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May 2014

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40 Post • May 2014 newmedia D ALLAS — It can be an exciting time for visual storytellers. Be it for a brand, TV series or film, expanding a story to the app game world extends it far beyond the theater or tube. But how can one convert the heart of an epic campaign or blockbuster feature into app game fodder? Santa Monica/Dallas digital studio Reel FX ( starts with what's fun and hopefully highly addictive game play function- ality. Their veteran VFX team, which usually specializes in film and commercial design/ani- mation/VFX, then applies the appropriate branding. (Some of their past commercial work includes campaigns for Audi, AMC, Fidelity, Dodge, and Intel, among others.) The company's been in the app business for over two years now with their first output being educational apps for high schools and universities. Last year, Reel FX created a game app for the CG-animated feature Free Birds (which they also produced) called Baby Turkey Trouble. Having done all the animation on the film, the company was also able to come on board as the app creator for the franchise. Continuing to release new apps keeps this growing segment of the Reel FX business sharp and on top of trends, even if it means delivering a game app just for fun. The com- pany's new Shaving Face title is such an app. Spearheaded by Reel FX's director of digi- tal interactive, Dan Ferguson, Shaving Face challenges gamers to quickly shave beards on restless, hair-loving characters such as The Lumberjack, The Hipster, A Bearded Lady and The Wizard. "We try to master visual storytelling and entertainment on multiple screens, the big movie screen, television screen and mobile screen," says Ferguson. "Functioning success- fully on all platforms enables us to deliver messaging in a unique and impactful way… and the mobile games are super fun. Shaving Face is a ridiculously-addictive blast." The app is available for download for Apple products, on Amazon and on Google Play. APPS & DIGITAL EXPERIENCES Reel FX is moving into the mobile apps and digital experience space in earnest with several upcoming projects for both studio feature films and advertising clients. The com- pany creates many projects soup-to-nuts now, including app ideation and development. They collaborate on a concept, then produce, ani- mate, edit, mix, finish and deliver for consistent messaging through all platforms. Another development at Reel FX is their forthcoming work using the new virtual-reality sensation, Oculus Rift. Oculus Rift is immersive virtual reality technology that's wearable and affordable. Reel FX aims to use this technology in several commercial endeavors, using their VFX artists, new live-action directors and game developers to lead the charge. TURNKEY PROJECTS Every business extension at Reel FX sup- plements their traditional VFX work and sup- ports the increasing amount of soup-to-nuts, turnkey projects they handle. The company has done turnkey production for clients since the beginning. However, because of their expertise in animation and VFX, they've been known primarily as a studio that specializes exclusively in those areas. They aim for that to change in 2014. "This year, our goal is to increase our focus on doing turnkey jobs," says Reel FX director/ creative director, Dale Carman. "That means we are adding multiple new live-action direc- tors in addition to our current in-house talent. We've also added a new EP of live-action, Steve Johnson. The team involved has immense production and post production experience and talent." Reel FX's live-action arm has hit the ground running with campaigns for feature films, shor t films, in-theater presentations, motion rides, music videos, commercials, and apps, some of which are live-action mixed with VFX and some being strictly live-action. The Monopoly Empire :30, directed and VFX supervised by Kevin Althans, exemplifies how the company flexes both their VFX and live-action muscles. Empire was truly a Reel FX turnkey production, leaning on their abil- ity to deliver the entire package from star t to finish. By handling everything, from loca- tion scouting and casting to set design, VFX and animation, they were able to deliver media to the client very efficiently. They don't have to worry about whether or not it will work in post or how to pull something off because they craft everything themselves. This gives their agency and client confidence, and lets them pull off aggressive and chal- lenging shoot schedules. Empire features a group of live-action kids living inside a new, life-sized Monopoly Empire game. The :30 showcases both the compa- ny's VFX and how effectively they integrate live-action to make a highly designed world seem tactile. Such creative capabilities for Reel FX's turnkey campaigns come together with artful ease so clients work with better budgets, schedules and creative. Upcoming projects of this sort include jobs for longtime clients like Hasbro and spots for newer clients like D Magazine. Because of their robust pipeline, the workload on such projects is often shared between Reel FX's studios in Santa Monica and Dallas. "Future Reel FX turnkey projects will also include app games and other digital experiences to supplement the more tradi- tional adver tising," notes Ferguson. "We're ver y excited about our recent business extensions and hope to use them on ever y Reel FX job." Reel FX grows with apps & production This studio's turnkey approach now extends to new media. Reel FX provided full service for this Monopoly Empire spot, proving they are more than just VFX. Shaving Face is an addictive app developed by the studio.

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