Guns N' Roses
North America Tour - Show Opener
Project Director + Creative Lead
For each GnR tour Creative Works are typically tasked with creating a show opener that signals the start of the show and ‘gets the audience amped’. Now in its 5th iteration, Creative Works had 8 weeks from project kick-off to tour launch to develop and produce the ‘Laboratory Break-in’ Opener.
Demonstrating Creative Works Universal Content Creation™ approach, this was the first Show Opener in the series fully rendered in Unreal Engine and powered by disguise.
Describe your role and how you were brought on to the project.
As project director and lead creative I was responsible for most aspects of the project from aligning the budget to establishing the initial vision through to the on-the-ground delivery of the final product. With my team, day-to-day, I continually develop and evolve the plan, project manage and serve the team creatively to carefully build the idea to ensure the successful completion of the project. I also develop the presentations to managing the clients’ expectations at every step.
We have been producing Tour Content for Guns N’ Roses since 2014, and have been working with them contributing show content since 2012. When the 2016 reunion happened we were in prime position to be the creative show content creators to define what the Guns N’ Roses show looked like and worked hard to establish a constantly changing and innovative show package for them.
Would you consider your responsibilities on this project creative focused, engineering focused or an apsect of the production team? Think about those three points of view and which best describes your role and why.
In my role as Creative Director at Creative Works I get to define and contribute to all aspects of the content production process for the show and think about all aspects of project from scoping the budgets, planning the timelines, developing the concepts, production decisions, establishing the programming approach and defining how the content gets organised before it gets implemented by the Guns N’ Roses production team. I also see it as a necessity for Lead on a job to have experience in and understand every step of the process and will use all the tools in the pipeline to help in establishing a good working process for the entire team.
Opener Case Study
As a team, we went into this project with several years of production experience using the Unreal Engine to deliver dynamic motion content. Using the game engine for this project enabled us to work in a different way than in previous projects, and allowed us to iterate very quickly given the speed at which we got to the initial look. The non-linear toolset for animation and sequencing the cinematics was also a game-changer in iterating story. Finally, the way content gets handled in a game engine to create dynamic resolution-independent creative, while still in its infancy in a live environment, has enormous potential for creative teams to bring places and moments to life in ever-more exciting and innovative ways.
How did you pull this project back from the brink of certain disaster?
Coming off the back of the disruption to normal life caused by COVID and our client not having full control of the timelines for the securing of tour dates created a project climate that only gave us 8 weeks to begin the work on the latest Opener for Guns N’ Roses. Having a long-term trusted relationship with the client and working with a consistently tried and tested team of highly skilled creatives was the difference between this project succeeding and failing. Using the Game Engine also enabled us to work at a project tempo that suited the tight delivery times. Another challenging aspect of the project was in overseeing the on-the-ground delivery of this project which proved difficult due to the US travel restrictions and visa application delays due to the impact of COVID. What helped counter this issue significantly in delivering the project in these conditions was, since 2015, we have as a studio been building a solid asynchronous and decentralised method of remote collaboration using a suite of cloud-based tools. This allowed the entire team to seamlessly work together across timezones and continents fluidly and effectively.
Dan Potter is a branding and motion designer with over 20+ years experience in developing high quality content for Global Brands and Legendary Bands. As project director and principle creative, his role was to lead the creative production team to a successful delivery, within budget and on time.