Stronger

2021

Made in collaboration with the Obamas, and Netflix, “We The People” is another BUCK-designed episode and serves as the anthem for the Schoolhouse Rock-inspired musical anthology series from Chris Nee and Kenya Barris. In this episode, we bring Oscar-winning director Everett Downing Jr.’s story to life and set the visuals to Janelle Monae’s track “Stronger.”

Mandy, Taylor & Eliza

“Stronger” tells the story of three friends from different socio-economic backgrounds and how
 their lives are impacted by a natural disaster and
its aftermath.

Disaster

The trio witness first-hand the destructive nature of a storm and how the damage and devastation disproportionately affects the most vulnerable neighborhoods.

Inspiration

Each of the three friends experiences a pivotal moment that inspires them to get involved and help their communities, setting them on journeys of personal growth.

Growth

We watch as Mandy, Taylor, and Eliza make decisions that push them closer
to their goal. They start small: Eliza volunteers to help clean up the damage from the storm.Taylor studies law at the university after seeing his town displaced by the storm. Mandy becomes politically active, leading housing demonstrations and helping her local community register to vote.

Time Jump

The middle of the story called for a four-year time jump. We thought it would be great to show this via a single time-lapse shot. Going from a “register to vote” poster to Mandy's own election poster felt like a great way to communicate the passing of time while also progressing the story.

After the time jump, we catch up with Mandy, Taylor and Eliza, who have a newfound confidence in themselves. Four years later, they’re now in positions to help others through their service.

Victory

We watch as the three friends achieve their full potential. Eliza joins the National Guard, Taylor wins a class action lawsuit for the people of his neighborhood, and Mandy wins an election for public office.

Flag

We knew that we wanted to end with the three friends united in a crowd that represented a cross section of America, a reminder that these storylines are only three threads in a fabric of millions.

But then we got to thinking about the American flag — is there a way we could incorporate it without it feeling cliché?

We explored impressionistic images of the flag and how to create a reveal. We liked seeing a crowd of people first and then the patterns of colors would unite in such a way that the image fell into place. The result was expressive and beautiful.

We had our ending. Now we just needed a way to get there.



The Power of Monae

Janelle's voice becomes so powerful and expressive at the end of the track. We wanted to capture that visually, as if her voice was breaking through and affecting the visuals.

We explored this idea in design and let the ending unravel into bold minimalist collages, interwoven with moments of the three characters living their lives after the events of the story end.

The Ending

The ending culminates with our characters joining a crowd that simplifies and unifies into one last image.

Cinematic Paper

Everett Downing Jr. had the main points of the story blocked out and a few visual references for a cut paper look.

We liked the idea of having a tactile, handmade quality, but in our minds the story needed to be told in a cinematic way.

We decided to design in a cut paper aesthetic but retain cinematic composition and lighting.

A Three Dimensional World

We landed on a 2D design that checked all of the boxes, then went to work translating this look into 3D.

Crowds

The story called for a lot of crowd scenes. We treated crowds as shapes and patterns with a sliding scale of detail.

Concept Art

We developed these loose concept art sketches to give us the feeling of environments and moments before designing them in our cutout style.

Check out the other We the People episodes ↓

Bill of Rights

Miracle of Morning

Active Citizenship

Credits

BUCK

Chief Creative Officer

Ryan Honey

Group Creative Director

Joe Mullen

Global Executive Producer

Emily Rickard

Executive Producer

Nick Carmen

Creative Director

Robert Bisi

Associate Creative Director

Kenesha Sneed

Senior Producer

Justin Harris

Art Director

James Noellert

Production Coordinator

Lara Arikan

Global Head of Design

Brian Won

Storyboards

Max Forward

Trystin Pease

William Rosado

Design

Colin Bigelow

Dan Muangprasert

Daniel Amdemichael

Jacob Myrick

James Noellert

Jamiel Law

Joe Dennis

Kenesha Sneed

Rich Kelly

Robert Bisi

Scott Jonsson

Xia Gordon

Global Head of 3D

Doug Wilkinson

Head of 3D / 3D Supervisor

Alex Dingfelder

Senior 3D Lead

Wing Sze Lee

Lighting Lead

Sana Srinivasan

Rigging Supervisor

Ernesto Ruiz Velasco

Technical Director

Jens Lindgren

Modeling

Alfonso Petersen

Arvid Volz

Brian Yu

Elias Glasch

Irmak Semiz

Marina Czarnecki

Sana Srinivasan

Scott Crawford

Soroush Ghaffarian

Tim Krakowiak

Tina Chao

Wing Sze Lee

Rigging

Ernesto Ruiz Velasco

Jing Huang

Lighting

Alfonso Petersen

Beatrice Viguier

Brian Yu

Irmak Semiz

Kien Hoang

Marina Czarnecki

Sana Srinivasan

Soroush Ghaffarian

Tina Chao

Wing Sze Lee

Look Development

Alfonso Petersen

Irmak Semiz

Marina Czarnecki

Sana Srinivasan

Tina Chao

Wing Sze Lee

Compositing

Alfonso Petersen

Beatrice Viguier

Brian Yu

Irmak Semiz

Kien Hoang

Marina Czarnecki

Sana Srinivasan

Soroush Ghaffarian

Tina Chao

Wing Sze Lee

Head of 3D Animation

Alessandro Ceglia

3D Animation Director

Alessandro Ceglia

3D Previs

Adam Floeck

Alessandro Ceglia

Anaël Saint-Jean-Vidal

Christopher Meek

Hillary McCarthy

Matt Williamson

Tyler Mele

3D Animation

Adam Floeck

Alessandro Ceglia

Anaël Saint-Jean-Vidal

Christopher Meek

Hillary McCarthy

Ken Huling

Matt Williamson

Tyler Lancaster

Tyler Mele

Global Head of 2D Animation

Daniel Coutinho

2D Animation Directors

Esteban Esquivo

Junyi Xiao

Stephen Loveluck

2D Previs

Esteban Esquivo

Junyi Xiao

Mercy Lomelin

Moses Journey

Scott Jonsson

Stephen Loveluck

Tinghe Yang

2D Animation

Esteban Esquivo

Jardeson Rocha

Jesper Bolther

Kyle Griggs

Leo Franchi

Mac Wojcik

Miriam Palopoli

Nico Piccirilli

Nicole DiLeo

Cel Animation

Griffin Giersch

Junyi Xiao

Léa Bancelin

Lumi Chang

Matt Deans

Matthias Cuciniello

Ryoko Kondo

Stephen Loveluck

Valérie Galchynska

Global Head of Post Production

Paal Rui

Editor

Cudjo Collins

Lead Compositor

Beacon Street Studios

Titles

Chief Creative Officer

Ryan Honey

Group Creative Director

Joe Mullen

Global Executive Producer

Emily Rickard

Executive Producer

Nick Carmen

Creative Director

Andy Lyon

Senior Producer

Justin Harris

Art Director

Debora Cruchon

Global Head of Design

Brian Won

Design

Colin Graham

Debora Cruchon

Mark Kulakoff

Global Head of 2D Animation

Daniel Coutinho

2D Lead

Nick Petley

2D Animation

Daniel Rodrigues

Delainey Cummins

Lumi Chang

Morgan Allison

Nick Petley