Helter Skelter

Series Graphic Package

Client

EPiX

Year

2020

Alongside Director Lesley Chilcott and the Invented by Girls team, we developed a tactile, emotive graphics package to help tell the familiar story of Charles Manson. For the 6-part Epix docu-series, Helter Skelter, we wanted to evoke the feeling of time and place as much as possible, steering away from bringing focus to the violence the Manson family committed, and creating a graphics look more centered around the journalistic approach to their crimes.

Inspired by 1960s Los Angeles, burnt orange color palettes and smog, we leaned into a more “shot” feeling for our overall graphics approach.

Initial Title Sequence design concepts

Our initial design exploration started with a psychedelic, chaotic approach, the embodiment of Helter Skelter. With that first pass out of our system, we shifted gears to a more practical, gritty design language, better suited to the story and Lesley’s vision. Inspired by 1960s Los Angeles, burnt orange color palettes and smog, we leaned into a more “shot” feeling for our overall graphics approach.

"Roam" Title Sequence concept & Final design frames (below)

The idea of our main title sequence sprang from wanting to represent Manson as a coyote, a wanderer and predator - mixed with various iconography and archival clips, exposed onto beautiful, iconic b-roll footage of LA, and celluloid film stock, we were able to infuse all of these elements into the sequence with a kind of controlled chaos. Using subliminal nods to the press, the opening credits type was comped in with text from a real teletype, shot by Lesley’s team.

Across the series we developed our “in-camera”, practical language, from newspaper clippings to maps of LA and Death Valley to old rap sheets that would tally up Manson’s adolescent crimes as he moved from place to place.

Rap Sheet Animations

Across the series we developed our “in-camera”, practical language, from newspaper clippings to maps of LA and Death Valley to old rap sheets...

Map Designs and Newspapers (below)

Tying off the series, our lower thirds and locators complete the journalistic nod with a custom teletype font. We were also given the opportunity to create backgrounds for interviews that had been shot on green-screen- setting the tone for each interviewee’s environment and their involvement in Manson’s story.

Type Designs

Thanks to Lesley and team for their ideas and collaboration throughout - we loved every step of the process. All 6 episodes of Helter Skelter: An American Myth are now available on Epix!

-BGSTR

Credits -

Exec. Creative Director - Josh Norton
Exec. Producer - Carson Hood
Producer - Kristen Pritchett
Main Title Design - Theo Daley
Main Title Animation - Casey Drogin, Alec Iselin
Design - Carol Cai, Doug Chang
Animation - Dorca Musseb, Carl Dempsey, Yunho Park

Unsolved Mysteries

Show Package

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