Volume 4

September 23, 2016

15 Septembers Later

Opening Title Sequence & Film Design

From time to time, we’re rewarded with projects that allow us to tell some of the most important stories. They make us look at the big picture, and transcend our daily lives. 15 Septembers Later is certainly one of those projects.

Left/Right Productions reached out in early 2016 about the documentary they were creating for History Channel, and we got involved right away in figuring out its signature look.

Initial design frames by Doug Chang
Process of 3D WTC Render by Alec Iselin

The film spans the past 15 years, detailing new developments and perspectives on the events and the investigations that followed. Through on-screen, archival text messages from that day, 15 Septembers Later creates an intimate portrait of the lives that were affected.

Text message design and animation by Alec Iselin
Text message design and animation by Alec Iselin

From firefighter to firefighter, police chief to lieutenant, mother to son, and husband to wife, the messages are chilling and poignant. We took the messages and gave them a “museum quality” look, ensuring the text, and in turn the film, would feel timeless.

Chapter heading design and animation by Alec Iselin
Chapter heading design and animation by Alec Iselin

Alongside the Left/Right team, we shot elements around Manhattan and inside the National September 11 Memorial and Museum to capture real surfaces for use in the cold open and chapter headings. These plates were used to create an integrated graphic language that became the visual theme for the film and bring the level of production value and style to the film that it deserves.


September 23, 2016

TNT: Animal Kingdom

Table Read

At BigStar, we live behind-the-scenes. So, when TNT approached us with their campaign for their new show, Animal Kingdom, we knew the project was right in our wheelhouse.

The setting of the spot is backstage at a table read, the cast gathered around scripts ready to dig in. We loved the candid, intimate feel and were drawn to the layers of the scene — the lights, hands flipping through paper, the actors. We also zeroed in on the personal exchanges — the voices, the laughter, a glance across the table.

And what designer could resist the opportunity to focus on such a seductive centerpiece? We gave the script a special spotlight — or a seat at the table, if you will — allowing the texture of the paper and typeface to really come alive.

A big thanks to TNT for coming to us with such a unique project.


September 23, 2016

Artist Spotlight: Doug Chang


A designer and art director with a refined eye, Doug Chang has developed some of our most well-rounded and attention-grabbing projects.

The projects he’s worked on at BigStar have been wide-ranging and dynamic — from on-air promos, to documentary title sequences, and film design.

Design Frame for 15 Septembers Later by Doug Chang
Design Frame for 15 Septembers Later by Doug Chang

When creating, Doug brings a boatload of technique, skill and experience to bear. He loves solving a wide range of design problems and takes visual storytelling to the next level.

Alt Design Frame for RATS by Doug Chang

His work is highly conceptual and visually stunning. At BigStar, we relish in collaborating closely with Doug, as he drives design from good — to great.

Q&A with Doug Chang -

Why do you spend your time doing motion graphics?
I’m already spending most of my time dreaming about how the future could look, so I might as well play with those imaginations and spin those wheels into motion. If I could just paint and sculpt all day, motion graphics is the place I’d be doing it.

What makes you love what you do, if you love it?
I love starting new projects on unfamiliar subject matter. I love picturing possible solutions to solve a design problem. What’s great about being involved in the initial concept development phase is discovering new ways of looking at something. It’s about drawing connections and relationships to metaphors that are unseen to the everyday eye, seeing something rare and unique in a single moment, and obsessing about how to share that vision to make it timeless. That discovery and exploration is what I love most.

What side of the design/graphics world are you looking in on/what makes you different?
I’m interested in how design has the ability to engage new audiences and make people care. Bringing awareness into the spotlight forces us to question our current and future attitudes about our behavior.

Design Frame for 15 Septembers Later by Doug Chang

What is your goal?
Early retirement extreme. I’m half-kidding. I have a passion for film making and installation art — both mediums that can take an audience through a journey I create. I’m hoping our entry into virtual reality soon will let me play with my creative goals there.

How long have you been doing what you do?
I’ve been doing it my entire life. I began making videos with my brothers since I was a kid and cut them together by attaching VCR’s together, spliced with a Walkman and Super Nintendo for sound effects. I made stop motion shorts with toys and bad pixel animations on the revolutionary Mario Paint game on Super Nintendo.

Design Frame for The One Show 2016 by Doug Chang

How do you want to be remembered?
I’d like people to say that Doug was every man’s underdog hero. He had a way of hacking things together and making them work together somehow. He had a vision and left the world a little more spirited than the way he found it.

What influenced you?
Skateboarding and graffiti art. That’s what started it all. Both helped me to understand surfaces, balance, environments, brands, letterforms, composition as well as how important it is to break the rules. Experimenting with contemporary and conceptual art at the University of California, Irvine shaped my perspective as an emerging artist. Then came Art Center College of Design, where my craft shared with mentors and peers, pushed me to refine and redefine my design sensibilities. All of these influences go hand in hand together.

What are you most passionate about professionally? What most excites you about your work & the contribution you can make?
What excites me the most in our profession, is that we can make something from absolutely nothing. It’s a gift. A gift that really could do some good for the world.

Doug’s Initial Designs for The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth

Volume 3

Next Project: Volume 3
Telling the Bigger Story