Thursday, November 6, 2008

A New Look For Roundtable Pictures

Click play to see our new logo in motion

By Lars Trodson

Movie studio logos have always moved, to some degree. MGM’s lion sat placidly inside his elaborate, Victorian crest, and then roared to announce the majesty of the picture we were about to see.

The Columbia Pictures lady (now a likeness of Annette Bening, from what I understand) carried a torch that crudely glowed in the early days. Now I guess her knee is a little more suggestively bent than it was back in the 1930s.

20th Century Fox had its moving searchlights, and the clouds behind the Paramount Pictures mountain moved gently in the western wind. Walt Disney had his magical castle.

Given that, it is not surprising that movie studio logos morphed into small pieces of animation. Mandalay’s jumping tiger. The winged horse that opened movies from the old TriStar Studios, and the much more elaborate mini-movie that became the Dreamworks SKG logo: the boy perched on a crescent moon who drops his fishing line into the water. That one really didn’t work because it tried too hard to be whimsical.

The other day I saw a film from Magnolia Pictures, and the logo looked like a watercolor of the flower. It seemed more appropriate for a self-published book of poems than a logo for a movie studio. But anyway.

These latter examples don’t seem to have the heft or the permanence of the logos of the old studios. I never could figure out just what that structure in the 20th Century Fox logo actually was, but I know it when I see it, and the graphic design gave the viewer the sense that there was some real craftsmanship in what we were about to see. MGM is of course a brand name synonomous with quality

The logos from the old studios transcend fads and seem to be impervious to changing tastes.

So that spirit was guiding us as we decided to look for a logo for Roundtable Pictures. I was doodling ideas here and there, wholly unsatisfied with anything that I came up with, when one day at work I scribbled a little doohickey on a piece of graph paper. It looked like a window fan, almost, but also, if you used your imagination, it resembled an abstract form of a table - the old roundtable where the knights sat at - but also with a little vigor to it.

I scanned in the drawing and sent it over to Mike Gillis, who then handed it off to our friend, the graphic artist Mark Dearborn, who, out of that scribble came back with what Mike and I both consider to be a lovely, wonderful logo for our little film company. When I first saw it I was completely taken aback, because I wanted something a little retro, something that would be in solidarity with the old line studios. But then I realized this sleek, modern look was exactly where we wanted to be. And should be. So thank you to Mark Dearborn for his work. You should hire him -- he can be reached at

The first film that was adorned by the logo was “Elevation”, which was shown at the New Hampshire Film Festival to great acclaim, and has now been shipped off to festivals all over the country. We will of course let you know if anything breaks on that front.

We have begun pre-production on our next short, called “Your Bones By My Side”, which is a nifty little job we hope to finish in a few months. So you’ll see it there, too.

So, excuse us for showing off our shiny new logo. We’re proud of it, and we hope it and the movies attached to it will be some things you will remember.