Interview: Film Poster Art with Tyler Stout
GoMediaZine: So who are you and how would people know you?
Tyler Stout: My name is Tyler Stout. And I would guess people know me by seeing my stuff somewhere, or personally meeting me at some point in my life.
GoMediaZine: Those posters you’ve done for the Alamo Drafthouse are everywhere. Can you explain your relationship with Alamo and how you got started working for them? Do you get paid to do these insane posters?
Tyler Stout: I started working with them due to my friend Rob Jones, who is very involved with the Alamo as well as being a big-time poster artist himself. He was putting together a poster series for them and asked me to participate, and it started from there.
GoMediaZine: How does a typical project with the Alamo Theatre work? Do you choose a film and create a poster based on your own concept? Or does the Alamo give any direction?
Tyler Stout: They usually come to me with a film they’d like a poster for, and I can either say yes or pass. If I decide it’s a movie I can do a poster for, then I just do whatever I think would look cool, they give me complete freedom to do whatever.
GoMediaZine: Has the Alamo changed your life? Do you do any other film poster work as a result?
Tyler Stout: It has indeed changed my life, or certainly my career. I am able to do posters much more full time, though I still do quite a bit of freelance illustration/design stuff. It has brought me a lot of exposure and people interested in buying stuff from me. Plus I did the theatrical poster for Hell Ride, so that was nice. I’ve had a few other film offers, but it’s really hard to do a poster for a film you haven’t seen yet. It’s hard for me, not everyone I suppose.
GoMediaZine: I noticed you’re also are part of All City Media‘s new gallery opening this year. I have a poster in the show as well as Oliver Barrett and Chris Comella from Go Media. Can you tell us about the poster you did for it and anything you know about the event?
Tyler Stout: Thank you for reminding me, ha ha. I do indeed have a poster in that show. I should get started on it, ha ha. Let’s see…the movie I’m doing it for…I can tell you it’s a movie I really enjoyed and came out much more recently, so not 1980’s like most of my film choices.
GoMediaZine: When doing a film poster based on an existing film, do you worry about copyright or getting in some sort of trouble? How do you handle this? Especially when you’re selling prints with the film’s titles and actors likenesses on it.
Tyler Stout: I actually mostly do all those through the Alamo, so they take care of all that, they have a longstanding relationship with a lot of people in Hollywood and get the rights / permission to make these promotional things, so that keeps me out of trouble. Same with the posters I do for bands, it’s all with the bands permission, otherwise I could get in trouble. The only stuff I put out on my own is mostly fantasy based sorta stuff, alien nature scenes or whatever.
GoMediaZine: As you may know, I’ve been really trying to get into film poster design. I’ve done some indie work and am hustling to get exposure, but have you got any advice for someone trying to break in? We’ve done work for a local theatre, but they don’t seem as open to custom illustrated posters like the Alamo is. Their reply is that they get official posters from the distributor and they are required to use those. Also, they have no budget for “extra” stuff like illustration, posters, or other creative/art projects. Your thoughts?
Tyler Stout: That is a tricky one. The Alamo has obviously made a name for themselves in that they are a unique movie experience, more Hollywood type movies premier there than anywhere else and people in general love them and allow them a lot of freedom. Other theaters would take a more business minded approach I would guess, you’d need to find a more independently owned one, a smaller one I suppose. I haven’t tried it so I am not 100% sure. The stuff I do wouldn’t work for pretty much any other theater. Possibly film festivals, those would be pretty film based while not necessarily need to be ok’d by theater owners etc. Also, creating posters that feel ‘film oriented’ but aren’t actually for a specific film is an option, I obviously take a lot from exploitation posters, so if I was starting out I could do a promotional piece that felt like those posters while not actually being for any film. I think if people create good work they are bound to get noticed. Or they could just luck into it like me.
GoMediaZine: Besides these film posters, what other work are you proud of? Is there anything you’re doing you’d like to let the world know?
Tyler Stout: hmm…I think I do some pretty ok illustration stuff, I’ve done a few snowboards here and there that I’m proud of, some shirt designs. I just put together a nice snowboard wax catalog that I’m currently stoked on, but that’s probably just me, ha ha.
GoMediaZine: I aspire to break into doing film work, like Neil Kellerhouse for example. Is there a niche or industry you want to break into or any people you really look up to?
Tyler Stout: I really look up to people that can paint, like Drew Struzan or Reynold Brown, but I have tried painting and I’m rubbish. I might take some more painting classes in the future, see if I can get better at it.
GoMediaZine: Last question… Where can I readers soak up more knowledge about doing art/design for the movies? Do you have any links of other designers you like?
Tyler Stout: Well…I get all my film info from slashfilm.com, aintitcool.com, and chud.com – so that’s where I’d suggest starting, learn about all things movies. As for recommendations, I just picked up Portable Grindhouse: The Lost Art of the VHS Box,and I recommend that, tons of awesome stuff. The author of that also wrote a book collecting exploitation style posters, called Trash: The Graphic Genius of Xploitation Movie Posters,and its great as well. Plus just watch a ton of movies.
Check out more of Tyler’s work on his website http://www.tstout.com/