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Movie Clips and 'Oscar' Credits Are Part of Student’s Hollywood Co-op

Thanks to his Hollywood co-op quarter, design student Josh Suhre’s name was listed in the credits of the just-seen Oscar ceremonies. And next, he’ll have an unusual appearance in the new Will Ferrell movie, Blades of Glory.

Date: 3/20/2007
By: M.B. Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Photos By: Submitted by Josh Suhre
UC ingot Many Hollywood hopefuls would die for the chance to appear in a major movie comedy soon to be released coast-to-coast.

Josh Suhre
Josh Suhre in front of the Kodak Theatre just prior to the 2007 Oscar ceremonies there.

And University of Cincinnati graphic design senior Josh Suhre, 22, of Montgomery, did just that: He willingly died (at least on film) for a brief appearance in the Will Ferrell comedy, Blades of Glory, due out at the end of March.

Josh got that opportunity thanks to a chance-of-a-lifetime cooperative-education quarter he just completed working at Prologue Films in California, where he applied his design skills to help create film titles and movie credits, illustrations, graphics and wipes used in specials like the Oscars and in upcoming movies like Blades of Glory and Spiderman 3.

“For instance,” explains Josh, “For the Oscars, I was involved in creating necessary production elements, like animating typography for the tributes, animating visual effects to provide the impression of lighting and a glow or sparkle for graphics… . We had to create all the screens that came up behind the winning actors… . At Prologue, we have very intense projects that usually mean 10 hours days and sometimes, means even staying till 2 or 3 a.m.”

But it’s all worth it. First, Josh’s name did appear in the Oscar credits. And, as mentioned, he gets to die in Blades of Glory.

Though you won’t get to see Josh die as an actor. Rather, when the movie script called for the main characters to be looking at a magazine obituary, viewers will catch a glimpse of Josh’s photo in the obit.

“In creating this graphic for the movie, we used a picture of me as a person who died in a cycling accident. They have a little text about me in the obit, including my parents’ names. It’s even related to my real life since I do BMX cycling,” says Josh of UC’s internationally ranked College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP).

Including Josh in the movie as the crash cyclist victim in an obit was just a way of having fun in the hard-working atmosphere of Prologue Films. “This is a workplace where people work hard, and we play hard too. Including one of our own in the graphics for a movie is just part of both that work and that fun,” states Josh.

He admits to having been a little apprehensive before starting his co-op at Prologue and working alongside owner, designer Kyle Cooper. After all, Josh is the first UC co-op ever hired by the firm, not to mention that his previous co-op quarters consisted of more “standard roles” for a graphic design student: Contributing to corporate branding strategies at Interbrand in Cincinnati and at Fuelhaus in San Diego.

A design role working in the motion industry was something of a challenge for Josh at first. “This area isn’t my specialty, but I have to say that with the design foundation I’ve received at school, I’ve been able to hold my own. DAAP prepared me for this because in the studio classroom, it’s all about applying knowledge quickly, and that’s what I’ve had to do here,” according to Josh.

In any given day, he might work on three very different projects. It might be something for an upcoming movie, something for a special like the Oscars, or even branding-related work for ESPN or more traditional corporate clients. It’s fast-paced work with always looming deadlines.

For instance, on the very first day of this co-op job (early January), Josh sat with and began working with Prologue’s Spiderman 3 team. Prologue had created the opening digital illustrations and credits (as well as closing credits and other work) for the earlier Spiderman movies. The firm wanted to do the same for the third installment. So, Josh was put to work in manipulating and experimenting with the typography of the earlier movies to see what might work for Spiderman 3.

“They trusted me right away,” recalls Josh. “Though no one knew me, I was welcome to jump right into the team. And people even took time to teach me fine points of animation that I didn’t know.”

In doing all of this creative design work for the entertainment industry, Josh has learned other important lessons besides animation techniques. Most importantly, he’s learned that he doesn’t have to settle for being “typecast” as a print designer or a branding specialist.

“The most important thing I’ve learned,” he says, “Is that I don’t have to limit myself to print graphics or even to animation graphics I’ve been working on out here. Thanks to DAAP, I have a good education. Thanks to co-op, I have good professional experience. I’ve learned I can make the transition into any kind of design work thanks to such good foundations. I don’t have to pigeonhole myself.”

And that means he doesn’t have to stick to a “scripted” career path in design. So, Josh feels ready for any role after he graduates in June: Corporate branding, motion design or even starting his own business as an independent designer…or best of all, crossing over into and out of all three roles.

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