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Penny Dreadful Open

Super sad story coming soon, and also a case study of the process and the swift death of a beautiful opening title sequence.



Packaging for the Showtime series Penny Dreadful.

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At first I was tasked to create a short tease to reveal the logo for Penny Dreadful, the new flagship show 
for Showtime. The idea was to create a haunting and nightmarish setting while showing details of the monsters 
(vampire, werewolf, Frankenstein) without giving away too much information, especially since the characters 
had not yet been designed for the show. 

This was the beginning of an effort to lead all aspects of the Penny Dreadful promotion, from the launch spots–
“Just Like You” and “Devil in the Details”–to the shorter “Stitched” tease, to the ancillary spots which would begin 
to permeate the air space of Showtime as well as a wide range of media buys. We were very lucky to have been able to 
work with The Mill on “Stitched” and “Just Like You” as their directing and effects mastery are nearly unparalleled
in the industry. I also created and designed were a custom animated typeface, and a series of animated occult diagrams.

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Comment by paula on July 18, 2014 at 8:40am


EMERGENCE was the original title sequence for the Victorian psycho-sexual horror series PENNY DREADFUL. The piece was cut due to the decision by the network at the last minute to not market the show as an edgy modern take on classical horror, but as a strictly dramatic series. The concept for “Emergence” was developed by myself along with my team at Showtime and derives from a quote in the show that succinctly sums up its central narrative: “Do you believe there is a demimonde? A half world between what we know and what we fear…a place in the shadows rarely seen but deeply felt…where some unfortunate souls are cursed to live always.”  

“Penny Dreadful” weaves together several classical titles–Shelley’s “Frankenstein”, Stoker’s “Dracula”, and Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray”–into a ensemble drama about tortured characters with striking dualities working together to achieve a common goal. The titles depict the show’s Victorian archetypes as figures frozen in time, set adrift in the dark limbo environment of their psyche where they are tortured from within. They are losing the battle against their inner demons, which are manifested as black insects and snakes made of obsidian stone, breaking out of the beautifully formed prison bodies of our protagonists.

The poses in the piece reference the naturalism of Victorian and Pre-Raphaelite art that was contemporaneous to the time period of the show. The scenes are then imbued with allegorical themes from neo-classical art. Echoes of Bernini, Carpeaux, and Michelangelo can be felt, as well as Gericault’s “Raft of the Medusa” in the final composition which depicts the futile attempt of escape by those “unfortunate souls” from their fate.

DARK RITUAL was another direction of mine and was ultimately chosen, although I didn’t participate in its execution.  The open used for the show blended elements of “Dark Ritual” with the initial tease “Do You Believe in Monsters.” The narrative for “Dark Ritual” centered around a woman performing an arcane act, summoning creatures from the dark. The narrative elements were left out of the final version.

  • "Emergence"
  • ART DIRECTOR / CONCEPT: Jason Forrest Hogg
  • DIRECTED BY: Lauren Indovina, PSYOP
  • "Dark Ritual"

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