The Boardroom

NBA Superstar Kevin Durant is taking his seat in “The Boardroom,” an ESPN+ original series delving into the sports biz with a rotating roster of athletes, tech moguls and sports execs.

The six-episode series comes from Thirty Five Ventures, the company owned by Durant and business partner Rich Kleiman. The first two launch Monday on ESPN+, Disney’s direct-to-consumer multi-sport subscription streaming service. Guests on “The Boardroom” include L.A. Lakers players LeBron James and Kyle Kuzma, Houston Rockets forward P.J. Tucker, L.A. Clippers owner Steve Balmer, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Peter Guber, the co-owner of Warriors, Dodgers and LAFC.

Evolve Studio partnered with Showrunner Scott Boggins & Thirty Five Ventures in creating the opening title sequence and in show motion graphics.





KD Boardroom | CASE STUDY

How do you tell the life story of an nba icon in less than 30 seconds?

The answer? Quickly.

For The Boardroom — Kevin Durant’s new ESPN+ original series that examines the world of sports business — it was our task to create an opening title sequence that sweeps across KD’s basketball journey. In an era where sports icons are independently creating content, each desiring to share their unique style and voice, we put our heads together to communicate KD’s in a strong, visual way.

So, after initial talks with our collaborators, we agreed “live action” was the best approach to achieve this. So, we pitched back a rough concept — this epic, single-take move, where we float through a series of scenes that charts the origins of a basketball empire, beginning with KD’s rise, centering on his sneakers, and ultimately ending in The Boardroom, where game-altering movements truly take root.

That narrative backbone remained as such. But with regard to execution, we ended up in a place we never imagined at the outset of this project.


For that initial live-action pitch, we crafted rough storyboards timed-out in an animatic. Little did we know, we were actually laying the groundwork for a fully animated approach. 

We had already crafted the overall look for the show graphics package — a painterly aesthetic with raw stop-motion effects — so we thought it made sense to extend that vibe through to the opening animation.

The end result is something we never could’ve anticipated in those early talks. But necessity is indeed the mother of invention, as this baby turned out to be one of our most inventive pieces to date — premium, styled, and absolutely evocative of the Kevin Durant universe.

true R&D

Creating this look wasn’t easy. It took true research and development to design something completely original. There was no reference to copy, no pre-existing work to duplicate or build on. We started from scratch, with just some feedback from client, and a few blue-sky ideas. 

So, after some rigorous R&D, we ended up using mostly toon shading and direct lighting in 3D, with post-processing in 2D, to create the pseudo-stop motion effect. For KD’s shoes, we searched for a pre-made 3D model of the KD11, but ended up buying a practical pair, and then using photogammetry, we 3D-scanned one of the shoes to create our own model. 

Always evolving

We’re especially proud of this work because, as integrated live action & VFX specialists, we seldom tackle an animation-only project.

So, indeed, this is a sandbox we’re not always playing in, but playing in different sandboxes is what gets our creative blood pumping. We might not always be seen as a full-on “animation vendor”, but we love all creative disciplines and we always push ourselves to evolve. Working with partners who trust in our process to develop genuinely original creative – that’s why we’re in this business.