Akram Janzi is the CEO of Bsmart, a production company based in Stockholm consisting of 30 plus artists working in CGI, film and photography. Bsmart is part of the PAKT ecosystem of companies.
Bsmart has made its name by creating trailers for some of the largest brands within the gaming industry. Most recently they’ve worked closely with the Minecraft team bringing high end trailers and other assets to market.
So, is it easy to communicate the story of a game via the medium of a cinematic trailer?
”Not always,” says Akram. ”There are a few pointers when taking on large projects for major brands. Probably our best example is working with Mojang, the studio behind Minecraft, Minecraft Dungeons and Minecraft Legends.”
1. ”First of all, you need to be a gamer. Our love for gaming is key when taking on a project. You need to play games a lot. Many members of our team had tens or even hundreds of hours invested into Minecraft. And that knowledge helps us add to the storytelling, being the target group as well and being able to dig deep into what the players out there are looking for. Their experience is our experience. So we do it for the love of the game always.”
2. Do you need to be a story telling geek? ”Very much so!” says Akram. ”There’s a lot to tell in a short amount of time. Finding the right feeling and to be able to convey that is definitely the hardest part. We all have our favorite movies, battle scenes or even other trailers that we come back to. You need to come up with a lot, borrow a lot and gather all the input from different stakeholders but still be able to stick to communicating the story. There is a thin line between adding too many ideas or adding too few. A trailer can have you on the edge of your seat and getting goosebumps in the 90 seconds you usually have. OR it can bore you to tears in no time and have you moving onto something else. So you need to grab the audience’s attention and keep stoking the fire.
– When you look through the animatic and you get goosebumps then you’re ready to move on with VFX and rendering. If you rush it, you might blow it. – Robert Fernstedt / Creative Lead Bsmart
What else is crucial?
3. ”Work with the best,” states Akram definitively, ”A trailer is a very small window for showcasing the game. There’s no room for shortcuts and no time for ’good-enough’ solutions. That will only come back and bite you in the long run. We always want to create something that we are fully proud of and we want our partners to feel the same. If you take something on, give it all you´ve got! It will of course cost you the extra hours, late evenings and some occasional sleepless night. But in the end it will all be worth it. Working with the best talent is key. Whether it comes to using the best animator or 3d-artist to working with the best sound studio or even using a 40 piece orchestra.”
4. ”Last but not least, is of course the client. It´s all about what the client needs. It´s always important to stick to your vision of the trailer, but at the end of the day it´s all about the game. The players love the game and the trailer needs to be there to remind them of that. So give it all you´ve got and have fun doing it!
Written by Akram Janzi is the CEO of Bsmart, a production company based in Stockholm consisting of 30 plus artists working in CGI, film and photography, and part of the PAKT ecosystem of companies.
Links to some of the work: