Adam’s Poster Habit
Designer Adam Rabalais’ minimalistic movie posters get noticed
By Christie MathernePosted Oct 12, 2011
Adam Rabalais is a graphic designer by trade. But before that, he was a movie buff.
In high school, he and his friends took every chance to turn an assignment into a film project. He amassed a collection of movies and aspired to work in the film industry, but he went the graphic design route for practicality.
There are plenty of places for a graphic designer in the movie industry, too.
In August, Rabalais began designing alternate posters for his favorite films, just for fun. As it turns out, he had a knack for it. People began to ask him where they could find them, so he started an Etsy.com store, and added to his annual freelance design income.
Imagine his surprise when SlashFilm.com, one of the most expansive film websites around today, plugged his work on September 20. TeeFury.com produced his “Jason’s Arsenal” design, featuring every weapon the Friday the 13th villain used in the series, into a t-shirt. And currently, he’s in talks with a filmmaker to design posters for a future film.
His hobby has turned into something quite lucrative, to say the least.
Technically, his alternate movie posters are classified as fan art; so technically, they don’t have to be licensed by whoever owns the rights to the films. Even so, the lines can get a little blurry.
“People have been told in the past to take certain things down for sale, but as far as the internet, no one has ever been asked to remove stuff from the internet – it’s all fan art, no one’s ever said anything to me. The reason I put these things online wasn’t to sell [them], it was because people were asking me about them.”
Rabalais never anticipated making any money from his designs – in fact, they’re intended to showcase what he can do. He wants to market himself to filmmakers who might want to hire a graphic designer. The posters have become something of a sellable portfolio.
“I realized I didn’t really have a lot of stuff in my portfolio that I was proud of, and it was like, ‘Yeah, that’s because all I’ve made are a bunch of ads.’ So making movie posters, which I adore, that’d probably be good practice. It was mainly to do something I enjoyed, to get practice, and get jobs that are on the side that have to do with this kind of stuff – which I have done.”
Filmmaker Sean Hackett made a movie called Homecoming, which has been doing well in film festivals. He’s making another movie, and has hired Rabalais to do the artwork.
The process gets kind of complicated. For example, the “Jason’s Arsenal” design required Rabalais to re-watch every Friday the 13th movie and document the weapons in detail.
“That one took a long time,” said Rabalais. “I had to go through every Jason movie and write down, and capture, the screenshot of every single weapon, and re-draw them all. And then, I had to figure out how to fit those together to make Jason’s mask, which I didn’t even know if I could pull off.”
Sitting through every Jason movie might sound like a task to most people, but Rabalais has a thing for horror movies. He bought several t-shirts, and he plans on getting the actor who played Jason to sign one of them.
“I got an extra large for him,” said Rabalais.
The feature on TeeFury.com spiked that poster’s sales, and prompted the feature on SlashFilm.com. But he does have a favorite – the poster he created for Ingmar Bergman’s 1957 film, The Seventh Seal, for which he translated text into grammatically-correct Swedish.
His favorites and more are available for perusal at www.AdamRabalais.com.