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Oscar Drama

image_page1-2.jpgIt’s Monday morning and my in box greets me with not one, not two, but three reader tips. My insomniac pre-coffee big meeting in a few hours self thanks you from the bottom of my heart, dear readers. (Keep ‘em coming – email tips to jen AT unbeige DOT com.

Let’s start with the most timely: Over the weekend David Flaherty, a NYC based illustrator, emailed me a link to the Apple True Hollywood Story of Brett Davidson, the little engine, err, designer who could, damnit!

It’s a modern version of All About Eve, except that so far as I can tell Brett is more of a Pollyanna than an Eve Harrington.

Davidson is an employee [ed note: interesting, no?] at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), which runs the Oscars. “I’ve been working here for ten years and hoping they would notice my designs,” [ed. note: Hoping they'd notice? I don't recommend this as a career tactic.] explains Davidson. This year, his perseverance paid off. His winning design for the Oscar poster is appearing in multiple forms, on venues ranging from websites to taxicabs, as part of a broad campaign to promote the show. It’s sweet success indeed, considering his lifelong passion for all things Oscar…

In a unanimous decision, Davidson’s poster won. “There were more than 100 entries from all these world-renowned designers,” he says, his voice still tinged with disbelief. “They were big guns that had put together whole campaigns to pitch their ideas. And the craziest thing was, because of my job, I was the one who had to set up their fancy presentations in the conference room. That was torture! They had their laptops and their eight-foot illustration boards, and I looked around the room and thought, I don’t stand a chance—I’m just going to kill myself now. It was very David and Goliath.

Let’s hear it for for Underdog! It’s a classic parable, it’s just too bad that the design isn’t terribly inspired. Davey, I mean Brett let’s a little of his Eve Harrington shine through towards the end of Apple Pro Design‘s gushy, fluffy profile:

I tried to get close to the simplicity of the work of Saul Bass,” says Davidson. “He did so many great movie posters and famous logos like AT&T, United, and Kleenex. I wanted it to be bold and fresh, to breathe some youthful energy into it. I wanted it to have the retro feel of the 1950s while being contemporary too. And I wanted an arresting image that stops you in your tracks.”

Saul Bass, you say? Hmm. Not exactly the comparison I’d jump to, Hollywood dreamer, but every one knows that it pays to think big in Tinseltown.

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