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With wink and nod, logo takes business national

Ridgeland — Sights & Sounds Production Services was steadily growing under entrepreneur Rick Moore’s guiding hand.
But when he renamed the company Eyevox, and gave life to its logo through the animation of two derby-sporting gents, one a winking eyeball and the other a Cheshire cat-like smiling mouth, business skyrocketed.

“It’s been fantastic,” said Moore, founder and president of the Ridgeland-based company. “Eyevox is short, sweet and to the point, and the logo gives us a national presence. We hear so often, ‘Where do we know you guys from?’ It really put us on the big boy playing field.”

The marketing identity fits the state’s largest film and production services company, named one of Mississippi’s fastest growing businesses in 2003. In its bag of tricks: attention-grabbing commercials and promotional videos, marketing videos, product demos and instructional videos, cost-effective human resources and training solutions, shareholder reports, corporate milestones and special events and internal marketing solutions. Approximately two-thirds of the company’s business is derived from package production, which includes every phase of a project, or as Moore describes it, from “soup to nuts.”

“Sights & Sounds was too much of a generic term, and we were not in a position to trademark it,” explained Moore. “There was confusion about the name in outside markets, so we wanted to come up with something unique. ‘Eye’ for sight and ‘vox’ for sound really fit.”

Mindbender’s Gary Hilton and “Twiggy” developed the original art concept, a mesmerizing pair of animated winking, chattering oddballs in yellow derbies and black zoot suits.

“We wanted our logo to reflect a creative, fun environment,” said Moore. “This gives us a retro feel and is classic. It might not be real popular at one time, but it will come back in style.”

The marketing upgrade tied into the company’s focus on its award-winning animation work. An example: a whimsical anti-smoking spot opens in a clockmaker’s shop featuring trinket-lined inset shelves and a working fireplace. A bifocal-wearing craftsman is stooped over a bench puffing a pipe when the wooden doors to a cuckoo clock open overhead. A histrionic cuckoo bird coughs, gasps and sputters until he holds up a sign that says “cuckoo!” The animation easily rivals Blue Sky and Pixar.

Ricky Turner, a 3D animator at Eyevox, burned the midnight oil in 2003 designing the set and painstakingly creating the fully CGI bird for The Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi, even perfecting the bird’s performance by acting out some dramatic moves himself. “We couldn’t get him to wear the bird suit, though,” said Moore, with a chuckle. “I always look back at that project with a grin because it was so much fun. Ricky is a master at creating unique imaging with a definite ‘wow’ factor.”

On March 29, Moore will be in Hollywood, pitching an animated feature-length movie to interested producers.

“We’re keeping our fingers crossed,” he said.

Only eight years ago, after having freelanced since 1986 for major networks HBO, ABC and ESPN, Moore opened Sights & Sounds’ one-man office with a Betacam, some lighting equipment and an Avid editing system.

Eyevox now occupies an 11,250-square-foot facility featuring a 4,000-square foot studio with a 45-foot-by-86-foot sound stage, star-quality green room and improved production offices filled with gadgets and gizmos that help produce high-end film and video commercials and corporate films for clients around the country.

Even though housed in a plain metal building, the Eyevox office has a definite “wow” factor. Sure, the production company’s two Avid suites feature plenty of bells and whistles: uncompressed video editing, true 24p and the option to upgrade to high definition. And the rooms are also equipped with Sapphire Plugin Suite, 3D Effects and an assortment of audio and graphic tools. But the charming, eclectic mix of Mississippi artwork and furnishings in a spectrum of color fill the oversized living room, or rather, the lobby. From the scored floors to draperies hanging from tree branches, the environment is a marketing tool in itself.

“You can’t help but feel creative when you walk in here,” said Moore. “Used to be, edit suites were 17 shades of gray. We decided to nix it in favor of a happier environment. We created this office based on what we thought Pixar’s might look like. Now people get so comfortable, they don’t want to leave.”

The game room, featuring cork walls chock-full of concept art, is the company’s think tank. The conference room features 12-foot ceilings trimmed in yellow and black and sea grass-carpeted walls. In dead center: a four-foot-by-eight-foot company logo. “People want to touch the walls,” said Moore. “It’s an awesome room.”

With the recent addition of an animator that worked on “Lord of the Rings,” the company now has a production staff of 11. Collectively, its impressive résumé boasts projects ranging from commercials to corporate imaging pieces to television shows such as “Twin Peaks” and “The Wonder Years” to independent films and blockbuster movies including “Monster’s Ball” and “Runaway Jury.”

“Our entire marketing concept — our being — is based on Mississippi creativity,” said Moore. “It’s definitely getting attention.”

Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynne W. Jeter at lwjeter@yahoo.com.

About Lynne W. Jeter

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