For Russell Frazier of AlphaDogs, the 36th Annual Annie Awards were not an opportunity to be honored for past work; rather, the event was a chance for Frazier to showcase new work. As he has done since 2007, Frazier created the graphics for the show, which celebrates the best in animation.
"It is both fun and an honor to participate in this project, because the audience for the event is filled with the most accomplished animators and voice talent in the industry," says Frazier, who was first approached by AlphaDogs client and independent producer Les Perkins of Les Is More Productions to supply the graphics for the Annie Awards in late 2006. "We had worked with Les many times over the past decade, on projects for the Walt Disney Co. and others. I'm so glad this has developed into an annual opportunity."
"Russell's work is always outstanding," Perkins enthused. "His instincts and judgments are very good and he produces great results with very little direction on my part. I've gotten to the point with Russell where I just tell him the concept for the Annies show and he finishes the job without needing any revisions."
"Les and ASIFA Hollywood's Antran Manoogian have given me more freedom each year to set a look for the show," Frazier acknowledged, "though I try to harmonize with related Annie Awards material on the ASIFA website and the printed program."
In 2007, Frazier's first year working on the show, animator Eric Goldberg had supplied caricatures of famous animators for the website, which Frazier incorporated into his graphics package. "Because the subject is animation, there's room for some humor in the design," he says. "For example, one year the lower third banners were shaped like thought balloons emanating from the trophy." For this year's ceremony, held January 30, 2009, at UCLA's Royce Hall in Los Angeles, Frazier imagined an art deco setting with a distinguished "Old Hollywood" look. "The event and the venue have an elegant air, and I wanted to complement that with this year's graphics," he explained.
Creating the titles for the Annies is a big job, with over a hundred nominees in 25 categories. "I'd never want to tarnish any nominee's evening by misspelling his or her name, so aside from aesthetic concerns, we proofread all the text more than once," said Frazier, who has created film and documentary titles and graphics, television show opens, visual effects, promo graphics, and DVD menus for numerous clients, and has worked as a visual effects compositor on over a dozen feature films.
"I always enjoy working on the Annies," Frazier concluded, "and look forward to next year."