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Kyle Cooper Event Recap

Last week a dust cloud descended over Tulsa, and lent an eerie light to the afternoon. Luckily for us we were tucked away in the welcoming and dust-free Philbrook Museum. Guests who arrived early got to enjoy soundtracks from films Kyle Cooper worked on, and mingle with one of our sponsors for this event, OSU-IT.

Kyle Cooper gave quite an enthusiastic talk. Not only had he prepared his own interface for his presentation, he started off reciting a good chunk the prologue from Shakespeare’s Henry V. Turns out the two companies Cooper founded, Imaginary Forces and Prologue Films, are both named after it. This recitation isn’t something we can fully describe in words.

Cooper went on to explain the title of his talk, “Prologue Process. Involving Yourself. Involving Others.” As he described it, you have to thoroughly involve yourself in a project in order to legitimately draw others in. It’s a mantra that works for all creative fields, not just motion graphics.

It makes sense that Cooper can relate to so many creative fields. As a kid he was into drawing (mostly monsters), and in college he studied graphic design under the great Paul Rand. The only artistic area he didn’t take to was Interior Design, a class he failed in… twice.

The way he sees it, there’s no reason to differentiate the fields of design. He may work on a sequence within a film, or as a title designer, but it still all relates back to his education under Paul Rand. Even when working on print design, Rand would always imply motion and “look for a moment and look for contrast.” Cooper tries to accomplish this within every frame of whatever project he works on. He pushes himself to be inventive, and strives to keep a hands-on approach. This is clear in his title sequence for Dawn of the Dead where he sprayed acetone on printed type to make it bleed rather than animating it, and in the title sequence for Final Destination 5 where he applied vinyl lettering to glass and filmed dozens of items crashing through the words.

All this experimentation isn’t just for kicks, though. At its core, Cooper’s work is always about helping film directors achieve their goal. Almost every clip Cooper showed proved this. Maybe Flubber isn’t the hottest movie to do a sequence for, but Cooper works with challenges and makes the best of what he has. Sometimes a simple solution is best, as in his sequence for Wimbledon. It’s about solving a problem, setting the mood, and never being self-indulgent.

At the end of the presentation, Cooper played his demo reel, and we all agreed it was over too soon. Of course he covered much much more (What is Terrence Malick really like? How do you put a pin harness onto a beetle?), but sometimes you just have to be there. He followed up by signing his posters and chatting with the crowd. Stay tuned later this week for a photo recap featuring images YOU tweeted from the event!

Thank you everyone who dropped in, special thanks to Philbrook for teaming up with us, and thank you OSU-IT for sponsoring!


As always, a big THANK YOU to our season sponsors as well, Clampitt Paper, QuikPrint, Western Printing, and UniGraph.


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