News Blog - The Real Art news blog delivers everything you ever wanted to know about our projects and people. Plus up-to-the-minute announcements, accolades and anything fun that’s worth a mention.

News Blog - The Real Art news blog delivers everything you ever wanted to know about our projects and people. Plus up-to-the-minute announcements, accolades and anything fun that’s worth a mention.

Company Color

Having Some Damn Fun

We’re back in the swing of things with our series of Real Art window displays inspired by the 12 Absolutes. First was Dreamer, followed by CuriousFearless, and Futurist. Which now brings us to the fifth, and probably most joyous Absolute: Play.

As the manifesto goes, “Having fun is core to who we are and what we’re about. The player isn’t afraid to be outrageous.” Bearing this in mind, we set out to make the Play window as fun and over-the-top as possible, while incorporating our trademark affinity for found objects.

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The Modern Muses

Women are powerful. Throughout history they have fought hard to overcome challenging battles. With determination, persistence, and don’t forget beauty, they are works of art who have a lot to bring to the table.

Real Art welcomes Lexi White and Julia Kolb, the new chić and innovative externs, as the newest additions to our team. These artistic gals are working out of Real Art’s Dayton headquarters. They are currently participating in the externship program at the School of Advertising Art, soon to be known as The Modern College of Design, so they found it fitting to name this project the Modern Muses. These soon to be grads are honored to be a part of our creative environment and are looking forward to growing while they are here; it’s time to get experimental and resourceful.

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Company Color

Calling All Digerati

Psst… Can you hear me? It’s me… the future. Ready to whisper “what’s next” in your ear…

The fourth window installment of our 12 Absolutes  is the Futurist.

Futurists are the technologically elite. The oracles obsessed with discovering new and better ways to build. These visionaries can change the world. They are highly idealistic with eyes wide open.

We took the eye idea highly conceptual. Four figures stand in line, looking for what’s next. The last figure is enlightened by a beam of future-vision-goodness. The suitcases are packed—ready to step aboard the future train to next-land.

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Real Art Welcomes Randy Forte

Real Art welcomes Randy Forte as the newest addition to our team. He is a Junior Developer working out of Real Art’s Dayton headquarters. Randy brings an ambitious mind to the development team.

Recently graduated from Wright State University with his bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. Randy was most recently a software development intern at PQ Systems. Born in Dayton and raised in Eaton, Randy has spent his entire life Ohio.

Randy is always looking to learn more and have a better grasp on software development. He is motivated by his curiosity and his willingness to try anything at least once. He is an advocate for playing devil’s advocate.

Randy is an Eagle Scout from Troop 78 and supporter of the Boy Scouts of America. He lives by the quote “There is no such thing as a lack of motivation, it’s a lack of discipline.”

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A Look Inside the Boy Band Titles

We asked art director Andy Nick to sit and write about his experience working on the boy band project. Below is his behind-the-scenes story.


It’s 1998. Even for this year’s homecoming king, (who also happens to be the star of the football AND basketball teams), he’s the runner up. Because, in every school across the US, the coolest guy in town is a distant second.

Technically, he’s a distant fifth. Because every teenage girl in America has her top four locked down; the four Heartthrob Boyz.

Every bedroom is wallpapered with their posters and magazine covers. Girl’s bathrooms have their logo carved into each stall. There are love letters in every girl’s notebook and every radio station is on a 20-minute rotation of Heartthrob Boyz singles.

Imagining a world where a boy band rules the airwaves isn’t hard—1998 was my senior year of high school. I couldn’t help but observe the impact that New Kids, Backstreet and N’Sync had on the world around me.

Imagining that world isn’t hard. But, building that world from scratch—that’s a whole different story. Designing the title sequence for “Boy Band” was an incredibly interesting design challenge, and a really cool trip back in time for our whole team.


The Challenge

Real Art had worked with the film’s co-writer and director Joel Levinson a year earlier during pre-production to help craft the look of the Heartthrob Boyz brand. We turned out some beautiful photography and a toolkit of mismatched type and texture.

A year later, Joel reached out to the video team to invite us to their first viewing of the film’s rough cut at a local indie theater, The Neon. We gladly accepted.

The film opens with the Heartthrob Boyz at the height of their popularity and quickly makes a jump to modern day, where the Heartthrob Boyz have spent 16 years in the studio trying to record the follow-up to their incredibly successful debut. Now, they’re middle-aged men who are gradually forced to come to terms with the fact that they’re not “boyz” anymore.

After the first showing, Joel and his team asked for input. It didn’t take long for everyone to agree that the single biggest problem with the film was that the Heartthrob Boyz success wasn’t part of the movie. The foundation wasn’t laid. The viewer never got to experience them at their best, so there was no contrast to seeing them at their worst.

Joel once again hired Real Art. This time, the goal was to paint the picture of the Boyz at the peak of stardom. At the same time, we needed to introduce the audience to the main characters and also credit the actors in the film.


The Concept

We decided to introduce the audience to the Heartthrob Boyz the same way they had met boy bands 20 years ago—not personally, but through pop culture. Not only was our access to the young actors very limited, but we believed that building the same props that might have decorated bedroom walls and lockers would give us the chance to embed credit information within our scenes.

Since this called for original content to be added to the film, we wanted to be very specific about what these scenes would be. We divided our title scenes into 3 categories:

  • “Anchor Moments” – content captured from a singled set that we revisit over and over. It’s our home-base and our consistent location.
  • “One-off Moments” – Various locations used to tell very short stories. Action is minimal, and unique environments were key.
  • “Micro Moments” – Quick 1-shots or simple CG work


All shots were created around props, details and set design—not talent. We pinned each scene up on a wall and our team gave the whole piece a chronology that sort of took us through a full day: a bright sunny morning, at school, Heartthrob Boyz playing a show in town at night.



Joel gave us the green light and we begin sketching out our scenes. At Real Art, we began a prop-collection effort: if you have anything leftover from the 90’s, or if your parents still have your old stuff, bring it in.

Concurrently, we began tasking any designer in the building who had free time to mock-up a magazine featuring the Heartthrob Boyz using the toolkit we had created a year ago. Lastly, our friends Wes and Kathleen over at Physis Films, the production company for the film, helped us cast a small army of Heartthrob fan girlz.

Our video team put our approved boards into action and built an animatic that served as our North Star throughout the capture process.

From sewing together custom pillows, designing magazines and hand-drawing posters to feeding a growing stockpile of props and 90’s memorabilia, Real Art came together to power the shoot.



On a single Sunday, we held a fast-paced and intense video shoot that took us from a girl’s bedroom to a high school hallway to a concert venue all within Real Art’s studio. Our talent was full of energy, the crew was on point and a bunch of Real Art-ers dropped in throughout the day to lend a hand, dress a set or iron out a wrinkle.

After the primary shoot, our team captured a few additional scenes at several different locations around Dayton. Meanwhile back in the shop, we began the editing process.

Over the next few months, Real Art delivered opening titles, interstitial graphics and helped cut together the music video that appears throughout the film. Additionally, we helped develop some of the VFX/compositing shots including the news broadcast footage and the YouTube knockoff “Watch Yo’Self”.


Personally, I was glad to turn a cold shoulder to the Boy Band scene back in the 90’s, not gonna lie. But here in present day, it was a blast to hop back to my high school years and try to recreate that feeling.

I want to give a shout out to Joel for letting us contribute, trusting us with his vision, and most importantly for making the early choice to produce this film here in Ohio. Keeping things here in the midwest, bringing the talent back to our home base, and leveraging the incredibly hard-working, resourceful people here in Dayton was a key decision that helped make this project into what it is. We’re proud to be a part of that.



Click here to see the final piece.

[ Ed note: “Boy Band” premieres this weekend, April 14th and 15th at the 2018 Cleveland International Film Festival. ]


Special thanks:

Trish Martinez – our wardrobe, hair and makeup genius who added so much to the 90’s vibe of the final piece

Wes and Kathleen Hartshorn @ Physis Films – for all your help with set building and casting the perfect Heartthrob Girlz

Joel & Stephen Levinson – for your support and collaboration throughout the process

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