December 4, 2007

Eyestorm Productions

Production Alums Make Some Noise With The Newest THX Trailer

By James Tella

Former 310 partners Michael Kilma (l) and Kyle Ruddick (r) are behind the recently launched creative production company Eyestorm Productions.
Although Michael Klima ’03 and Kyle Ruddick ’04 say that their work at the School of Cinematic Arts was just as hard as any project created at their recently launched creative production company Eyestorm Productions, both admit the biggest hurdle before them is juggling multiple opportunities now that their latest collaboration—the next installment of the famous THX trailer gets ready to hit theaters nationwide.

“We had to think fast every step of the way,” said Ruddick who notes the trailer took five pitches to win. “It proves that if you’re not afraid of doing things, then you’ll figure out a way to do it.”
“We literally had people tell us it couldn’t be done, that no production company our size could possibly do this in six weeks,” added Klima.

The 100 percent CG trailer titled “Amazing Life,”
which hits THX Certified Cinemas nationwide this month, features plants, flowers, wind and other nature-based eye candy that join together in orchestral harmonies. Amidst the sounds, the visuals seamlessly meld into the famous logo and surge their music into the famous THX crescendo.

Working as a motion graphic design freelancer when he was at ’SC, Ruddick was referred for a position at Lucasfilm Ltd. by one of his clients immediately after he finished 480. Klima, his former 310 partner, joined him in the Bay Area months later and the two were assigned to the company’s marketing branch.
Amazing Life features plants, flowers, wind and other nature-based eye candy that join together in orchestral harmonies.

“Kyle is the guy who’ll throw paint on the wall and watch it until it forms into something while I pre-think an idea over and over in my head,” said Klima about his polar opposite. Together with his deep editorial background and Ruddick’s experience in CGI and design animation, the work between the two still plays out as if they were in film school.

“Things are smooth in the beginning and then we argue at the end,” laughed Klima.

Looked at among their Lucasfilm family as the young guys, the two were entrusted with the youth marketing spots for Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith. Following that immense success with numerous video game trailers for LucasArts (including a win for Best Trailer of E3 from IGN for Star Wars: The Force Unleashed), as well as personal projects for George Lucas, Klima and Ruddick formed their “hybrid between an advertising agency and production company” in the summer of 2005, headquartered in Venice Beach.

The Eyestorm Productions trailer for Star Wars: Episode III.
Even though they  “were just getting cards printed and had no physical location yet” when the THX possibility first appeared, Klima and Ruddick tackled their new challenge head-on. Whereas most agencies first develop a client’s idea and then hire a production company to execute the project, the two principals set out to combine the steps, bringing together high-concept ideas and cutting-edge visuals with a spice of artistic youthfulness. Together the two have remained focused on the youth market with short-form productions (music videos, commercials, documentaries and viral videos) as well as post-production marketing (theatrical/video game trailers, commercials, documentaries and motion graphic driven pieces), with an eye on moving toward features.

“It’s nice to have your hands in everything, and hiring insanely crazy people who can do a lot of broad strokes has also helped us,”
Amidst the sounds, the visuals of Amazing LIfe seamlessly meld into the famous logo and surge their music into the famous THX crescendo.
added Klima. “We all worked immensely hard on THX.”

With the future an endless possibility, the two have nothing but praise for their time spent in the production division.

“We never got a golden key,” Ruddick said. “Though what we did get was an incredible amount of work.”

“It was like being thrown into the fire and it’s just as hard out here in the real world,” added Klima.

Both men readily agree that Lucasfilm was a great place to start, but now they feel they’re poised to fly on their own.

“We’re on the verge of building our own empire,” Ruddick said with a wry smile.