Motion graphics production company ROGER recently united with snackaholic to create the show open and graphics package for It Gets Better, an MTV special documenting the struggles of today’s LGBT teens. The 60-minute special features Dan Savage, syndicated columnist, author and co-creator of the “It Gets Better” project.
For the show open, ROGER created a dynamic mosaic built around motion graphics and the real voices of ItGetsBetter.org – a worldwide movement dedicated to expressing support and hope to LGBT youth. It Gets Better premiered on both MTV and Logo on Feb. 21.
“It’s a true honor to contribute to It Gets Better,” said ROGER owner and creative director Terence Lee. “This campaign has gone so viral, to the White House and back, so to be a part of a movement of this scale and leverage our creativity for such a positive message feels really good.”
Stemming from a single voice, the show open ramps up on a series of interchanging frames comprised of stylized tiles and actual It Gets Better Project messages. After a few seconds, the screen is completely filled with supporters before the talking heads disperse one by one, trickling down to a singular voice representing the collective message: It Gets Better.
From the outset, ROGER worked closely with Ted Skillman and Belisa Balaban of snackaholic and MTV, as well as Savage’s executive producing partner Brian Pines, to develop the show open and graphics package. The job included transitions, bumpers and lower-thirds. The creative brief was to visually translate the concept of ItGetsBetter.org for the screen, and communicate the poignancy of its message to a wider television audience in order to inspire advocacy.
“The It Gets Better movement is about a virtual community forming to support people who feel isolated and alone,” said snackaholic executive producer Ted Skillman. “One of the challenges in making the show was to create an immediate and visual sense of that community coming together. ROGER immediately understood what we wanted to do with the show and the challenges, and they were an incredible partner throughout the process.”
“snackaholic was very supportive of us creatively as we came to all the decisions collaboratively,” said Lee. “An important aspect of our job was to also expand the look of the It Gets Better Project, rather than make the opening a direct translation of the website. Given the MTV platform, the show had to appeal to a wider audience. Even though these stories are very intrinsic to the LGBT cause, to sway these teens from committing suicide, the underlying message is really about being a teenager – that life goes on past high school and will get a lot better.”
ROGER was supplied with show footage and user-generated content from ItGetsBetter.org, spanning public supporters, celebrities and politicians including President Obama, among many others. Conscious that the video elements were going to be supplied at varying and limited scale, ROGER developed its design accordingly – integrating webcam and home video footage to achieve an aesthetic quality for HD TV, while retaining the project’s grass-roots origins.
“We applied a little bit of color grade to make the videos match better, but in the end, we wanted them all to look a little different and not be too polished to convey the true nature of the campaign,” explained Lee. “Our design had to be honest and respect the fact that these are messages coming from real people in their homes.”
“This project was really close to all of our hearts from the beginning,” said ROGER executive producer, Sarah Cole. “You don’t get these kind of projects often, so it’s a creative piece you know will have a pretty good shelf life as the It Gets Better Project extends far beyond the website now with the MTV show.”