The Circus S5

Series Open

Client

Left/Right

Year

2020

"We were confronted with a particular challenge during this season of the Circus: how do you take an animated open that has always represented a rollicking and irreverent view of American politics, and adapt it to reflect an era in our country that has taken such a dark turn, with the coronavirus pandemic, an economic collapse, and widespread civil unrest? When we presented this challenge to Big Star, they were eager to take it on." - Ted Bourne, Executive Producer of The Circus

In the midst of a contentious election year in America and unprecedented turmoil around the globe, season 5 of The Circus would feel a little bit different than its previous years. With that in mind, we decided to approach our latest iteration of the graphic open with a fresh point of view.

Original design boards

Building off of our familiar formula for the series title sequence, we created a variety of cut-outs based around hot topics and news stories, tallying the counts of voters, protesters, and the (zero) babies kissed this year. Using a new language for the more weighted topics, we inverted scenes to a dark backdrop when covering subjects like coronavirus case counts and the falling economy.

Final animations from our S5 open
Early wireframe render vs final animation

Using 3D for scenes like the presidential rally stage crashing, we were able to create an even bigger sense of depth, making the open as quick-witted and engaging as ever. Still incorporating tinges of humor throughout, our presidential candidates smirk as we land on the gloved curtain reveal to the logo.

From it’s very first season in 2016, the world of politics has only become more chaotic, and our series opens are a reflection of how swiftly things have changed throughout the last four years.

Over the years, we’ve been able to dial in a look for the Circus open that showcases an ever-changing political environment. From it’s very first season in 2016, the world of politics has only become more chaotic, and our series opens are a reflection of how swiftly things have changed throughout the last four years.

From the 2016 election to the democratic primaries to the 2020 election, The Circus has seen it all, and our graphics continue to elevate the series and support the narrative through and through.

2016 animation vs. 2020 animation

Thanks as always to our partners and collaborators at Left/Right!

-BGSTR

Credits -

Executive Creative Director - Josh Norton
Executive Producer - Carson Hood
Head of Prodcution - Virgil Conklin
Design - Carol Cai, Doug Chang (Original)
Animation - Liu Chia-Lung, Conner O'Brien

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Next Project: Soul of America
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