Los Angeles-based mixed-media production studio Roger has hired associate creative director Ariel Costa. Costa’s first project for Roger recently debuted at the PromaxBDA Conference in L.A. He directed the company’s submission for “Videophonic,” a session that invited commercial design and animation studios to create a music video for pre-MTV era songs. Roger took the fully animated route for Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Lookin’ Out My Back Door.”
“As we continue to grow as a studio, it’s important to keep bringing in top-notch talent into the fold,” said Terence Lee, owner/executive creative director of Roger. “Ariel has the experience, leadership and creativity to drive the studio into brave new directions as already evidenced by his work on Videophonic. He continually pushes the envelope when it comes to design and animation and his enthusiasm is infectious. Our team and our clients will certainly reap the benefits.”
Costa comes to Roger after more than four years at the helm of motion graphics boutique Studio Nitro in São Paulo, Brazil. His company specialized in high-end design and animation for international brands and networks including Nike, Adidas, MTV and VH1. Studio Nitro notably created the opening titles for Planet Hulk, an animated feature via Marvel Animation Studios, and garnered MTV “Best Video” nominations at the Video Music Awards, as well as the TV Global Brazil Award for Music (Best Video). After launching Studio Nitro, he worked as a freelancer for several design studios including Lobo and Tendril.
“Joining Roger lets me get back to what I love doing, which is being on the creative side as an artist,” Costa said. “After Studio Nitro, I started to freelance at studios in Brazil, London, Canada, Argetina and in the U.S. And with more and more opportunities stateside, it ultimately made sense to move to L.A. After meeting with several studios, I found that I related most to Roger. There’s an excellent vibe here. Everyone’s happy and having fun, which reminds me very much of my own company’s environment and culture.”
Costa’s music video entry was inspired by his love of fantasy books, particularly Rip Van Winkle. In the classic tale, a man awakes after several years of sleep to find that he is old and the world around him completely changed. Costa’s animated twist on the tale draws from his personal experiences.
“That story terrified me as a child,” he said. “Yet it offered a good concept for visually interpreting the song, which was originally written for soldiers returning home. What I wanted to do was turn a bad situation into a positive, with a focus on the idea of travel and something happier than war. My version, in a way, mirrored all the big changes in my own life.”
“Every Sunday, we listened to Creedence at my in-laws’ house,” Costa said. “I also based the main protagonist on (my father-in-law). The song gives you all of the characters, so it was easy to define their unique looks and personalities. I just had to pull off my hat and create something fun and different that fit the story.”
Costa worked closely with Roger cel animator Jahmad Rollins and 3D artists DJ Kim and Blake Beynon. They drew inspiration from Woodstock designs and the iconic Beatles “Yellow Submarine” animations to achieve the vintage, ‘70s aesthetic he envisioned.
Having one month to complete the project presented a challenge, as Costa’s creative team balanced a busy load of client projects.
“This was the perfect project that every artist wants to be a part of,” Costa said. “We had total freedom. And professionally speaking, the overall creative freedom that Terry has given me at Roger has been awesome, too. Roger is willing to try new directions, explore different projects, and that really caught my attention.”