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The Work That Made Me: Peter Frankfurt

The co-founder and ECD at Imaginary Forces opens up on the work that has got him to where he is today

The Work That Made Me: Peter Frankfurt

Peter is executive creative director and co-founder of Imaginary Forces. A creative storyteller with a passion for visual language, he helps make some really cool shit. Since the company’s inception, Peter has taken great pride in nurturing the creative talent and culture within IF.

Here, Peter looks back at his favourite creative work, his proudest moments and the ones that he'd rather forget.



The ad / music video from my childhood that stays with me…

 
The title sequence that really stayed with me is ‘Help’, The Beatles' 1965 film. The title sequence was refracted from all the facets of the giant jewel on Ringo’s hand. I really loved the colours and effects and, of course, The Beatles.



The ad / music video / game / web platform that made me want to get into the industry…

 
It’s complicated for me as I'm a second generation art director and main title person. When I was an infant, my father designed the title sequence to ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, so I grew up on that movie and that title sequence. It was always something I admired and a very high bar to set. Of course, I never wanted to do what my father did, I always wanted to do what my father didn’t do. But it turns out I didn’t join the foreign service or the Peace Corps! 


And another...when I was very little, I remember being so excited because 'The Batman' TV show was going to come on (the one starring Adam West). I was maybe six and I remember gathering around the TV with my whole family. The show came on and the title sequence of that show - the beginning of the title sequence where it’s animated and with Batman and Robin are running straight at camera, with the incredible theme song - that song sent chills through my body! The use of typography with the 'Wham' and 'Bam' and comic book animation, the still frames…I thought it was the best thing I'd ever seen by far, and that has always stuck with me.

 


The creative work (film / album / game / ad / album / book / poem etc) that I keep revisiting…

 
The music that hits you when you're in your teens and early 20s is always the main line. I’m a big Rolling Stones fan, so when I need some creative inspiration, I’ll throw on ‘Exile on Main St.’ or the second side of ‘Sticky Fingers’.



My first professional project…


I started working at R/Greenberg Associates when I was still in college, working with Richard Greenberg. He had been contracted to do an industrial film about envelopes for Champion Paper, which I assisted him on. He got married during the course of making that film, and when he went off on his honeymoon, I carried on working on it. I ended up working with Jonathan Elias, who went on to have a very illustrious career as a composer and record producer. The two of us went on to finish the film together. It was really fun, we went out to factories and made recordings of the presses. It was submitted and won some industrial film award. At that point I realised this is something I could do, something I should consider as a direction for me.
 


The piece of work (ad / music video / platform…) that made me so angry that I vowed to never make anything like *that*…


The thing that always makes me sad is when something good happens, and it gets rapidly adopted by everyone and all of the goodness gets rung out of it. It happens everyday and it’s a bit soul sucking.
 


The piece of work (ad / music video / platform…) that still makes me jealous…

 
I was a little bit hurt when David Fincher didn’t come to us to do the titles of ‘The Girl with Dragon Tattoo’ which was spectacular! He did it with Blur studio, all CG and it was an absolute tour de force - absolutely incredible. It made me jealous but I admired it a lot!




The creative project that changed my career…


I’ve been lucky enough that there’s been many. Co-producing the movie ‘Juice’ put me on a certain pathway, which allowed me to go on and produce the Blade movies. It was the first movie I'd produced and was an incredible learning experience that was almost like running away and joining the circus. I did it with my best friend and his partner which was great!

The title sequence to 'Se7en', which went on to launch Imaginary Forces and brought main titles back into the cultural foreground. Again, a fabulous experience working with Kyle Cooper, David Fincher and Angus Wall.




The work that I’m proudest of…

 
Imaginary Forces. The entity, the company, the culture, the consistency of excellence, the longevity and the people I’ve been able to work with and attract. It’s a family, and what a gift! It’s something I’m enormously proud of, to be part of offering.



I was involved in this and it makes me cringe…


A long time ago, I did the trailer to the hip hop cowboy movie ‘Posse’. It all turned out well, but I behaved terribly during that whole process. It makes me cringe whenever I think about how panicked and unprofessional I was. I learnt from it, and I vowed to never do it again!



The recent project I was involved in that excited me the most…

 
I’m really excited about the work we’ve been doing with the Gates Foundation including projects on gender equality and malaria prevention. It’s so rare that you get to bring your skills to something that is doing material good. The work looks great and it’s having a positive impact.

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