The final illustration used to build the animation.

Fuel TV
“The Fuel Experiment”


This commercial teased Fuel TV's initiative The Fuel Experiment, a two-year competition culminating in a $1 million budget given to a filmmaker to produce an action sports feature. The invitation was open to anybody; those with action sports experience and those trained in narrative cinema. The winning movie could have been old school surf porn, a romantic comedy, a mockumentary or an action thriller.

Fuel TV’s Creative Director at the time, Jake Munsey, encouraged us to create a non-narrative image-based design solution that creates curiosity by mentioning the sizable price money and drives viewers to the web site to find out more.

I decided to show ordinary objects and images related to both action sports and film craft and created a collage floating through the frame, animated to the psychedelic music of All Night Radio. The simple tracking movement seemed to be a very musical and abstract way of animation that avoids any association with modes of narrative cinema. (I had always been a big fan of Johnny Hardstaff’s “History of Gaming” piece for Sony, and had employed the same technique in the package for MTV Sunday Stew’s first season). Kept mostly in simple black and white line art, it is a mysterious piece that hopefully surprises viewers. The illustrations, drawn in a style reminiscent of etching, were also used for the web site and for print ads.

In 2003, I creative-directed Fuel TV’s on-air identity at Brand New School, a project that garnered a lot of media interest from Spain to Australia, and a healthy flow of awards, including recognitions by the AIGA, the ACD and the BDA.

Fuel TV “The Fuel Experiment” (2004/:30)


Client: Fuel TV, Los Angeles

Design & Production: Brand New School, Los Angeles
Creative Director & Illustrator: Jens Gehlhaar
Animators: Han Lee, Mark Kim, Andy Kim
Producer: Jared Libitsky

Music: All Night Radio “All Night Radio”

AIGA, California Design Biennial, Inclusion, 2004