BET / Blue Ice Pictures
In Contempt is BET’s new original legal drama. We were approached by BET and Blue Ice Pictures to design and animate the opening title animation, with the goal of encapsulating the show’s energy, spirit and themes in a quick 5 title sequence. The end result is a dynamic flurry of close-up shots depicting redacted information on various legal documents. These visuals provide a glimpse into the frantic environment and unjust justice system that Gwen (the lead character in the show) and her team must face on a daily basis.
The opening alludes to the deliberate omission of details and important information that could potentially help the protagonist legal team in their efforts. We digitally re-created legal documents and animated select key pieces of information to be redacted with sharpie-like marks. It was important to us that we maintained a very physical, visceral quality to the opening, as well as a somewhat gritty texture that you can “feel” on the screen. This gritty element alludes to the scrappiness and exuberance of the legal team in the show (and Gwen’s character specifically) - showing that sometimes you have to get your hands dirty to get the job done. At the same time, the dirt & scuffs can also be interpreted as a metaphor for the secrets, deception and downright willful bias that Gwen and crew encounter when trying to battle an unjust system.
We worked in close collaboration with show creator Terri Kopp who is a former lawyer herself. Terri supplied us with accurate legal copy that we were able to use to create the documents. Once we generated the documents themselves we tested out a few animation approaches of revealing the documents. These included various approaches to how we revealed the documents.
At the start of the project we developed a few different concepts for the title reveal. Here are a few ideas we explored early on.
This concept is a playful yet dramatic approach to the reveal of the show’s title. A series of words & phrases all starting with “IN” cycle through on the screen in a ticker-like fashion. e words change in a flurry, so that every time you watch the show you might catch a new one you didn’t notice before. The words themselves are an interplay between legal terms and expressions of frustration and anger with the corrupt system. It is a way to showcase both how our main characters are o en found in contempt in court, while they themselves also hold the system in contempt.
Much like the show, the title treatment here is both playful yet biting... fun but poignant. Each cold open would end with a freeze frame that allows us to cleverly integrate the show title on top of.
JUSTICE IS CRACKED
The scales of justice crack and shatter. Lady justice is only blind at the discretion of those in power.
Creative Studio: reactiv
Creative Director: Alon Isocianu
Executive Producer: Anna Junger
Animators: Peter Skountzos & Alon Isocianu