Douglas Coupland Generation A Films
Titles: 10 Question for Douglas Coupland, The Tragic Death of the Channel Three News Team, Colour Samples
Client: Random House Canada
Directors: Crush and
David Hicks
Crush Creative Director: Gary Thomas
Production Companies: Crush, Toronto and
Sons and Daughters, Toronto
Animation and Visual Effects: Crush, Toronto

A Q&A with Gary Thomas, Crush Creative Director, on the Generation A films.

This is your follow-up campaign to Coupland’s The Gum Thief, tell me about how this project was different?

In both campaigns we let the content of the books drive our creative.
The books are quite different, structurally and thematically. We had Doug this time, and since the characters in Generation A are all isolated and asked a series of seemingly random questions by a disembodied voice, we decided to subject Doug to the same experience.

How involved was Douglas Coupland?

He liked the premise, and let us take it and run with it, similarly to The Gum Thief pieces. He followed the progress as we worked and added his input, which was always really considered.

Tell me about the shoot day.

David Hicks (director from Sons and Daughters), Stefan Woronko (Crush’s Art Director) and I went out to Vancouver on a Friday at the end of July, had a prep day at Doug’s studio (the location), and then shot Sunday from 10:30 in the morning until 4:00.

Tell me about the animated segments in the films.

We love interpreting Doug’s writing visually, and had a really good time with The Gum Thief stuff. We didn’t do as much this time, because the piece was more about Doug, but still wanted to do some. We included two stand-alone animation pieces to accompany the main film. The first one is an excerpt where one of the characters in the book helps himself sleep by reciting paint colour names from the Martha Stewart catalogue. Stefan opted for a simple, graphic treatment. He also did the voice over.

The Tragic Death of Channel Three screamed for a graphic novel treatment because of its lurid subject matter. Yoho Yue designed the panels and animated in After Effects along with Sean Cochrane and Kaelem Cahill. We wanted the piece to have a really basic feel, almost like an animatic.

I hear you used a lot of recourses at Crush, including your sister company Sons and Daughters & numerous staff members in cameos. Tell me about that.

With all our little side projects we use as many in-house resources as we can. We usually edit at Crush Cuts, our offline edit house. Kim Knight is a fantastic editor, (she cut the R.E.M. Man-Sized Wreath video last year). This time David Hicks, who is one of our partners, came to us when he heard we were working with Doug, and asked if he could help. David is a really busy commercials director, and was formerly one of the top editors in Canada. We jumped at the chance to work with David. He was great on the day, is great with people, and got something really filmic from our day at the studio. He also did the fantastic edit of the live material.

We also made three ads for a fictitious Channel three News team (which makes sense when you read the book). Once again, we did an internal casting session within Crush, our sister companies and alumni and put together the very convincing News Team you see in the final piece. Stefan drew on his years in the City TV empire to create the on air look.

Any thing else I should know?

We love working with Doug.