What methods have you tried to get over crippling creative block? Walking in the country, meditating, firing ideas off supportive friends and colleagues perhaps, but probably not advertising yourself on Craigslist as a private detective and solving crimes Film Noir-style with your comic artist best friend and pot-smoking editor in tow. No?
The latter, somewhat unconventional, scenario will be familiar to those watching HBO series Bored to Death, which features the Rushmore-star Jason Schwartzman as the semi-fictional writer Jonathan Ames struggling to write that tricky second novel.
The series’ typographic title sequence was directed by Tom Barham, creative director of US-based Curious Pictures, with illustrations by Dean Haspiel – who also penned a lot of the comics in the series supposedly drawn by Ames’ best friend Ray.
‘We wanted to write something that reflected the meta-fiction approach to fiction,’ says Barham.
Inspired by Film Noir, Barham and Haspiel teamed up to create an animated introduction, where Ames materialises from lines of text, before following a woman, and key characters from the series across locations in New York represented by pages of the book.
Barham says, ‘I wanted the characters to interact with the text in different ways. Ray smashes through it, whereas George blows it like smoke as he’s busy smoking a joint.’
Words speed across the screen, interacting with Haspiel’s illustrations and the line drawings of various New York locations.
Speaking about pitching an unusual concept to the real writer Jonathan Ames and production company Dakota, who commissioned the project, Barham says, ‘A lot of times you present stuff and the client is wary. But these guys are smart. They get it.’
Bored to Death is currently airing in the UK on Sky Atlantic and the complete first season is now available on DVD.