King + Country Take Home Main Title Design Emmy for “The Good Lord Bird”
From the release:
The Television Academy presented King + Country (K+C) with the 2021 Creative Arts Emmy® Award for Outstanding Main Title Design for The Good Lord Bird, an American historical dramatic miniseries, based on the 2013 novel of the same name by James McBride. Focusing on John Brown’s attack on American slavery, the series was created and executive produced by Ethan Hawke and Mark Richard. Produced by Jason Blum, through Blumhouse Television, it premiered on October
K+C’s Main Title highlights the most pivotal scenes of the story, serving as a prologue that conveys the overall tone of the series. Quirkiness and absurdity amidst a dire setting, the titles are loaded with deep symbolism and as the series plot moves forward, the meaning behind every vignette comes to life and ties back to the whole story-arch.
“We employed minimalistic design with gestural paint strokes and loose edges that help communicate the character’s seemingly dubious motivations and moral codes. We used Saul Bass, Jacob Lawrence, and Bill Traylor as graphic inspiration. Bold compositions and a coherent color palette that evolves from a hopeful start to a hellish ending, we explored themes of faith, superstition, and transformation, while allowing the audience permission to laugh through it all.” Said Efrain Montañez K+C Partner + Creative Director.
Bill Traylor was an African-American self-taught artist born into slavery and spent the majority of his life after emancipation as a sharecropper. K+C’s approach embraces Bill’s work and gives it a modern spin, matching the emotion and energy of his aesthetic with their own fresh visual style. Key story moments are not really revealed, instead, they leaned more into abstract concepts that establish tone, drawing the viewer in with expressive and affecting imagery.
“We brought the title sequence to life via cel animation, relying on both live-action references and clever use of 3D and mocap data to serve as a blueprint for the hand-crafted layer to be drawn on top. This technique helped us retain the characters’ pulsing humanity within a visually minimalistic aesthetic, while also driving efficiencies in a fast-paced timeline.” Said Eduardo Guisandes K+C Art Director. “Even the start of a global pandemic couldn’t slow us down.” Said Abigail Fairfax K+C Animator.
“This award season has been very kind to us but the Emmy Win for Outstanding Main Title was particularly special. We’ve been in this space for many years creating some beautiful work. With opportunities like these, it’s great to see the planets align with a talented team, a powerful show, and a bold creative vision.” Said executive producer Jerry Torgerson K+C Partner + Executive Producer.
Production: Blumhouse Television
Director: Albert Hughes
EP/editor: Padraic McKinley
EP Post: Olga Hamlet
Producer: O’Shea Read, Alex Espinoza, Adan Orozco
Production: King + Country
CD: Efrain Montañez
AD: Eduardo Guisandes
Animator: Abigail Fairfax, Josh Lewis
Producer: Ryan Lowrie
EP: Jerry Torgerson
Music: Mahalia Jackson “Come on Children, Let’s Sing”