ESPN + Bluefoot Entertainment
Hosted by award-winning investigative journalist Don Van Natta, Jr., Backstory serves as a cold case for sports journalism. Throughout the series, Don peels back the layers and brings new insights to historic moments in sports. For the opening titles and graphics package, Don and the production team at Bluefoot Entertainment requested a contemporary multi-layered look that would reflect the show’s journalistic ambitions.
Our team developed a show package that blends sports, investigative journalism and elements from Don Van Natta Jr.’s multi-decade career at the Miami Herald, New York Times and ESPN. The integration of live-action shots from Bluefoot, CGI elements and scans of physical articles and notes from Don’s investigation allowed for an opening title sequence that feels authentic to the Backstory brand. Subtle secondary touches such as animating several elements in reverse or building football field hash marks into a timeline serve to reinforce a nuanced, sophisticated and cohesive package.
Along with novels and essays David has also published compilations of his scrapbook diaries, artful collage arrangements comprised mostly of kitschy found objects and photography. This provided another angle to explore. So we assembled a variety of different moodboards, each informing a different approach, and began working on some initial frames.One such approach featured original illustrations in the spirit of artists like Marc Johns, whose work imbues deceptively well-rendered drawings with a childlike playfulness. Another took inspiration from the rich lineage of Penguin paperbacks.