Out this week: Scanners Criterion and Humble Bundle with Darkness II

A big week for my stuff!  In addition to my feature film projects, I have some animation releases to talk about.

The Scanners Criterion Blu-ray came out yesterday, with animation I did for the bonus feature “The Ephemerol Diaries.”


Visit Criterion.com

Also, there’s a sale over at Humble Bundle this week. You can get a bundle of 2K video games, including The Darkness II. Attentive players may find my production of “H.P. Lovecraft’s The Other Gods” playing on a television screen inside the game.

The Darkness II game trailer:

Humble Bundle has weekly deals on video games, ebooks, and comics. This week’s bundle also includes the Bioshock games and others from 2K Games.

Visit humblebundle.com




VHS Flashback! The Mike Boas Animation Reel for 2014

Here’s my latest reel of animation work, including clips from the documentary That Guy Dick Miller and the opening titles from TV show The Right Stuff.  Also some character designs and magic burros from the feature 3.14… and much much more!

Hero of the Underworld

Mike stays as far from the camera as possible. Photo by Dave Barker

Mike stays as far from the camera as possible. Photo by Dave Barker

Earlier this spring, I took part in shooting the feature Hero of the Underworld. The story is deals with addiction and abuse, inspired by writer Tom Malloy’s experiences working in a hotel in New York. I acted as assistant director, and I’m also one of the producers.

It was a privilege to work with so many professional actors like Quinton Aaron, Catherine Mary Stewart, David Lawrence, Gabriel Jarret, and of course Tom Malloy. We’ve got some great performances, and director John Vincent, Tom, and the rest of the creative team are eager to finish the film and get it out to festivals.

For more about the project, visit:

Rick Staropoli on the set. Photo by Shannon Hookway.

The hotel set. Photo by Shannon Hookway.

Mike learns that his car is snowed in.

After a freak storm, Mike learns that his car is snowed in.

6am. Time to dig out and go home!

6 AM. Time to dig out and go home!

The Criterion Treatment


Back in the fall of 2012, I did some animation for a bonus feature that Elijah Drenner produced for Subkultur Entertainment’s Blu-ray release of Scanners in Germany. David Cronenberg’s films are some of my favorites, so it was a thrill to work on.

Today I’m proud to announce that the Criterion Collection is picking up “The Ephemerol Diaries” for inclusion on their U.S. Scanners release. So, there you have it, my animation will be on a Criterion disc. Yowza!

Back when we were conceiving  the piece, Elijah and I wanted to emulate the experience of a VHS industrial video. I took the Consec logo from the film and tried to imagine it as part of a 1980s era logo sequence.  I added some bad tracking and warbly synth music, and it came out pretty well.  At one point, we were going to start with a VCR blue screen that read PLAY in the upper corner, but we later decided that would be too much.

My animated opening:

In Scanners, Consec is the amoral drug company that the hero must eventually do battle with. We came up with the phrase “securing a better future today” as an example of corporate-speak that sounds vaguely ominous.

To create the animation, I first had to replicate the logo. So I started with some screen grabs.

Scanners ConSec

Scanners ConSec2

I brought those pics into Illustrator and created a vector image to match.  It took a combination of tracing, drawing, and an existing font (Exotic Bold, coincidentally a font I had used before for my Subterranea website).




I exported the vector art in grayscale, then applied color as an overlay in After Effects. That’s a method I’ve used out in several projects, especially when I’m unsure of what color I want until I start animating.

For the animation of the logo, I constructed a landscape of horizontal lines that recede into the distance. The final step was adding “bad tracking” artifacts, which came from an effects package I bought online.

Here’s some 1980s VHS logos I took inspiration from:

Next came the titles themselves, which I based on the original Scanners trailer. A red heart beep line, and the right font treatment were the challenge here.  I went through dozens of “computer” fonts before finding one we liked. We chose to go with the red heart blip from the American trailer, but a green treatment for the font, more in keeping with some other Scanners artwork.

The Scanners trailer:

I won’t include all the title animation on this post, but here are some screen grabs from what I did.

I animated the blips using Flash, then made it glow in After Effects.


The titles were designed in Photoshop, then the glows and zooms were done in After Effects.


scanners titles_00002

We were pretty happy with the resulting piece, which of course has a great interview with Scanners actor Stephen Lack.  It’s a privilege to see that it has Criterion’s seal of approval as well.

For more about the Criterion Collection release of Scanners, visit www.criterion.com/films/28043-scanners

For more about DVD and Blu-ray features from END Films, visit www.endfilms.com


Comfort Zone now on DVD


Comfort Zone, a documentary about what the average person can do in response to climate change, is now available to purchase on DVD.  The film was produced by three Rochester filmmakers, Dave Danesh, Sean P. Donnelly, and Kate Kressmann-Kehoe, and I contributed some animation of personified gases for the feature.  (Some preliminary designs you can see below.)

The idea was to come up with a look for various gases you’d find in the atmosphere based on their dominant traits.  The characters appear in the movie as “usual suspects,” sometimes in a police line-up.  It was a fun challenge, and a documentary I’m proud to have contributed to.

Buy Comfort Zone today at comfortzoneproject.com
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