- Main Feature Poster
- Making of the Poster
- Finalized Revisions
- Scrapped Revisions
- Making of the Poster
The Poster Gallery
4. Main Feature Poster (Released 02/10/14)
Making of the Poster
This is it. This is the big “huzzah” that was destined to be the definitive poster of the film. Along with confetti, it was released with the release of the film, on February 10th.
What made the formation of this poster unique among its peers, were three things: Conceptually, this was what appeared in my mind when I thought of Trekkies Into Darkness. This was the poster I saw while making the film, and imagining its release. I saw Sophie, myself, James, and John, all in our joy-filled poses as “TID’s Trekkie foursome”, along with our transporter silhouettes. This was the foundational imagery that mothered everything else I built.
In production, this was the first poster to have been begun, and was the last poster to have been finished. The third uniqueness, was that there was more than one version of the poster. There were three of them, in total, including the crowning finalization.
Let’s gleefully rewind, and all take a look at the original main feature poster, shall we?
The original, scrapped version of the Main Feature Poster
So it sits, above, rereleased as an unofficial poster, no longer veiled as it was after February 3rd, for the reasons I gave in the making of the teaser poster. Once again, the original design of the poster was the first thing I made for Trekkies Into Darkness. But, in the week that followed, as the other posters established trademark features, I knew the poster would need a remodeling.
My intentions to do so, were very slight. The revision I had in mind was not drastic. But, the influence of the pop and dazzle the first feature poster lit up with, swept me up in making what would be the second version of the poster.
Before we take the sheet off of the canvas for the second version, let’s sever its existence and look at the relationship between the original design, and what elements, from the original design, and the second version, survived to evolve into the royal finalization.
The Logo Row: It’s beautiful, isn’t it? The Wes Brooks Pictures logo, as it trumpets alongside the Nerd Con Film logo. Well, as you can see in the original, the Nerd Con Film logo is absent. I suppose I can’t blame it, though, considering the logo wasn’t even in the film, at the time. Nerd Con’s honorary affiliation with Trekkies Into Darkness will be further explored in The Making Of, but basically, the addition of the Nerd Con logo was the primary reason for revision. You’ll note that I used the symbol for the United Federation of Planets to trumpet betwixt them.
Wes’ Hairline: Mourners of my hairline, may our sorrow reign no more. In the original, I received a bit of a haircut; the hairline above my forehead got a trim. This was anything but a beauty treatment. The reason for this, had to do with the process of creating the cutout. The portion, in question, was too detailed for me to cut around. If I had, we would’ve seen some of the wall through my strands of hair.
If you’re an editor, you might say, why didn’t you zoom in on the frame to make the detailed cutout? That’s what I did in the revision. Now you’re asking, why didn’t you do that in the first place? While working on the “TID’s Trekkie foursome” finale shot of the film, I figured out how to do it. I applied the newly gained knowledge onto the poster. I did not start from scratch to remake the cutout, however. I made a separate cutout, simply of the portion I wanted to restore, and placed it atop the existing cutout. With some brightness and contrast adjustments to match, voila, I had a digital toupee of my own hair.
Feather: A feather is a gradient of transparency that extends from a visible starting point of the image, to the invisible end, that had gradually faded from the starting point. If ever there was a good textbook definition of feathering, that was it. I feel like I should be given a quarter for writing that. At the foot of each character, is a feather, fading the characters’ image out, atop the credits. Each character was its own layer, and because of this, a negative effect ensued: Some characters overlapped others within the transparency. For instance, the feather on James was the most problematic. We could see my suit through his shoulder. I sought to fix this, and did so by turning the foursome, into one layer—its own graphic. While I did this, I unfeathered each individual. Then, by having four layers reduced to one, there was no risk of feather overlap.
Feather Line: In relevance to the feathering, I placed a thin, blurred black line, at the foot of the foursome. What this did, was add more feather. I moved the credits, atop the line. This gave a cleaner background for the credits to rest on top of.
Title: In the posters, trailers, and promotion of Trekkies Into Darkness, a basic design of the film title is used. Naturally, I based it off of the Star Trek Into Darkness title. A key element of the similarity, is the “Star Trek” or “Trekkies” portion of the title, standing above “Into Darkness”, with more space between the letters. It was fun to play off of the title that Trekkies Into Darkness was based on. But, there’s one title design that never appeared on any other poster than the one it champions. That, of course, is the one and only first feature poster and its triumphant, vibrant variation. Coming off of the release of that, and heading onto the revision for this, I had an understandable urge, while, retrospectively, a misplaced compulsion, to “up it”—to at least meet the shine, punch, and polish, of the previous smash title design. A most crucial poster revision, later, I settled for something less garish than the facsimile of the first feature poster’s title, that I’d used in our soon-to-be-revealed second version. With a spirit of purism, I restored the original design. I still wanted a touch of something more, though—something that wasn’t there, before. After all, it is the definitive poster of the film. The detail I employed was taken from something I’d done on the trailer titles. On the trailer titles, I had a cloud-like texture of white and gray, panning inside the title. I used a different technique, here, to generate an effect of the same venue.
The Trekkies Into Darkness title used in the trailers
I duplicated the one-layer title, darkened the duplication from white to gray, cut around a portion of gray on the duplication, feathered the cutout of the duplication, and thus, a stroke of gray paints across the otherwise bright white title. It’s simple, while effective, thanks to its delicate dab of texture.
Website URL: With subtle compositional changes, the “logo row”, the Starfleet symbol, and the URL, were duplicated from the teaser posters. The most glaring compositional change, was in the URL. Like I’d done for the first feature poster, I made the URL smaller. But here, I couldn’t help but make it even more small. If I were to betray the natural course of history, and change one thing on the teaser posters, it would be the size of the URL.
Glow: I’ll have to jump ahead of myself a little bit, on this one. In the second version of the poster, the glow behind the cast was akin to the colorful glows behind the cast on the first feature poser. For the finalization, the glows remained, but without the colorization. When making the foursome a single graphic, the glows were not apart of it. The glows were separate individual layers of the cast cutouts.
Base Gradient: This is the kind of element that perhaps you wouldn’t notice unless you sought it, or had it taken away. Sometimes, once something is removed from our sight, we can see that something more clearly, than when it was within our sight. Before philosophical notions overwhelm us, I’ll share what the base gradient was. It was a thin, dark blue gradient, that rested at the base of the poster—the very bottom. Just a bit of subtlety that adds texture to the thing.
Before launch-off into full-blown recount of the processes that took place in the relationship between the original design, and the ill-fated revision, let’s show you the thing. Heck, I need a sentence more of hype, before the veil is lifted. Are you ready for the spectacle of what has, until this momentous instant, been, the only finished poster that was never released? Three, two, one…
The scrapped second version/first revision, of the Main Feature Poster
…zero—that’s what this thing turned out to be in the end. I’d say it’s blindingly clear that I was trying to have the granddaddy poster trump the cool kid. That is, an attempt to have the finale as colorful and resilient as its predecessor, which was the first feature poster, or, as it is officially named, the Full Cast Feature Poster.
I simply tried too hard, on this one. It was a flop. It took two things away; both from itself, and from its predecessor.
The offense towards the first feature poster, was that its special uniqueness was diminished by the duet—the same demeanor, as ripped off in the second version of the main feature poster. The revision piled attributes of its predecessor on top of what already existed of itself, under the delusion that it had to be as colorful or intricate.
The most grievous offense, was to itself. Before Trekkies Into Darkness was a byte of anything on the digital plane, I knew what the Trekkies Into Darkness poster looked like. Because I betrayed that vision, and meddled with it—that’s why it was a failure.
The revisions we rode through, above, did not betray the vision. Therefore, they enhanced it. That’s why the final version works. The finalization redeemed the ills of the revision, but improved the poster, because the revised revision knelt upon the foundation of the original. I’m somewhat patriotic for my posters, aren’t I?
Let’s take a quick stroll through the additions the revision spat…
The Arc: The arc is the planetary-like ellipse that was a prominent fixture in the teaser posters, and was used in the first feature poster. The arc was tremendous for the teaser posters, but here, it was too much. It is vastly more interesting to see “TID’s Trekkie foursome”, isolated, without the arc at their feet. When ditching the arc, we have less to focus on, therefore, the focus is more in focus, isn’t it? Additionally, the arc overbearingly divides the two sets of the foursome—the transporter silhouettes, and the banner of cutouts the silhouettes hovers above. The title, in the finalization, effortlessly distinguishes the two with grace and elegance, while the arc shut them off to each other.
Glow: The glow of color, blanketed behind each character, was generated by a duplicate layer of each cast cutout, that was blurred, and colorized, as was done on the first feature poster. I debated whether the characters should have a consistent color assigned to them, or not. If I had done this, I would’ve referred to the first feature poster to learn everyone’s colors. But, I favored the carefree merits of otherwise, over the constrained logic this would enforce.
Title: The title in the first feature poster was pure candy. I stuck it here, and had an upset stomach.
Now, it wasn’t just self-realization that led to the incineration of the revision. Debt of gratitude, is owed to costar of Trekkies Into Darkness, and creator of Nerd Con, James Ware.
After I finished the revision, I was proud of it. But, the satisfaction I believed I had of it, was disturbed by something that nagged at me, subconsciously. It took the honest opinion of a friend, to bring my unspoken concern to the surface.
Two days before the release of Trekkies Into Darkness, the private premiere was held. Before the “lights were dimmed” and “popcorn was crunched”, I excitedly pulled up the revised poster, for James. He graciously said he liked it, but truthfully added, he preferred the simpler essence of the original version. His thoughts gave me permission to realize that’s how I felt, too.
You see, after you’ve hammered chisel into stone, you sometimes can’t see the inscription you’ve made until the sweat has come off your brow. In plainer words, you slave on something, and are naturally hesitant to entertain an unenthusiastic reflection you might find yourself having. Once you step away from the thing you’ve made, and gaze back at it with fresh eyes, the bias is shattered and a new perspective emerges.
In my case, I really wanted the revision to work. I thought I was jazzing it up. But I took a step back, taking the comments of James, coupled with my original vision, by the hand, and realized the “jazz” had too much “brass”. Although, if you’ll allow me to break metaphor, jazz could never have too much brass, could it?
With the justly scrapped revision, behind us, let’s turn our heads around and face the finalization.
On the eve of February 9th, I jerked the curtain down over the gaudy revision. In the minutes of midnight leading up to the film release, I began the final revision. Minutes later, I raised the curtain on the finalized poster. In The Making Of, I will share more extensively of this evening.
The title, font, texture, gradient, glow, feather, color—all of what I’ve articulated, are pivotal elements that make up the artistry of the poster. But, they are in service of a larger element. They compliment and set the stage for the transcendent ingredient of the thing: the characterization. The foursome give life to the poster, because they are the heart of the film.
Sophie, the film’s shocking protagonist… Wes, the consistent presence and guide through the film… James, the purist Star Trek fan… John, the backbone Trekkie… are apart of “TID’s Trekkie foursome” because they are the Trekkies.
One of them took a journey to get there, the rest of them did not. But the poster reflects the concluding spirit of the film, and where everyone are at that point.
Sure, my cutout is of a frame from the first act of the film. But that makes for a visual technicality, not to mention, a trivia fact, doesn’t it?
The point of the poster embodying the concluding spirit of the film certainly shines more light on why I withdrew the poster until the release of the film. Sophie’s identity as the converted protagonist is confirmed on this poster, whereas, it was more ambiguously hinted at, before—amidst the much larger message being sent of her reigning as the antagonist.
The “TID’s Trekkie foursome” graphic
The poster very well embodies the fun, lively, camaraderie of “TID’s Trekkie foursome”, and the final moments of the film that climaxed with what is, the spirit of Trekkies Into Darkness. And that, my friends, is why this is the definitive poster of the film.
Cutout of Sophie in Main Feature Poster
Cutout of Wes in Main Feature Poster
Cutout of James in Main Feature Poster
Cutout of John in Main Feature Poster
It’s been great fun cruising through the makings of these posters, and having the sweet satisfaction of having accomplishing them—from inception, to reflection. Enjoy the rest of the ride.