About the Bureau of Magic
The Bureau of Magic designs and builds stories that travel the world, ignite imaginations, and bring people and families together.
Bureau of Magic is the creative force behind the Amazon Studios animated series Lost in Oz. Their storytelling team has been entrusted to tell stories about the Wizard of Oz, the NFL, Coca-Cola, Nike, and Superman. Their projects have been nominated for 15 Emmy® Awards, winning four, including Outstanding Children's Animated Program.
Download a PDF version of the story here.
A Jurassic Amount of Content
Mark Warshaw (Co-founder and President of the Bureau of Magic) has been dreaming of putting his own spin on the legendary story of the sunken city of Atlantis with a Jurassic twist since he was seven years old. And now, he and his team are bringing it to life in the upcoming sci-fi fantasy graphic novel series Five Nations.
I’ve been dreaming about this project for most of my life.
"We're using Bluescape to collaborate between me (based in California), our editor (based in Paris), and the illustrator and colorist (both based out of Naples, Italy)," said Mark.
Mark and his team have accumulated over 25 years' worth of assets spread across multiple computers and hard drives while developing a larger-than-life cast of dinosaurs and the fantastic story world they inhabit. Finding and sharing assets buried across multiple devices can slow down production time; even worse, if a file wasn't labeled correctly 25 years ago, it might as well be extinct.
So, how does Mark's team share thousands of assets (including prior work, inspiration, character designs, and more) amongst themselves while coming to a common vision?
Hatching the Golden Ah-ha Moment
The team typically uses Box to share files with collaborators via email but found it difficult for this particular project to find and share content in creative meetings when providing direction and feedback or referencing prior art. They needed a better and more immediate way to search and review assets in the moment instead of delaying decisions for future emails and meetings.
The Bureau of Magic also uses Popsync by Bluescape, a robust image search engine that can be connected to Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Adobe Experience Manager, and more. This gives the team the power to browse multiple image collections with one search.
Mark and his team kicked off the project by migrating all of the Five Nations content to Box. Then, they connected their Box folders to Popsync to enable them to quickly search for assets, organize them in canvases, and then meet to discuss next steps.
The Bureau of Magic team can instantly recall assets when collaborating in Bluescape to come to that golden “Aha” moment while ideating on the layout, background, and character designs for Five Nations. Because of this, the team can rally around a creative vision in less time with less back and forth.
Bringing the Impossible to Life
The goal of the creative director is to arrive at a shared vision with the artists. Mark’s job is done when he hears the artists say, "I get it.”
Since I started using Bluescape for this project, I've realized how optimal it is for graphic novel creation.
"It's step-by-step," continued Mark. "It starts with the thumbnails, progresses to the penciling, to the coloring, to the finals. We created approval processes and a system for note-sharing within the app. It's been great for meetings. Everyone can speak to a panel as though we were all at the same workstation in person."
After the Bureau of Magic began using Box with Bluescape, they eliminated wasted time digging through hard drives, emails, and messages, aligned more quickly around a shared direction, and increased their productivity to maintain creative momentum.
In addition, the team realized unexpected benefits beyond time savings.
"What the Box integration allows is more spontaneity to occur in the midst of the creation process,” says Mark. “We can instantly see the colors and look and feel of our Atlantis over 20 different reference images. The artists understood the vision immediately. It felt like we were always one step ahead because all the concept art collected through the years was pulled up so easily. We’re communicating and ‘clicking’ way quicker than we would if we were just sending emails back and forth.”
I can’t imagine not using Bluescape and Box together. It just makes total sense.
The Bureau of Magic team can easily pull reference material from Box into Bluescape to address creative issues in real-time and see parts of the big picture that might have otherwise been missed, sparking new ideas to bring the lost world of Atlantis (complete with a Mesozoic cast) to life.