Budweiser, Reebok, Hewlett Packard, Nike, Microsoft don’t usually have much in common with Beck, Papa Roach, Matisyahu and REM, but if you’re the Venice Beach, California based Motion Theory, they’re all in a day’s work.
While most of us work for a publisher or a client who says ‘my daughter in law did my birthday in Comic Sans, do you have that?’, the company — founded by executive producer Javier Jimenez and director Mathew Cullen — has a client list that reads like our collective wish list.
To Jimenez, the methodology for attracting such work is simple; “Over the years we’ve picked the projects we really believe in. Now we’re at the stage where our clients actually seek our directors out for their vision. They look to us as a partner, so we often have a fair amount of say in the work.”
If that sounds like a dream come true, to Jimenez it’s par for the course simply of the talent Motion Theory is home to, staff that indeed seems to attract as well as produce quality. “Our directors have been directing amazing projects for years and their work has caught the eye of some great artists,” he explains. “They’ve been sought out by the likes of Beck and Matisyahu because people see the creative vision and are drawn to the quality of their work.”
Motion Theory is one of the new breed of companies to capitalise on the creative outsourcing of the digital effects era, comparable to the league Sydney’s Animal Logic launched itself into with the release of George Miller’s Happy Feet — evolving from a simple effects house to a fully-fledged filmmaking studio.
Similarly, there are few areas Motion Theory doesn’t work in, areas plenty of the abovementioned big names have made good use of. Their work is described as simply ‘creating at the convergence of filmmaking, design, animation, and visual effects’. As well as Microsoft’s ‘Two Little Birds’ TVC to launch the Zune player, they’ve worked on music videos for the above artists and more and have recently completed the Budweiser NFL Superbowl ad, featuring rapper Jay-Z playing a game of tabletop football.
“We love that each project is a new challenge,” Jimenez says when asked if they have to reinvent the wheel every time despite a broad range of client briefs and the tools to fulfil them. “Our process involves a deeply collaborative approach, which helps us to work on perfecting the concepts first. Then the directors go to work, both inventing new techniques and implementing the latest technology to ensure the final result is something nobody’s seen before.”
And whether it’s the movies, TV commercials or music video, isn’t stuff we’ve never seen before something we all want to see?