Hayden Allred Portfolio Overview

Projection & Art Design

For the Disney Parks Live Entertainment Art Design Internship

To the kind Disney Cast Member, 

 

My name is Hayden Allred, and I'm a storyteller. I'm incredibly grateful for the opportunity I've had to design a large number of theatrical productions, and the stories I've been able to tell through a medium I yearn for.

 

I love to learn, and crave opportunities to stretch my understanding. I pride myself on a unique design approach and an innovative knack to solving problems. I have gathered here a select few projects that I think help define who I am as a designer. Please enjoy!

Singin' In The Rain     Full project found here.

 

Indoor Projected Water:

Our theatre’s stage was too small and intimate to use real water. I suggested projections to replace the traditional water effect.

Once the number was choreographed, I recorded our actor on a 4x4 colored grid for reference. I created hundreds of unique splashes in After Effects and began individually placing each appropriate splash. Small squares, only visible to those looking for them, were placed to assist the actor in his choreography.

 

The result (coupled with a meticulous sound design) had people questioning how we dried the floor so quickly before intermission. Patrons would duck to avoid being splashed by our “water”. We later revealed the magic in a video that has garnered over 45,000 Facebook views explaining the process behind the effect. Now my implementation is rented out by theatres all across the country.

Live Silent Movie:

 

We chose to take the unconventional approach once again and perform the silent movie scenes in person, rather than projecting pre-recorded footage.

I presented the idea of placing placards on both sides of the stage to act as title cards. The entire effect really helped the audience engaged. This was one of my favorite moments of the show!

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Production photos of Don Lockwood (played by Jacob Squire) dancing in the projected rain.

Early working concept animation of water overlaid on our stage.

The Royal Rascal silent film scene performed live.

Progress shots of the gingerbread house. 2017 & 2018

Final Gingerbread House animation. 2017

Projected Gingerbread Houses

 

I love experimenting with new concepts. I've started a tradition of creating projection-mapped gingerbread houses inspired by Disney Castle Nighttime Spectaculars.

2017:

I took pictures of everyone's candy during the family competition, animated it being built and coming to life. I also rigged the house with LEDs to act as Christmas Lights. After animating in After Effects, the projection was mapped and played back in QLab. My Facebook video even gathered over 10,000 views!

2018:

This year I chose to retell the story of The Grinch with an actual storyline, theme, and the incorporation of fireworks. Everything was animated in After Effects. Nothing was taken straight from the cartoon. Every shot was either composites of multiple scenes, chroma keyed, or redone from scratch to match the house's architecture.

Below are video recordings of each year. I learned a great deal from 2017 to 2018, and I hope you enjoy them!

Final Gingerbread House animation. 2018

The Little Mermaid     Full project found here.

Triton's Contract:

 

I took a picture of the physical contract, created an animation in After Effects, and then worked with the actor playing Jetsam to map the projection to where they’d be holding the contract. This was one of my favorite effects from the show, and not a single audience member mentioned it to me. I take that as a huge compliment. Our job as a designer is to create a world that is believable. I believe the audience didn’t question the moment, or that the effect was, in fact, an effect.

The final working animation used in a performance.

Before & Afters:

My artistic role for The Little Mermaid was Projection Designer and Animator. I worked with a wonderful team of painters and artists. I met with them early on to discuss my concept and the different elements I’d need from them. Some elements came all together, and a lot separately.

Once the items were cleaned, I’d recolor, animate, and composite them together. Then I’d work on designing smooth and creative transitions between scenes. Sometimes that would be going through a window, the use of a bubble curtain, or even diving through the mouth of an anglerfish to Ursula's lair!

 

Though everything came to me as a static image, every backdrop was a video. Still images were animated to life. Every scene used some form of animation. Some were small projects, and others took a hefty amount of time.

Swimming Indoors:

 

Hanging silks were used for Prince Eric's underwater scene. Though a purposefully uneasy sound design helped us feel underwater, I wanted a convincing projection to help sell the moment. I combined multiple blue painted textures to create a layered ocean of water. I layered them at different opacities about 10x taller than our screen’s resolution. I added a tall texture of Trapcode Particular producing rising bubbles and then animated the camera in After Effects in sync with our actor. The effect, while simple, was mesmerizing. A video further exploring the design process can be found in our behind the scenes episode here.

Before

little mermaid backgrounds iphone before

After

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Various scenes from The Little Mermaid from the point of when they arrived at my desk to when they were ready to be placed into the show. Blank screens in the "Before" section represents scenes that didn't come from the art team and I designed myself. Click photos for larger image.

Prince Eric (played by McCade Matheson) swimming to the surface while suspended from silks.

Floor Projections:

 

Like previously in Singin' In The Rain, we decided to implement more floor projections. I wanted to be careful not to overdo it. I would only create floor projections if it added to the story. Electric floor projections were added to scenes involving Ursula and her eels, and magic to Ariel’s transformation scenes. Following the same steps as before, we filmed on a colored grid, and coupled it with a careful sound design.

Ursula (played by Brayton Hunt) performing "Daddy's Little Angel" on a multi-colored grid.

The final animation exported from After Effects.

A small piece of the animation being used in a performance.

Production photos of Disney's Newsies at The Playmill Theatre demonstrating my art style used throughout the show.

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Progression Stage 3: The emotional and powerful musical bridge leads us to the original cellar walls with the original 1899 Newsies engraved into the stone. Click for larger image.

Video demonstration of the powerful transition into Stage 3 of the progression.

Katherine (played by Miriam Merrill) typing on her typewriter while her dialogue appears behind her.

A small section of the backdrop demonstrating her lyrics appearing during her sung verses.

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The original photo purchased of the Brooklyn Bridge. Click for larger image.

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The final composite after the bridge had been artificially extended. Click for larger image.

Newsies     Full project found here.

Art Style:

 

All my designs are story centric. How will my design tell the story we are trying to tell? For Newsies focused on more stagnant backdrops, and left subtle animations to very important moments.

 

I opted for a style that would include compositing dozens of images together to create full environments. Every scene was then covered with a final layer of newsprint to give it a unifying theme.

Once And For All Progression:

 

I didn't want the fact that The Newsboy Strike of 1899 was real to be lost on our audience. There were kids much younger than our actors starving and slaving.

 

I kept in mind something I read in Marty Sklar’s book, One Little Spark!. “You can educate people- but don’t tell them you’re doing it!” I needed to be sure this moment added to the emotional story arc.

 

At the very beginning of the bridge in the song Once and For All, the projection shifts to a photo of the original newsies behind them engraved into the cellar walls. I wanted it to seem like those very kids were there, on stage, singing right alongside them.

 

The emotional impact of this moment was incredible to feel during performances. Even now, while typing this entry, I’m getting emotional. I love the fact that we can use forms of theatre (whether in a traditional space or a theme park) to communicate historical truths in meaningful ways.

Watch What Happens Animation:

 

This was one of the very few animations in the show. I knew I wanted the dialogue she types to appear on the screen, but it still felt empty to me. I had an idea to take various lyrics from the song's different verses and have them appear typed on the screen as she sang them. I chose each line incredibly carefully, and only if it complemented the song's story.

I was especially proud of the show control system design for this number. The system I designed was comprised of four computers all running Figure53's QLab show control software. One computer handled lights, two for video playback, and a fourth ran sound and triggered all remote computers. There were a lot of musical vamps in this song, and all needed to trigger animations on remote computers to be in perfect time with the music.

Brooklyn Bridge Compositing:

 

We opted to introduce the newsies of Brooklyn in silhouette with a backdrop of the Brooklyn Bridge.

 

I started with an image of a few pedestrians on the famous bridge. Then I imported it into Photoshop where I removed the people, replaced the sky, and nearly doubled the width of the image by artificially creating the missing content.

 

Our production of Newsies had a few moments that really took the audience’s breath away. This was one of those moments.

Final Thoughts:

I could go on and on regarding the projects I've been a part of- and if you're ever interested, you can either browse more of my site, or I'd love to tell you about them myself. I've been fortunate enough to design dozens of professional quality productions. I regularly attend meetings with other designers where I'm the only student present. Above all, I'm a storyteller in everything I do.

 

Kristen Anderson-Lopez (Songwriter of Frozen and Animal Kingdom's Finding Nemo - The Musical) told me, "You have a true artist's heart that shines through and that’s the engine that can drive everything as you move forward!"

Now I look to you, in hopes that my storyteller's heart truly does shine through, and that you are able to clearly see it in my work as I aspire towards to my ultimate goal of working for Disney Parks Live Entertainment.

Thank you again for taking the time to learn more about me. I appreciate this more than you'll ever know. Let's create something together.

Hayden Allred

© 2020 by Hayden Allred.