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- elephant skin -
A powerful film transports and connects its viewers.
At Elephant Skin, we challenge ourselves to achieve this across the divide of different cultures.
Alix Silgueiro (film director) discusses sensory immersion and the art of building realistic scenes.
As described by renowned psychologist Howard Gardner, there exist 8 categories of human intelligence. Among these is spatial intelligence, the ability to imagine three-dimensional spaces.
Visual representation has evolved tremendously over recent years. The use of computers in 3D design and modeling is expanding constantly and presents a world of opportunities to explore the audiovisual realm: cinema, architecture (archviz), video games, photography, etc.
Elephant Skin specializes in the exploration of these possible visual and sensorial resources. We are, as they say, cutting edge, and have the souls and minds to keep that edge sharp. The initial Creative Director and now Film Director on our team, Alix Silgueiro, leads the charge.
Welcome to the team!
Having graduated with degrees in Advertising and Music, Alix had the desire to somehow combine these two passions. He could not have predicted a future in which he would co-create that very reality of which he dreamed.
En route, Alix embarked on several ventures as a musician and publicist but found these experiences to consistently creep away from his artistic pursuit. Many lessons were learned along the way as he more finely tuned his compass.
It was at ES that Alix finally found the freedom he had been seeking to reignite his passions. He could now express his full artistic potential while “experimenting” with his many skills.
“I initially joined ES to lead their branding department. Until that point, I hadn’t worked much with film, but found that when it was necessary, I could capably take on that role as well.”
Lights, Camera, Action!
In the beginning, ES would structure itself by specialties. Alix worked in both the branding and film departments, in addition to any other areas where his help was needed. “ES was experiencing meteoric growth and we still didn't have our sectors as well structured as we do today. We all did a little bit of everything, but over time, each team member was directed to their individual area of expertise.”
As demand increased and, although he enjoyed having an active role in various realms, Alix was quick to realize that it would be necessary to more accurately pinpoint his focus. He was resistant at first, but understood that having a more defined direction would be best for the whole team. Alix was not alone. With the help of Strategic Leader Felipe Diaz and CEO Henrique Driessen, he had the necessary support and expertise to learn the processes by which the film was created. And, from that understanding, Alix has been able to design a new, more efficient, and better process, from which ES has been able to thrive.
“At the time, the film team was still emerging, but it was clear to me that this particular area had a lot of problems with strategy and processes. And so, my direction had been set for me and I set my sights on where the need lay.”
“My departure from marketing was bittersweet. My career had been focused in branding, but my passion had always been in film. I finally had the opportunity to create an immersive experience using music, audiovisual components, storytelling, and sound. I had found my place and loved my work.”
Nothing is created alone. Everything is co-created from the many experiences of the team.
When developing a project, Alix attempts to understand people. His creative process is very closely linked to his experience with particular people.
“What we do is very much about people. It is necessary that whomever creates art have a litany of life experience in order to fully express that art. And, life experience is accrued through the meeting of many people.”
Alix believes that, in order to succeed, it is necessary to have a macro view of reality. He explains:
“Someone who is completely focused on one specific audience will find it quite difficult to create for another audience. It requires a great openness to understand new realities. It is necessary to have the ability to ‘flip the script’ because the needs and desires of each audience will undoubtedly be different. I've already created film for countries I have yet to visit, and so it was incumbent upon me to be curious, meet the people, and make every effort to ‘get into their heads.”
Alix does not believe in any one formula for creativity:
“I consider myself to be an intuitive and logical person. Background and experience in the market helps us to not go beyond what is required in any given project. But, ultimately, we must be guided by organization and logic. And, most importantly, never suffocate the creative process.”
Connecting PEOPLE with IDEAS
“The secret to our success is not in the project or the money. Simply put, people benefit from what we sell, and so, again, our work is focused on PEOPLE. We make every effort to understand how they think, what they like, and ultimately, what it will take on our part to make them feel something positive.”
Alix believes that, in developing each project, one of the biggest challenges for ES is to establish an air-tight connection to the public.
“Be it a film, concept, or image, the starting point of creation is to understand how people will see themselves in your work. In everything we create, we focus primarily on how it will be received. Our creative process involves studying our target audience: who are they, what do they like, and what makes them tick?
In order to build something personalized and authentic, it is necessary to cultivate a “filter mentality.”
Alix continues, “I once heard from our CEO, Henrique Driessen that ‘If you have a development with 60 apartments, you need to convince 60 different people to buy. You will need to get into the minds of 60 people.’ This layered filter will bring the product closer to the viewing public.”
Building Experiences and transporting emotion!
ES tells stories, while incorporating many sensory elements. Alix believes that, not only music, but all musical effects, sounds and noises contribute to the construction of the stories being told.
“Music alone tells a story. A particular chord progression can trigger feelings of sadness, happiness, anger, etc. The challenge we face at ES is figuring out how to connect music with sound effects to tell a story to which people will strongly identify.”
Alix says that the 3D resources and the archviz provide an incredible representation of reality. Modern resources help to make a project appear real. It is important to achieve that “natural feeling” for your audience.
“Digital, in and of itself, creates a subtle feeling of ‘non-reality' in any audience. And so, our job is to design an experience as close to real as digitally possible. Sound effects, for example, help immensely in the process of immersing a viewer. Imagine a simple visual scene of a waterfall.
Now try to also hear the sounds you associate with a waterfall. The sound effect alone greatly strengthens our connection to the reality we see.
One of, if not the, main objectives in the audiovisual universe is keeping your audience's attention. Use all possible dynamics, such as contrast, sound, and even pauses, to capture 100% of the viewers attention. In creating the art, make an effort to see the work as your target audience sees it.
In regards to pauses, Alix says that in music and film, the pause has the incredible power to grab faltering attention. When a person is about to give up on continuing to watch or listen, a pause has an extraordinary ability to re-capture that attention.
Alix recalls the autobiographical film by musician/singer Andrea Bocelli (The Music of Silence). In the film, we learn that the singer would sit for hours in silence in an effort to create his melodies. Silence is just a long series of pauses.
“Music is made of sound and pauses. If you remove the pauses, you lose the song completely and the sounds become chaotic. Respecting the pauses in music, movies, and even life is of the utmost importance.”
What makes someone feel like they’ve “entered a movie?” Alix says that can only be accomplished when the film looks and feels as natural as life itself.
“In order for someone to see a film and want to own it, they must feel that connection to their own life. It is only real when that person can see their own life within the reality we’ve created. We use all possible resources to create these realities. In short, we create digital film with real people's real lives.”
*All Rights Reserved to Elephant Skin Group Corp.