“Since we’re fans of the show, we were thrilled when Weeds called,” said IdeaRocket’s creative director and founder William Gadea. “Their creative staff was very clear on what they wanted from the beginning. They had been entranced by the whiteboard style they had seen on the Web, and they wanted to create something that used that technique to re-tell the Weeds odyssey that viewers have watched over seven seasons of the show.”
“We pitched them more elaborate takes, but Weeds executive producers Jenji Kohan and Roberto Benabib were keen on keeping the simplicity and purity of the style.”
Although IdeaRocket’s take on the whiteboard resembles the YouTube RSA videos that popularized this style, the studio used a different technique. Instead of shooting stop-motion or speed-up video footage of a hand drawing an illustration, it employed a digital simulation. The drawing hand was shot against a green screen and then placed over art that was created in Photoshop on a Cintiq screen.
“We’ve developed a technique that allows us to capture the actual drawing as it occurs. Using a totally digital workflow gives us and our clients more flexibility in making tweaks at any point in the process.”
Why has this style captured the imagination of so many? “I think the reason the RSA style is so hypnotizing,” Gadea suggested, “is because you are witnessing a creative act.”
“We were huge fans of the RSA videos and we really love how they took that model and created an awesome title sequence,” said Kohan.
Created by Emmy Award winner Kohan and produced by Lionsgate, Weeds has been honored with multiple Emmy and Golden Globe Award nominations and wins over the course of its seven seasons on air. Viewers have watched and marveled as Nancy Botwin (series star Mary-Louise Parker in her Golden Globe Award-winning performance) has progressed from a suburban widow who turns to selling nickel bags to make ends meet for her family to a full-fledged marijuana queenpin.
Production on the final season’s 13 episodes is currently underway in Los Angeles for a Sunday, July 1st at 10 p.m. ET/PT premiere on Showtime. Weeds is executive produced by creator Jenji Kohan, Roberto Benabib, Matthew Salsberg and Mark A. Burley.