Come Alive: Interview with Motion Graphics Artist Dan Darling

Riding a Boosted board is magical. When you first roll the throttle forward it’s unlike anything you’ve ever felt to have a board come alive underneath your feet. Capturing that feeling in a video is always challenging but we recently set out to do just that.

We teamed up with Dan Darling, a talented motion graphics artist and spent the past 6 weeks working on the film. The result came out amazing with a mixture of realistic looking scenes combined with abstract visual metaphors and unique scenarios. We’re super proud of the final video and wanted to offer a glimpse into the mind of Dan and how this video came about so we sat down and did a quick Q & A with him.

So Dan, what was your process like for coming up with the movements in these videos? They are pretty stunning.

Thanks! Between the two spots, we spent about 6 weeks on R&D creating random shots and iterating camera movements and timing. Basically just trying tons of different combinations of shots and transitions to figure out what worked well. I think there were around 350 dev shots before we nailed down the final shot list. I was finding a lot of inspiration from work I’ve been seeing on Instagram and Vimeo lately. There are a lot of super talented artists out there these days.
Did you run into any challenges? 
I would say the biggest challenge is just dealing with the inevitable creative block that hits halfway through the project. It really helps to have other artists involved. I was working with my good friend Andy Hahn who is an amazing animator and filmmaker. His input really helped push the concept much further than I could have taken it on my own. Kyson Dana, the Art Director at Boosted also had a lot of great input throughout the process. It was rad, usually, clients are skeptical of anything that is too abstract or pushes the boundaries too much but the whole time Kyson was pushing us to make it more weird and different. Really it was just the perfect team for a project like this.
The sound and music for the video are amazing. What was that process like? 
We worked with Matt Wilcock from Zelig, an incredibly talented composer/ sound designer in London. We started off with some loose musical references but really let him run with it. We wanted to capture the playful personality of the boards without being too serious. We kept things pretty loose and developed the sound and visuals simultaneously so we could kind of feed off of each other. In the end, I think it helped make the sound and visuals way more cohesive.
Where do you live now and what are you into aside from creating awesome content?
I live in San Clemente CA and occasionally LA for work. I grew up snowboarding but kinda got sick of the cold so I’ve just been surfing and traveling the last few years. I love spending time outside, in the ocean or with friends and family. It really helps me recharge.

What did you think the first time you got on a Boosted Board? 

I rode Mini first and loved it. It feels more comfortable to me like a regular cruiser board, it’s super fun to rip around on. Stealth on hyper mode honestly scares me a bit, haha. It’s so fast and powerful, it takes a minute to get used to. I feel like I could almost ride that thing on the freeway! It was fun to try and channel the different riding styles into the ‘personality’ and movements of the boards.

Any last thoughts for people who are inspired by these videos and who want to pursue a career like yours? 

There are so many resources online now to learn 3D animation and motion design. Anyone can really get into it these days. I’ve spent hundreds of hours learning and watching tutorials on sites like Greyscale Gorilla, Eyedesyn, Lynda and Digital Tudors. You just have to put in the time to learn and develop a unique style.