Ricki and the Flash

It’s always a treat to lead the design for both a project and its pitch. You get to invest more deeply in it, something that feels almost indulgent in the ADHD world of designing social media marketing for movies. At the time Stradella Road was also experimenting with “high design” pitch decks that presented a lush mood and aesthetic to demonstrate the firm’s creative skills and communicate how well they understood the subject’s identity. I grew up singing along to Jem and the Holograms so when I heard “Meryl Streep as an 80’s rocker” plus “design the hell out of this” I was IN. 

CLIENT
Sony Pictures

AGENCY
Stradella Road

CREATIVE DIRECTOR
Ryan Antista

2014
(pitch presentation)

Photoshop, Illustrator and Keynote

2015
(social graphics)

Photoshop, Illustrator
and After Effects

For the film’s title treatment I chose ITC Serif Gothic, one of the most ubiquitous typefaces of the 70’s and 80’s, as a way to instantly trigger a feeling of nostalgia.

The only thing I love more than having a ton of high quality assets is having no assets at all. Since this was a pitch presentation and Meryl Streep had never played a rock star before, I had to fabricate all of the visuals from scratch based on a plot summary basically describing her as an aging rocker stuck in the glam glory days of the Sunset Strip.

I decided to use the presentation deck itself as a design element and lean hard into the glam rock aesthetic. To set the mood, the cover and upfront pages form one big storytelling graphic, worthwhile in its own right. This graphic also functioned as a kind of impromptu style guide for me and the visual motifs, compositional style, colors, textures, typefaces and even font sizes from those first five slides are consistent throughout the rest of the presentation. For example, the curvy black shape fading from the top of the first slide in a stepped gradient is rotated and repeated in magenta behind the breadcrumb navigation on all of the interior slides. The shape itself is based on the shoulder and leg of the “R” in the title treatment.

THE PITCH DECK

Keeping everything so tightly connected allowed the presentation to express a strong and cohesive identity but it also saved me a ton of time. By establishing a distinct design system in the upfront slides and adhering to it rigorously, I was able to complete the entire project in a record two days.

Also I don’t know why it’s so fun to Photoshop Meryl Streep into weird outfits but it is. (Instagram has proven this.)

The studio loved the pitch and Stradella Road produced all of the film’s social media. They even wanted to base the film’s overall identity design and key art on the style I had created — kind of a dream come true for a humble social pitch. Several of these dream graphics, some even animated, were approved but then something happened and the studio decided to go in a different direction. The three countdown graphics above eventually became the two posts below. At least I got to keep the lightning bolt.

 

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A post shared by Ricki and the Flash (@rickimovie) on

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Ricki and the Flash (@rickimovie) on

Production stills came a little late in the game so I had fun making a series of more conceptual graphics for Instagram.

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