Case Study 3: Rafael Macho

We can absolutely guarantee that you’ve seen the work of director/designer Rafael Macho’s at least once in your life. Probably dozens of times. From his instantly recognizable, beautiful and effective series of spots for Janus to movie openers, Rafael has done it all. We were thrilled when he sent us over a letter about his using Jewelboxing for his newest reels, and even more so when we got to throw a few questions his way.

1) To get everyone up to speed on who you are and what you do: who are you and what do you do?

I am a storyteller using directing, installation, motion graphics, writing, illustration, typography, etc. Today I am pushing the directing side, shooting short films, installations and commercials. I really like to work with a crew. May I add that I also like to create soundtracks? Or is this confusing?

2) What have been some of your favorite projects to work on?

Last year I was asked by Sedgwick Rd./McCann-Erickson in Seattle to create an installation for their annual creative meeting. I worked with a company named Fad and created an installation made of 6 chandeliers composed of 6 TV tubes with 3 video feeds hanging over the diner table. For 30 minutes, each chandelier would turn on and off and interact and tease the people, slicing their tender steak with questions such as, “How is the food tonight? Not too bad, huh?”.

The deconstructed story was this: what would happened to “the First Man” if he would enter our society of consumerism? The First Man (which actually was a very hairy gorilla) got teased by some beauty and ends up signing a contract with Microsoft, Nike, and some other sponsors. Some people were really surprised, either loving it or upset! I laughed a lot that night. I think people will remember that bizarre night.

 

3) What are your influences and/or other designers you admire?

 

I have this awful exercise to do: try to describe one job that the Attikhas done and name the client… On a more respectful note I must say that I admire the company Motion Theory. They keep pushing the envelope over and over. I love what David Lynch or the Quay brothers did in their short films. Why is no one exploring their dark side?

4) Motion graphics, it seems, is like a huge, nearly overwhelming blender of disciplines. It’s not enough to just be a great designer anymore, but now you’ve got to make all of these designs move and fly around. Yet it also seems like you’ve got a lot more control than ever before. Any thoughts on that? Or, perhaps better phrased, how do you approach these projects?

I always start any new job with my Moleskine sketchbook. I love paper. I refuse to jump on the computer. I like to do some research and learn how other people have approached a similar project before.

I think the future of motion graphics is looking great: we can now do almost whatever we want to do. But I wish people will try to cultivate difference and avoid trends and develop personality. The idea that Mc Donald’s or Burger King are the only places to go to eat freaks me out.

5) You’ve worked with a lot of the big names in motion graphics, such as Imaginary Forces. Any top favorite projects of theirs?

A lot of companies change when they pass from a small-medium size to a giant one. As the money goes up, the level of creativity doesn’t necessary follow the same path.

I am very thankful from what I’ve learned from these companies. I was there at the best time for Imaginary Forces and Kyle Cooper was a great mentor. But as I am trying to develop a more personal voice. It is sometimes difficult to grow in such companies. Starting new companies are exciting, more risqué.

6) What are you sending out right now that you’re using Jewelboxing for?

I compiled my latest work and some classics like those Janus commercials that I did for Imaginary Forces. I also decided to show some personal works that are not only about motion graphics, but photography and film. I don’t believe anymore in montage, because they’re clueless and just eye-candy, and you don’t really know who did what. If I am choosing to hire a designer, I will look for ideas and concepts first.

7) Why Jewelboxing?

The first time I had one of those cases, it caught my attention. It looks different! I started to see more and more Jewelboxing, and every time I saw one of those, I want to check the content of the DVD. If a designer can not design a proper package for his reel, then I’ll pass.

8) Finally, what’s it like to be a Macho, possibly one of the coolest last names we’ve ever heard?

Ah-ah-ah!! I will tell a little story: when I was 14 years old, there was a girl who I liked very much. But she thought that people called me ‘Macho’ because I was a real Don Juan. When I had the chance to tell her that it was only my real last name, she suddenly understood why people called me ‘Macho’! She became more friendly with me after that.

Today, I still have the same last name. The great news is that people remember that name. The bad news is that I keep trying to grow a mustache and those bling-blings on my hairy chest…so noisy!