Snap Creative’s Bill Howard chats about “Transformers: Age of Extinction”

Bill Howard, CEO of Snap Creative, whose company has been creating “talk of the town” products for over 20 years, discusses how Snap has created innovative packaging concepts for all of the Transformers films, including the $1 billion global smash Transformers: Age of Extinction, which arrives on Blu-ray and DVD September 30, 2014.

Media Mikes: You have been creating collectible Transformers home entertainment packaging since the release of the first DVD. How did you get involved with the Transformers business
Bill Howard: Paramount challenged our team at Snap Creative to create a DVD package for the first Transformers film that could turn into OPTIMUS PRIME, but it had to be the height and width of a standard DVD to fit on a store shelf and it had to be no more than double the depth. Our solution required a design that had hidden parts that could reveal for conversion, and we used bas relief sculpture on the front so that we could have layered parts but stay within the depth. All the sculpt detail and deco was on the front side which let us maximize it. That DVD was a huge hit and we’ve continued designing for the Transformers releases ever since.

MM: How do you keep the designs fresh for each release?
BH: On each subsequent movie we have upped the ante creating 2.0, 3.0 and now 4.0 for the new Transformers: Age of Extinction Blu-ray and DVD slated for release in September 2014. They have all been awesome, but I am confident that this OPTIMUS PRIME is our best one yet. It has new features that make it cooler for sure, and we worked with Hasbro and digital assets directly from the movie that provided great sculptural marrow. I am already thinking about how we take it further for 5.0, and am glad the film is a few years off to give us enough time to really get creative.

MM: What makes your packaging designs so desirable to collectors?
BH: Our Transformers designs historically have been hugely successful because the fans appreciate our level of extreme detail and authenticity. We often design multiple packages that are available at different retailers, and real fans go out of their way to get them all because they each have something unique and collectible about them.

MM: You also did theater promotions for Transformers: Age of Extinction this year to coincide with the theatrical release. Tell us more about those.
BH: Our movie theater popcorn collectible packs are really brilliant— they have one piece of board cut once and glued in one place which provides a package that holds cup, popcorn and candy. It can be carried with one hand and the operations folks at cinemas love it because it goes from flat to built in just a few seconds.

Each year we run about 15 promotions in theater with these packs. We have partnered with many of the top Hollywood studios to do licensed versions for some of the biggest movies including Transformers: Age of Extinction. These packs (some geared towards kids, some toward adults), are usually paired with a small collectible toy which is a fun way for property owners to extend their brands to families in theaters and at home. The Transformers: Age of Extinction pack featured a transforming keychain and collectible cup. Exhibitors love it because they generally see about a 20% lift in sales with these branded collectible packs and we’ve grown the program from around 2 million pieces to 6 million pieces just in the last two years. We are also continuing to grow internationally with programs in Thailand, China, Vietnam, Turkey, Russia, Canada and more.

MM: You seem to have quite the collector following for your products. Many times it seems like your products double in value or more on the after-market. Why?
BH: One word: authentic. We work on every detail to get it right not just for Transformers, but for everything we do. Enthusiasts appreciate that we “get” them because we ourselves are collectors, so we understand just what they are looking for in a product. For powerhouse franchises like Transformers, we make a point of honoring the legacy of the franchise while also moving it forward in new and different ways.

 

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Mark Hamill Joins “New-Gen” Comic Book & Movie Franchise as Creative Consultant

MARK HAMILL JOINS “NEW-GEN” COMIC BOOK & MOVIE FRANCHISE AS CREATIVE CONSULTANT

“NEW-GEN” Names Powerhouse Production Team To Include Mace Neufeld, Kim H. Winther, David Tattersall, Jeffrey A. Okun, John H. Starke, Oliver Scholl and Christopher Young

From New York Comic-Con, “NEW-GEN” Debuts Graphic Novel and Film Sneak Peek, With Book Signings and Panel Featuring Mark Hamill

NEW YORK, NY (Comic-Con) – October 13, 2011 – A.P.N.G. Enterprises, Inc. (Association for the Protection of the New Generation), creators of “NEW-GEN,”® the epic superhero comic book series, today announced Mark Hamill as creative consultant for the franchise, including the upcoming live action feature film production. Originated as a comic book series printed and distributed by Marvel Comics, “NEW-GEN” is a transmedia property with characters and a storyline that reach across platforms, from movies to merchandise, television, mobile, video games and beyond (www.newgenuniverse.com).

Mark Hamill joins J.D. Matonti, Chris Matonti and Julia Coppola, creators of “NEW-GEN”®, as creative consultant, contributing to the multiplatform evolution of the saga of twin brothers with extraordinary abilities seeking to discover their true origins.  During NY Comic-Con this week, A.P.N.G. Enterprises, Inc. will release a special six-issue graphic novel, “NEW-GEN: Volume One,” featuring a “forward” from Hamill who shares his thoughts on this next-generation comic franchise that evolves around the battle over nanotechnology.

“’NEW-GEN’ is a fresh and powerful new story that will surely resonate with audiences across multiple platforms,” says Mark Hamill, legendary actor and voice artist. “I’m honored to join the franchise and upcoming feature film as creative consultant and aim to evolve this compelling universe for fans to enjoy with the A.P.N.G. Enterprises’ team.”

Also joining the “NEW-GEN” team for the upcoming live action feature film are renowned Producer Mace Neufeld (“The Hunt for Red October”), Co-Producer and First Assistant Director Kim H. Winther (“X-Men: First Class”), Director of Photography/Cinematographer David Tattersall (“Star Wars: Episodes I, II, III”), Visual Effects Supervisor Jeffrey A. Okun (“The Day the Earth Stood Still”), Production Manager John H. Starke (“The Punisher”), Production Designer Oliver Scholl (“Jumper”) and Composer Christopher Young (“Spider Man 3”). “NEW-GEN” founder and creator J.D. Matonti will helm the production as the feature’s Director, with the franchise’s Julia Coppola and Chris Matonti rounding off as the film’s Executive Producer and Producer respectively.

“’NEW-GEN’ is making its move into live action feature films with the perfect team, bringing experience from some of the greatest blockbuster films of our time,” said J.D. Matonti, “NEW-GEN” creator and director. “What started as a simple comic book in 2008 has quickly expanded into a full-blown universe that injects a fresh spin into superhero storytelling. We’re thrilled to introduce our characters and world with Mark Hamill and these immensely talented professionals taking the lead.”

Hamill will also support “NEW-GEN” from the convention with two graphic novel signings, on Oct. 14 and 16, and a panel on Oct. 15 alongside franchise creators J.D. & Chris Matonti, comic artist behind the series Abdul H. Rashid, and transmedia expert Jeff Gomez of Starlight Runner Entertainment, who provided support in developing the “NEW-GEN” story world.

Along with the graphic novel which features the first six issues of the comic book, A.P.N.G. Enterprises, Inc. debuts issue number one of a five-issue miniseries, “NEW-GEN: NEW-DAWN,” in addition to a preview of “NEW-GEN: AWAKENING,” an upcoming series for 2012 introducing Carmen, a driving character in the live action feature film.

About “NEW-GEN”
A.P.N.G. Enterprises. Inc. (Association for the Protection of the New Generation) (www.newgenuniverse.com) launched “NEW-GEN” ® as an epic superhero comic book series, printed and distributed by powerhouse Marvel Comics. “NEW-GEN” ® issue #1 debuted at New York Comic-Con 2008 at the Marvel booth, introducing a nanopowered future world. Creators J.D. Matonti, Julia Coppola and Chris Matonti have transformed the “NEW-GEN” ® universe into a global transmedia franchise featuring characters within a storyline made for live action feature films, television series, mobile and video games, toys, merchandising and beyond.