Godzilla 2012: Interview with TalkingDog Studios

Recently I got a chance to ask some questions to Rob Bryanton of TalkingDog Studios, the guys behind Legendary Picture’s Gojira (due for 2012). Here is his response. Thank you once again to TalkingDog for doing this. Check them out over at www.talkingdogstudios.com

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It seems the release of the Godzilla t-shirt for which Talking Dog created the Augmented Reality has stirred up some questions – in fact, I just received a list of them from Masahiro Wakahisa of the blog TokyoStateofMind. Masahiro (Matt) is an artist from New Jersey, and an avid Godzilla fan – elsewhere on the net he has already declared an Oath that he is going to use his talents to end up in the closing credits of Legendary Pictures’ 2012 production of Godzilla. It’s good to dream big, that’s how you make things happen!

Here’s his list of questions and and my responses:

Masahiro: I must say you definitely stirred things up in Fanboy land. This is like the Holy Grail of Godzilla news at the moment. Thank you for the opportunity. Here are some questions. There have been various sources stating that this shirt of yours is a hoax and some saying that it is legitimate. Can you start off by telling us the truth? Is this shirt an official promotional item for Legendary Pictures’ upcoming feature “Gojira”?
Rob: Yes. Yes it is.

How did Legendary go about contacting Talking Dog Studios in taking on this project?
If possible, can you please give us a short summary of the creation of this project.

Our blog entry Talking Dog Makes Hollywood Connection touched on this, but I can give you a little more detail here. We’ve been creating flash-based Augmented Reality projects since the beginning of 2009, so we have a lot of tools in our chest now, so to speak. There still really aren’t many companies like ours out here doing creative Augmented Reality projects, so when Larry Monte of California’s Corporate Images went out on the net looking for somebody to implement an augmented reality t-shirt, he liked our work and hired us. Larry had a clear idea right from the start of what he wanted the Augmented Reality presentation to do, and as soon as our first demo was shown to Legendary Pictures everyone was very enthusiastic about it.

What was your reaction when Legendary called upon Talking Dog to help promote Gojira?
I was eight years old when King Kong vs. Godzilla came out, definitely one of my fondest childhood memories was watching that film up on the big screen! My friends and I couldn’t stop talking about it. Over the years I’ve collected every Godzilla movie I’ve been able to find – so of course it was a huge thrill to know we could be a part of this re-launch of the franchise.

How is an effect like this achieved?
Magic.

Why such a sneaky, silent release?
Interesting question. I’m sure Legendary Pictures would rather answer that one. I don’t think it’s so much that they were being sneaky as they are only in the very first stages of production, so it’s not like they could show us all clips from the movie or anything yet.

Will there be future updates on the film?
No question.

Will there be another run/printing of these shirts?
No idea. They’re giving them away free at Comic-Con, but we don’t know if they plan to sell them from the Legendary Pictures website in the future or whatever. I would say right now that if you were lucky enough to get one, hang on to it because it’s a collector’s item!

Did you expect the reception you received?
So far all the feedback we’ve received has been very positive, people really like being able to shoot Godzilla’s “atomic breath” out of their chests, and the way the smoke rises into the air afterwards.

Will there be future collaborations involving Gojira that you can tell us about?
We certainly hope so!

Who designed Godzilla art featured?
The design was supplied to us by artist Jim Zubkavich of Udon Comics, working in consultation with Michael Jenson of Legendary Pictures who was our main contact at the studio.

Is the logo featured on the back of the shirt the logo for the film?
Could be. Don’t know.

Are the sound effects utilized in the project from Legendary Pictures or your own source material?
At Talking Dog Studios we also do music and sound for films and television shows. We created the overall sound design for what’s heard in the presentation, but of course you can hear there is a modified version of the original Toho Company Godzilla vocalization that’s layered in there.

Are there Godzilla fans over at Talking Dog?
Yes!

What are your expectations of the film? Should the fans have high hopes for the film?
Look at Legendary Pictures. They have given us some of the coolest films that have come out in the last while: Inception, Where the Wild Things Are, 300, Watchmen, the list goes on and on. I think there’s every reason to expect a great film when you see the Legendary Pictures name attached to a project!

What are your thoughts on the future of Augmented Reality?
Augmented Reality is going to be such a part of our lives that we won’t even think about it. It will be similar to what’s already happening with people who have grown so used to using the dual touch screen on an iPhone/iPod/iPad – it’s disappointing to them when they sit down at a screen and the can’t just push, pinch, and pull the data around on their screen. Augmented Reality will be the same – it will become completely expected that no matter what device you’re using there will be AR types of interaction available: and particularly since all the gaming platforms have Augmented Reality interfaces in development, and all of the smart phones on the market now have AR, this is not just speculation… really it’s already a done deal.

Is there any chance I could get a shirt? (I had to throw that one in there)
Sorry, that would have to come from Legendary Pictures.

Thanks, I hope these questions aren’t a hassle and I appreciate any answers you give. Thank you very much once again.

Masahiro

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No problem! And I wish you every success, thanks for the questions!

Enjoy the journey,

Rob Bryanton

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