NY editor Nathan Byrne and director Evan Silver retrace teen debauchery in a stylish new 2:30 web film, “Reverse Party,” promoting the U.S. version premiere of the smash-hit U.K. teen drama “Skins” for MTV. A high-definition version of the extended promo can be viewed HERE.
Produced direct-to-client, the promo takes viewers backward through a scandalous high school party with the stars of the American show, subtly hinting at series storylines throughout.
One of the U.K.’s most controversial and highest rated series on record, “Skins” takes an unflinching look at life as a modern teenager: sex, drugs and eating disorders galore. Tapping into the show’s cult-like following, MTV’s campaign—it’s biggest off-channel media spend in network history—employs targeted print, outdoor, broadcast and online promotion; the cut-down versions of “Reverse Party” have already received over one million hits on YouTube and Skins.tv, and have aired on most networks and in cinemas nationwide.
The U.S. version of “Skins” premieres January 17th at 10pm/9c on MTV, with the 2:30 promo posting today on YouTube and Skins.tv.
Director Evan Silver was tasked to deliver both clean versions for air on ABC Family, Disney Channel and the like, and mature audience versions for air after 10pm on MTV and others. With creative license to ‘show all,’ Silver strove to create an authentic, uncensored night in the life of an American youth. Says Silver, “As long as we showed some repercussions from her actions, falling down the stairs or passing out for example, we were allowed to show teen partying as it is. That’s what the show does, so giving an already-critical audience anything less wouldn’t fly for them or MTV.”
To achieve the realistic-but-stylized feel, the primary location was lit with hidden ceiling lights and shot in long, 360- degree moving takes with steadicam. The camera of choice, the much-hyped Arri Alexa, gave Silver the ability to move about the locations freely. Continues the director, “We choreographed story and character elements into all the actions—certain characters partying hard, others holding back, couples interplay etc.—and took special care to make things look believable in reverse. Once we knew how to execute that, for the main party, I blasted music and let the kids do their thing.”
After a 2-day Toronto shoot, the footage was delivered to editor Nathan Byrne of Post Millennium, NY. Says Byrne, “Since the narrative was reversed, I transcoded the footage in reverse motion before I made my first edit. I don’t think I ever saw a single scene in forward motion.” Silver and Byrne stuck post-it notes on the wall, creating strings for each period of the night. Continues Byrne, “Our markers read ‘Really F’d Up,’ ‘F’d Up,’ and ‘About to Get F’d Up,’ then we set about building the piece’s rhythm. We let the kids’ expressions and movement dictate tone more than anything. Too much drug and sex imagery would be gratuitous and ultimately less believable.”
Music also contributed greatly to the piece’s tone and supported its reverse narrative. The U.K. series is known for being musically progressive and with MTV’s resources, music supervisor David Hnatiuk helped fill the spot with lush sound effects and the hedonistic track ‘KIDS’ by up-and-comers Sleigh Bells.
“Reverse Party” opens on the character Michelle lying on a bed of soggy leaves next to a felled trashcan, makeup smeared all over. As a boozy smile creeps across her face, the night begins to replay in reverse motion. We’re taken back through a party scene where teens engage in sex, drugs, binge drinking and a little dancing for good measure. Michelle’s impaired state is quickly explained as we see her crash down a flight of stairs, pop a few pills washed down with multi-colored alcohol, text her boyfriend to meet in the bathroom for a steamy tryst and finally, back at the beginning of the night to deliver a quick lie to her mother: “Going out to study.” The promo ends on Michelle meeting her friends at their car outside her home, followed by the Skins logo and super, “New Series. Monday 1/17, 10/9c.”
ABOUT POST MILLENNIUM
Post Millennium, New York, is a New York City based creative editorial studio specializing in television, web, and branded experiential entertainment. Their editor Nathan Byrne’s other Emmy award-winning editing for MTV can be seen online at http://www.postmillennium.com/.
ABOUT EVAN SILVER
Evan Silver has created some of the most talked about and forward thinking campaigns for MTV while working in their NY on-air promo department. It was at MTV where Silver refined his directing skills for comedy and performance while working alongside the likes of Jack Black, Michael Cera, Sarah Silverman, Aziz Ansari, Janet Jackson, Kristen Bell, Jennifer Lopez, Jeremy Renner, Mariah Carey, Snoop Dogg and Alicia Keys.
Prior to MTV, Silver served as art director and writer at creative boutique agencies Kirshenbaum + Bond, Margeotes Fertitta and Partners, McCann Erikson, EURO RSCG, Wieden + Kennedy and Cliff Freeman.
Silver has received several awardstop honors and nomination, including an Emmy nomination, and Gracie, Gladd, Imagine, Andy, Creativity, Telly, BDA and Promax Awards. In 2010 the United Nations screened Evan’s documentary on today’s newest generation of kids, “GENERATION YOUTH” to a global audience at the Social Good Summit. It featured inspirational kids across the U.S. breaking old stereotypes and taboos to live meaningful lives.
Title: “Reverse Party” 2:30
Airdate: 2:30 version: 1/10/11
Director/Writer: Evan Silver
Producer: Caroline O’Hare
VP Creative Director: Joe Ortiz
MTV Brand Manager: Jill Crawford
Director of Photography: Carlos Veron
Production Company: Spy Films, Toronto
Producers: Shannon Brand, Richard Cureton
Production Manager: Pete Vanstone
Editorial: Post Millennium, NY
Editor: Nathan Byrne
Post Executive Producer: Adam Soutar
Post Producer: Thomas Maiorino
Music Supervisor/Sound Designer: Dave Hnatiuk
Music: Sleigh Bells “Kids”
Color Correct: Micah Kirz, Out of the Blue
Visual Effects: Alien Kung Fu, NY
VFX Compositing: Marco Ruesta
VFX Design: James Gunderson
VFX Roto: Akira Uchinokura
VFX Creative Director: Charlie No
VFX EP: Brandon Litman
Title Design/Producer: Oren Kaunfer, MTV on-air design