Here at Big, our employees do great things for our clients. But the greatness doesn’t stop there.
Many of them make cool things in their spare time too. Brian Curtin, our Motion Design Director, is one of those people. He’s known on YouTube as “InfectiousDesigner” where his channel has gotten millions of views. He’s even done commissioned work for PlayStation, directing and producing a short film based on one of their games.
About a year ago, Brian and his friends made a video called Darth Punk that has received national recognition from sources like Time, Nerdist, USA Today, The AV Club, and Vulture. If you haven’t seen this epic video, you need to.
We sat down with Brian recently to talk about the story behind his chromed-out Star Wars and Daft Punk mashup. Here’s what he had to say.
Where did the inspiration from Darth Punk come from?
Oh, it’s so nerdy. I almost don’t want to admit it. So there’s this thing in Atlanta called Dragon Con, kind of like Comic Con, and everyone dresses up. So that’s really where the idea came from. We had these Star Wars helmets (Darth Vader and Boba Fett) and thought it would be cool if we did a Daft Punk mashup. So we chromed the helmets and put lights in them. We basically made those outfits for Dragon Con, and a bunch of people loved it. We kept saying how there needs to be a music video because it went so well.
Tell us more about Dragon Con.
No one can really understand it until you go, but it’s thousands of people and everyone there is just geeky. There’s this whole thing where people dress up as video game characters and movie characters and stuff, and everyone just walks around and drinks. So basically it’s geeky Halloween for five days.
What’s the storyline of the video?
Basically, they’re trying to bring this girl to the dark side. It was really an excuse to make something cool looking. There’s not too much storyline behind it, but I think the very small synopsis is that they are after this Jedi girl to recruit her to the dark side and that’s really all it is. It’s just them walking after her kind of creepily. And she has her friends, and then they have a dance battle. At the end, they give her a light saber and she turns it on and it’s red, which would signify that she’s now a bad guy — but we leave it at that so the audience won’t know. If there’s ever a second one, maybe we’ll find out.
Where did you find the music?
It’s actually stock music. In reality, original new music that sounds like Daft Punk or Star Wars is hard to find.
Did you find the music before you shot the video?
I had a few selections of options because I liked the way they sounded, and then when we shot it we didn’t know which song we were going to use. But when we started piecing it together, we figured out this song is going to work really well.
It seems like the music is synched to the actors’ steps.
Yeah, whenever I listen to music, I’m typically drawn to music that is 128 beats per minute. So I knew whatever song I chose was going to be 128 bpm so in the video we tried to time up the walking with the beat. The goal was to have every step they make on beat.
Is there anything people don’t know about the video?
It was all pretty much filmed in Downtown Birmingham.
Is it always the same group of people who are shooting these with you?
It’s the same group, and I think all of them would admit that I do 85% of the work. But it’s also one of those things where I can’t say I do it all, because these would never get done if it was just me. You have to have people acting and whatever but typically I’m the one saying “Let’s do this. Everybody be there at this time. Okay, I’m renting the camera gear. I’m about to spend 8 months editing this while everyone else just waits for it to show up on YouTube.”
So how do you like making videos for fun instead of work?
It’s nice to have complete creative freedom. It’s one of those things where working in the advertising world, you have clients who want to change things. So doing that long enough, I want to do projects where I’m the boss.