- Thursday, Jul. 30, 2015
New York-based production company Underdog Entertainment today released a visual effects and art direction breakdown video for the award-winning music video “Teenage Popstar Girl” featuring the roots-rock band, Whisperado.
The breakdown video illustrates how straightforward digital effects and matte work were used judiciously for art direction and to set a stylistic tone. Breakdowns include matte painting, compositing, 3D rendering, color grading and concept art.
The witty, subversive "Teenage Popstar Girl" music video follows an awkward tween who worships an impossibly perfect, airbrushed popstar – only to discover her idol is an electronic robot that has been programmed by the record industry. Director Daniel Azarian brings Whisperado's quirky, upbeat song to life as a satiric tale in which singers and celebrities are pre-packaged and mass-marketed like plastic dolls. The video won best international music video at the London Independent Film Festival and was featured on AOL Music. Blogcritics hailed it as "Bubblegum social satire" and Following the Nerd called it "A great take on modern pop culture with a Stepford Wives overtone."
Digital art direction was used to create a retro 1960s look that was inspired in part by the song's Americana sound as well as making the true robotic nature of popstar come to life.
Azarian, who also created the video's visual effects, says “Clearly this is not a large budget Hollywood film or big agency spot, where the VFX are taking center stage. We are talking basic VFX principles used in a minimal way. The matte work especially was used to enhance and subtly add elements to sell the style of the piece.”
Azarian attributes some of this to the high quality and relative low cost of current VFX software. “Because of my background in art direction, and staying current with the available consumer VFX tools,” Azarian says, “I was able to achieve effective results without a team of VFX artists or outside agencies.”
Teenage Popstar Girl stars actress Mary O'Rourke as the Popstar, who is currently in the film “Infinitely Polar Bear” starring Mark Ruffalo, and the upcoming “The Runner” starring Nicholas Cage. The video was lensed by acclaimed cinematographer Milton Kam, whose work was recently seen on the highly rated History Channel series “American Genius.”
Daniel Azarian is an award-winning filmmaker and producer of commercials and branded entertainment. He has helmed national television spots for blue-chip brands and entertainment programming for major cable television channels, as well as having his work licensed for advertising on mobile networks in the U.S., China and the UK. Among the global brands whose campaigns have featured his work are AT&T, Sprint, AOL Music, Perez Hilton, MTV, Vh1, Horizon Organic, Sony Music Entertainment and 3M. Recent credits include the music video"There Will Never Be Any Peace (Until God is Seated at the Conference Table)" for the Grammy award winning The Blind Boys of Alabama, as well as the award-winning Public Service Announcement “Save Lolita,” the Anti-Violence Project’s “Bullying is Violence” PSA, “Building the New World Trade Center” for Silverstein Properties and the documentary short “A Day in the Life of Lolita the Performing Orca.”
Underdog Entertainment is a New York-based production company active in producing commercial spots, branded and traditional entertainment.