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International Motion Art Awards: Paul Wolfe

By David Schonauer   Thursday July 31, 2014


The menacing voice that speaks to you in the two-minute animated video My Name Is Change quickly makes an offer you can’t refuse: “I’d like to invite you to lie down on the tracks of history and wait for the train of the future to run over you.” Conceived by New York-based creative director Paul Wolfe as a promotion for the website of a start-up ad agency, the video was animated by Stefanie Augustine and directed by Adam Gault with stark graphical power that underscores the frightening prospects of change. But as the International Motion Art Awards-winning piece goes on to point out, change can also be your friend, if you given it a chance. “The ad agency wanted to promote the idea that they were uniquely suited for clients undergoing massive change—though change, of course, is obvious and ubiquitous and what business isn't always undergoing change?” says Wolfe.

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International Motion Art Awards

My Name Is Change

Animator: Stefanie Augustine

Art Director: Lee St. James
Creative Director: Lee St. James
Directed by: Adam Gault
Editor: Adam Gault
Sound Design: Andrew Sherman
Writer: Paul Wolfe



Sometimes we look forward to change. Sometimes we dread it. But one thing’s for certain: It’s coming. When he was commissioned to create a two-minute promotional film for a startup ad agency called Smith NY, writer and creative director Paul Wolfe decided to cast the idea of change in human terms; in fact, he turned change into the narrator of the video.

“Hi. My name is Change,” says the unnerving voice. “I’d like to invite you to lie down on the tracks of history and wait for the train of the future to run over you.”

“The agency wanted to promote the idea that it was uniquely suited for clients undergoing massive change—though change, of course, is obvious and ubiquitous and what business isn't always undergoing change?” says Wolfe. “Since change is a universal truth of life—in fact it is life—the film needed to be unique, gripping and provocative, an utterly fresh take on what exactly change is and what it does. We decided it had to be a film that gets under your skin, in language and visually. It had to be frightening—in fact, it had to be upsetting enough to compel a business to take action. Rather than being another optimistic brand film, this one would get optimistic only after it scared you to death.”

As the menacing voice in the video points out, “Don’t get me wrong. I’m really your friend. I’m just a strange friend."

The video’s stark and surreal animation underscores the sinister but intelligent nature of its narrator. “The visuals were allowed to become abstract and poetic, mixing film, photography and graphics,” notes Wolfe. “We wanted to capture and dramatize the shifting moods of the script: ominous and sinister at times, hopeful in places, purely weird and imaginative in others.”

 

 

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