By Sai Sharma
A movie poster gives the audience a teaser to the whole film. In most cases, it is the only source that delivers an initial impression of the film. Hence, posters are powerful tools that should not be overlooked if you are promoting your own film, series, short, music video or small theatre production. Most content creators do not have millions of dollars like Marvel or DC to create attractive artwork for their projects; this does not mean it’s impossible to create an outstanding movie poster.
This is where an art designer like me comes in – I assist filmmakers/content creators with creating posters and various advertising material for their projects. I have collaborated with professionals from the film, TV music and YouTube circles for digital content creation like poster design, channel design, logo design to give their brand a unique identity. Externally, I have been working as an art director for five years now; mostly focusing on TV commercials and music videos.
My fascination with film-making has been in tact since my childhood. Films and animated TV shows have always played an integral part in my life. I was fond of drawing cartoon characters and, soon, started sketching life-like portraits, and was able to expand into the digital realm by making digi-paintings and illustrations on Adobe Creative Suite programs. I do not have any favourite “one” filmmaker; I appreciate the works of multiple filmmakers like Nolan, Spielberg, Tarantino, Fincher to Kurosawa or Ray. I believe every filmmaker has their own distinct body of work and I appreciate different elements of all. Though as a child, I was particularly fond of Star Wars, Bond series, The Goonies, Hammer Horror and a lot of the sci-fi/horror films of the 80s. These movies were a great influence on me.
When I turned 16, I got an opportunity to work as a PA on a film set. I wasn’t particularly fond of the process, initially at least. I understood how complex it actually is to make professional movies or TV, because of which I developed a great amount of respect for all of the individuals who work on set for a living. I eventually got over the discomfort that I got being on set, but I realized that the back-end process is something I was better at. And hence I shifted my focus to art design, video editing, colour grading and motion graphics to become fluent with the post production process.
I was doing small graphic design and video editing gigs before I got onto an actual set. It did not take me long to realize that I had a great fascination for posters – especially movie posters as they, on some instances, intrigued me more than the movie itself. Since then I have created more than a thousand poster designs and have also served as an art director on various projects. I have a team of four working with me on the post production process within a proper studio setup.
It has been two years since I launched my company SUM (Sai Unicorn Multimedia). Yet, I feel we are just beginning to scratch the surface. I worked on a project called “Polybius” which stars Sir Tom Atkins from “Fog” and “Halloween”, films which I adored since my childhood. I also got to work with professionals in designing the artwork for the 4K release of The Dark Knight Trilogy for its Asian release, which was very exciting. I am currently working on some projects which will be streaming on Prime and Netflix next year. This is definitely a turning point of my carrier, though I still have a very long way to go before I can call myself successful.
I strongly believe that independent filmmakers and content creators alike deserve better in terms of design. I have seen posters of films which have been screened at Cannes and Sundance, and for most of the brilliant films I saw, the poster design is not anywhere as good as the film itself. I hate to critique someone’s art, but I do feel sometimes that I could have done a better job. I sense that a pre-conceived notion most filmmakers have is that poster design is expensive, which is not true. Hence, I encourage content creators to have a core focus on the art design aspect of their film/video projects, as it plays an vital role in engaging the audience.
Design portfolio: https://saisharma10.tumblr.com/