A&E 'Bates Motel' final season promo

Hyper-realistic pages of a screenplay are seamlessly immersed into the sinister action of this promo.

April, 2017
Art DirectionMotion GraphicsVisual Effects
Lifetime producer Danny Feder had this crazy idea that he wanted the promo for the final season of Bates Motel to be centered around a lot of close-up macro footage of the typewritten screenplay.  Each shot could appear to be augmented by Norman Bates himself, or otherwise affected by the action and environment of the neighboring shots in the edit - as if the pages of the script were actually there for those events.  I fell in love with this idea and together, we worked very hard to make this come to life.

We decided that I would design and produce the shots of the screenplay as completely CG elements to give us more flexibility during production to make changes to style and text.  This was all done entirely in 2D.  I usually started with a plain PDF file of a page from the script and layered in as much texture realism as I could think to put in.  On the closeups, you can even notice the indentation of the paper from when the typewriter's letters struck the paper (same with the red ball point pen).

Without a doubt, the biggest challenge was the rain sequence.  I still feel like I could have made this look even better if we had the capacity to shoot a custom element of rain pouring down on a neutral gray paper.  Because of limitations, I had to make due with an alternate piece of stock footage of rainwater - and I made the best of it.

I also carefully graded each shot of the screenplay to match the neighboring media in the edit, so it felt like the script was actually there in each environment.  This concept of immersion is further supported when you see things like the blood splatter after one of the characters violently stabbing.
Sadly, the lock of hair in this shot ended up being omitted from the final version.
The handwritten "KILL" was also omitted from the final.
If you look closely on these rain shots, you can see the black ink (and red ink from the pen) slowly bleeding into the paper.
This was fun to draw up.  That's my dimented handwriting.
The blood dripping from the "N" was a last-minute idea that once we saw it - we couldn't imagine this shot without it.

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