become an e-pal HERE.

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