Features,  Interviews,  Mondo,  Movies/Entertainment

Exclusive: A Look Into the Mondo Creative Process and Preview of MondoCon 2015

MondoCon 2015Film fans around the globe are becoming increasingly aware of and familiar with the Alamo Drafthouse’s boutique poster label Mondo. What started out as a small Austin, TX based outfit has quickly become a major player in film circles for simply outstanding movie art – be it posters, vinyl soundtracks, or, recently, toys. While they have built brand awareness by producing a prolific and dizzying array of spectacular releases, Mondo is committed to two main goals: they seek to educate people about films as much as they want to celebrate them, but also, they aim to get film fans to see cinema the way they do.

The Mondo team is a uniquely talented and dedicated bunch. These visual wizards turn films on their heads, and offer extremely fresh and innovative spins on both well-known and highly obscure properties alike. You may not yet know all their artists’ names, but their collective work speaks for itself.

Now if you’re reading this, we gather it’s because you know Mondo so we won’t keep you any longer. We spent an hour with two of Mondo’s three Creative Directors (Mitch Putnam and Rob Jones) and we covered a lot of ground prior to MondoCon 2015, which runs October 3-4. There’s nearly 6500 words of Mondo-awesomeness, so let’s get to it. For those of you looking to know more about their unique process, you’re welcome!

GoSeeTalk: ​This convention is your second at bat, ​so let’s start off with lessons learned from 2014. I attended briefly last year, while taking a break from our coverage of Fantastic Fest, so I only got to see a small portion of the show. However it was a huge turnout, and I witnessed some of that massive crowd first-hand.

Rob Jones_Mondo
Rob Jones – Mondo Creative Director

Rob Jones: One lesson, right off the bat, was booth arrangements in regard to lines. We had a famously enormous line in front of Mike Mitchell‘s booth, which unfortunately choked Jay’s booth, and this time around we were very mindful of arrangement. So hopefully, that situation doesn’t happen to any of the exhibitors at this Mondo Con. Also, we have added a third exhibition space across the street at the Holiday Inn.

Mitch Putnam: As far as overall thoughts about the convention last year, we were really, really happy with it because it’s a really interesting convention. It is not the biggest convention of all time, because the thing about it is we have it boiled down specifically so that every person there is there because they like posters, records, the kind of thing that Mondo does, so the artists had a really great time.

Now the numbers were much smaller than something compared to Comic Con, but everyone was there for those artists. So it worked out really great.

Jones: I agree. I talked to a lot of the artists after the convention, and they were ecstatic with the results. So we were really quite happy.

Since I was covering the Fest, I was only able to grab the vinyl releases and headed back to catch a screening. So I imagine that holding the Con after this years’ Fantastic Fest helps buffer those crowds who wanted to attend both events.

Jones: So then you didn’t get to see The Texas Chainsaw Massacre re-scoring?

No, I had to get back to see something so I could sit for a later interview.

Mitch Putnam_Mondo
Mitch Putnam – Mondo Creative Director

Jones: Well, I missed it too, unfortunately. *laughs* I passed out asleep in an office above the theater, and woke up to a nightmare hearing screams from the film below me. But I’ve been told by Spencer Hickman, Mondo’s record czar, that this years’ re-scoring of Umberto’s Pieces is going to be on par with, if not even more awesome than The Texas Chainsaw Massacre one from last year.

Putnam: Yeah, we did shift the date of the Con, and for that exact reason. We had a lot of people who said “hey, having Fantastic Fest and Mondo Con stuff all in the same day makes it hard to hit the screenings in both places”, so we thought it was better to space them apart by one weekend just so people could experience things from both festivals easier.

Jones: That is really good this time around because we have some killer screenings lined up that we don’t want people to miss!

Mondo is a such a unique brand. You have very quickly amassed a great following and you keep your numbers small with limited releases. A lot of your poster designs and album selections are targeted towards niche markets. I think each of us grew up watching inappropriate movies at a much younger age than we should have, but it made us fans of certain films. How much do your personal influences relate to many of the titles that ultimately sell, like Italian horror, and cannibal pictures for instance?

Jones: I think one of the things that has always been important at Mondo is not so much making posters to celebrate, but also to educate. We’re trying to let people know about films they may not have heard about because, maybe, they didn’t have the cool big brother telling them what to check out.

Repo Man MONDOI was really surprised a while back to find that Repo Man, something I thought was de rigueur viewing for any film fan, appeared as such a mystery to folks on various message boards after we offered a poster of it. People had the gall to wonder why we’d bother with what they considered a unknown or tiny movie. Again, it just blew my mind as Repo Man is pretty much Star Wars with folks I yap with. Hopefully releasing the poster of the Criterion cover prodded some folks to check it out for the first time and share the good news.

Putnam:  Since we were born from the Alamo Drafthouse, we naturally had a direction of releasing more obscure films, and then we kind of checked a lot of those films throughout the years with our posters, records and other releases. Now we’re doing a combination of modern, main-stream releases and obscure releases. So, like Rob was saying, it started with the mission of giving exposure to older films that we grew up with, and we liked, so now that we’ve done a lot of those, we have the opportunity to shed some light on a wider array of titles as well.

Well that explains the gamut of things from The Visitor to Hyena, and then Black Sunday to Black Swan which the latter is premiering at Mondo Con this year.

Jones: Oh my God, that movie has the most horrific horror scene I’ve ever witnessed! Oof! I could see someone’s head getting cut off a million times, but when she peels the cuticle back deep, it freaks me out totally. *laughs*Super visceral. I just feel it!

One of the things you just mentioned was checking things off your list. So as one looks back over all your various releases, what haven’t you done that you would like to, and whether it is on the horizon, or a wish list, what would you love to see in the hands of Mondo fans?

Jones: Oh, a dream list, so to speak? Well, honestly, we’ve already done Cruising and Dune, *laughs* so I think we are full up.

Putnam: *laughs*

Jones: Oh, I know what I want to do. The Man Who Fell to Earth. Hopefully, one day, we’ll get to it.

Putnam: Well there are also some really essential movies, visually, that we haven’t had a chance to do yet. On that note, I would love, love to do something with the Indiana Jones franchise, and we have been lucky to do a lot of the ones we wanted. I’m into a lot of horror movies, and there are a lot of modern ones we haven’t had a chance to do. Top of that list is an It Follows poster, as well as one for the upcoming A24 film The Witch.

Jones: I would love to do something for James Bond, and trust me, *laughs* we have tried! Also would love to do a full on retrospective series for Akira Kurosawa.

Oh man, there’s no shortage of material there. Stray dog, Throne of Blood, Yojimbo, High and Low, Seven Samurai just to start with.

Jones: Totally! Up til now, we have only been able to do Rashomon.

Putnam: Yeah, I think that’s the great thing about working with film. We don’t really run out of things we want to do, just like you don’t really run out of movies to watch that you haven’t seen yet.

Jones: Oh! Cool Hand Luke, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Shock Treatment. God you’re right, I could go on and on. It does get bottomless.

Your work really speaks to all the audiences you try to target. Whether it is The Boxtrolls, or James Bond, should that come to pass, do you feel that as Mondo and the brand grows, and more people know about the work you do, you have to try harder to hit the more mainstream audiences? Or are you guys fans of all things and just do what you want when you want?

Jones: Well we are fans of all things really. I think there can be a danger, however, of being too nostalgic and thinking that “no, there hasn’t been any good movies since 1978” and forgoing interest in anything new, but there are so many great films always getting released. In fact, I almost feel like we are in a new golden era as far as really great, interesting, intense personal films being made. Even among the blockbusters.

Putnam: I also think that our strength is that we have a really great team that works for Mondo, and within that team there are really great interests when it comes to film. So something I may want to do is not something that interests Rob, he may not even know about it. Or something Jay Shaw might want to do will go right over Rob and my head, or vice versa. So that is one way we are able to hit all points as well.

Jones: Yeah, Mitch is the big “horror” guy, I’m the big “’70s” guy and Jay is really the big “everything” guy. I have yet to find a movie that Jay doesn’t like. *laughs*. He is a regular Will Rogers when it comes to film.

Putnam: Then we have the young guys like Eric Garza who are into The Matrix and Marvel Comics. So we have a really diverse group within Mondo and that is a real strength for us when we are creating as well.

It’s interesting you have a creative veto in-house as opposed to testing the waters with the consumer base. If you wanted to do something like The Matrix, like you just said, or something like Let The Right One In, The Wizard or The Towering Inferno, each one also caters to a certain fan base.

Jones: Well it would really have to be something awful for it to get vetoed. The thing is that if someone in our office is passionate about a film, even if others are ambivalent towards it or outright hate it, then we will likely try to do something interesting for it. Sometimes another person’s enthusiasm actually makes you want to give something a chance, or watch it for the first time all together.

I am a huge Mondo fan, and it’s because of the content, the creative process, but also the quality. Creative struggles are one thing, but when you have an idea and you are trying to execute it – whether it is finding right artist, or getting approval from the studio – how do you go from “we want this”, to finished product when you are dealing with licenses, and likenesses?

Putnam: Generally, the biggest hurdle is getting the studio to sign off on it. After that, the process of selecting an artist, figuring out their availability and putting them on the project is kind of second nature to us.

So if we get the opportunity from the studio, we generally have a pretty good idea of how to pull it off. There is some internal struggle, but, for the most part, we have a pretty good idea of the artist’s strengths and the market we’re going after, so honestly, the biggest hurdle is always getting official clearance.

Jones: I’ll say one interesting thing about that though. Sometimes we will chat with an artist and find out that their dream project might not be a movie you would never imagine they would want to pursue. An example there is Rich Kelly who wants to do a Caddyshack poster. And so we were like “really? Okay, didn’t think that would be on your dream list, but we’ll try to make it happen!”.

Putnam: There are various ways that things get made, it’s not all our ideas. Something can be pitched or suggested by a particular artist and we will track it down, then, other times,francavilla_blackcauldron_MONDO studios come to us and ask if we want to work on their project. So it really is a combination of every way possible to kick off a project.

Jones: A good example of that was the Disney show we did a few years ago. We were very careful in curating that because we thought everyone was going to say The Lion King, or a Pixar movie, and we would have to tell people to pick something else.

It wound up that again, people were saying the strangest things and we could never have imagined that what they picked was the movie they really always wanted to do. Francesco Francavilla saying, “I want to do The Black Cauldron!” And we go “that, uh, hadn’t been picked, good call”. “Jay, what do you want?”, “Oh, The Cat from Outer Space!”. In fact, I think we had to assign a couple of those Pixar movies because no one was picking them.

That is amazing to hear, because when you look at Mondo artwork, I guess you just get the idea that anything you let an artist do would be their dream project because looking at a poster, or an album cover, there is no lack in quality whatsoever. Now in something like Crimson Peak which is astoundingly detailed, that’s not nostalgia fueling the artist, it hasn’t even been released yet. How did that work? Was a screener sent around for inspiration?

Jones: Oh no! The studio sent that movie over with a guard to make sure he didn’t use his iPhoneCrimson-Peak-Mondo-poster_ on it. *laughs*

Putnam: Yeah, we were pretty lucky to work so closely with Guillermo del Toro on his projects, so the artist was able to see that in advance.

Jones: Daniel Danger also got 4 gigabytes worth of material from the film – specific shots and elements he wanted to incorporate in the poster. On top of that, and I’m not saying this happens every time but this is one reason why the poster ended up as great as it was, he got to work directly with Guillermo and they had a lot of back and forth. It wasn’t just one phone call, Guillermo was going back and forth with us, via email, as the poster developed, and giving his feedback.

Putnam: Again, I do want to stress, that is not the norm. Generally, a lot of times, when we do posters for movies that haven’t come out yet, the artist hasn’t even seen it yet.

Jones: It’s because of that back and forth that the poster turned out so well, and it took Daniel foh-eva. That was an intense labor of love!

Well it is an incredible amount of detail and the layers of intricacy put on these posters are astounding. The Crimson Peak poster reminds me of Nicolas Delort’s The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug poster (check that out here). Then there’s Kevin Tong’s Pacific Rim poster and Randy Ortiz’s Gremlins. They are all just so finely detailed it is stunning to look at these works half an inch at a time.

Your team has been reaching out to different markets via album covers, and, recently, steelbook covers. How does the creative process change when you know your format is artwork which gets hung on the wall versus a record on a shelf, or a steelbook that is a much smaller end product?

Jones: I’m not sure it does actually. I have a pretty good idea how to achieve what I want, because I have a good background in vinyl production and vinyl packaging. It’s a lot like design for a poster, just a bit more of an intense process.

Well, I ask because, with a poster, you have one design and one shot to show people your vision of said film. With a record, you have the front and back covers, maybe a gatefold panel, as well as inserts and sleeves. That way, if you had more than one idea, you could utilize them all instead of picking just one. That’s at least how I see it.

Jones: Well you’re right about that. Sometimes, when I have an artist who does have a very strong visual style, he may not have the best vision when it comes to application of text or records and that has been the case a lot more often.

In fact, Jay Shaw comes into play a lot there. He is one of the go-to guys that will actually work with the artist to come up with the type treatments and layout for the vinyl releases. For example, our recent Scanners, and The Brood – Jay did the text.

Putnam: Well I think it is little bit different, to disagree with Rob a little bit. For one thing, I think that the list of artists who are best at working in the medium are different. We have our go-to poster artists, and we have those who are adept at designing vinyl packaging. Many times, the process is intense and we can have an artist who spends 100 hours on a poster, and it’s able to be put out as a piece of art, and it GotG Mondogets them traction on the internet.

Whereas working with an artist on a record, it is a much more utilitarian job. You have to have somebody that is either completely compassionate about the project, and are willing to work for probably a lower per hour rate, or, likely, is faster and is able to generate enough images to fill a record in the amount of time that makes sense for that project.

Jones: Yeah, and it’s kind of like you said, there’s a back cover, there is a two panel interior gatefold, and depending on how intricate you want to get, slip covers and bespoke labels. Then again, it also helps if they are enthused about record packaging to begin with, because sometimes an LP assignment from us can very well be an artist’s first vinyl packaging job and they are excited to try something new.

Putnam: Then again, the difference between the two comes down to something like what Daniel Danger does, with that Crimson Peak poster – it is pretty much known as “a Daniel Danger poster”. When we put out a soundtrack, if we were to do the Crimson Peak soundtrack, just as an example, that is going to be in record stores, and it’s going to be around a bit. People will know the artwork for being the soundtrack cover, but they’re going to have to dig a little bit for the artist who did it.

Jones: That’s a really good point.

Putnam: So that’s just one reason why there are certain artists who work more exclusively with the medium for posters than they do records. You have to have more of a worker aspect and work ethic when it comes to production because you’re going to have to do a lot more for the packaging. Unfortunately it also kind of means less credit for the final product, but that end product is cooler to hold in your hand. Those are probably the main differences logistically but, because of what we want visually for each film, I think we do approach it the same way.

Mitch, I like what you said because if you think about Kevin Tong’s Gravity release, you had all of that artwork plus “space packaging” which was an awesome touch. Then on your Guardians of the Galaxy release, you had a graphic on the inside of the cover which shows how your team has put effort into every square inch, even if people don’t notice, to really put your stamp on it. Then there was The Last of Us which, with 4 disks, gives you artwork for each slipcover or even the Batman release you just put up for pre-order. Holy artwork Batman!

Jones:  That fungus pattern on The Last of Us was done by Jay Shaw and Olly Moss and that took him foh-eva, The slip cover design was created from this massive piece and then cut into four pieces. Now the Batman thing has been over a year in the making. And Phantom City Creative gets the credit for that. He created all the record covers, the box, 3 versions of 6 mugshot cards, bespoke labels, you name it. He did some really intense back cover art for those as well, even more so than most people do for back covers.

batbox_MONDOPutnam: Yeah, I think that project in particular shows you that not every artist would be right for a particular job. Justin at Phantom City Creative created 8 posters for the covers of these records and then all the extra design and illustration within the box too, so that is more work then some of our poster artists put out in a whole year.

Jones: The other thing is that Justin Erickson is just a creative work horse too. Not just putting in the time, but the conceptual commitment to such a big project was taxing.

Trust me, by the end he was not the same person he was going in. When we started, he was like “yeah this is going to be great! I love working on Batman!” At the end, *laughs* he says, “yeah, do me a favor take a spell before you put me on another Batman assignment”. *laughs*

Well, I imagine that that kind of design would have a lot of difficulties because you are not just creating the likeness of a character, but you are doing something styled after what another artist has done and matching that creative style.

Jones: Yeah that’s a very interesting point because there are some artists that we might think are incredible, but they might not be the best person for the job. It usually applies to these animation properties, because if they make it too much in their own style then it isn’t recognizable as the property. Conversely if they do something that is too much like the property, then it departs from their style too much and you can’t find the artist’s identity amid the execution. But there are some artists who can do it such as Tom Whalen who is the acknowledged master of staying faithful to the characters depicted without compromising his signature aesthetic.

Putnam: It’s interesting with something with the Batman box which has, you’re right, more of a mimic of the style of the property. When we approach an artist for something like that, it’s split down the middle. You have 50% of the artists who say “I don’t want to take that because I can’t put anything on this. All I’m doing is reproducing someone else’s drawings”. Then there’s the other half of the artists who say, “yeah! I would love to do this work because, frankly, it doesn’t take as much thought, and is a little easier”. So it’s really interesting to see which artists are up for animated stuff based on the style of animation we are aiming for.

Jones: Well I know what you’re trying to say, but let’s be fair, there is a lot of thought that went into the Batman Animated Series box set, because Justin was trying to think a lot about his concepts and compositions. That way, he would make each presentation of Batman in danger feel exciting and new.

Putnam: Sure, and I don’t mean that project in particular, but we talked to Tyler about animated stuff he had said it was actually easier to do in an animated style than film stuff.

Jones: Yeah that’s true, I wish we could do more animator properties with him.

Speaking of Tom Whalen, he does amazing work. I don’t buy many posters these days, yet I just had to have that Back to the Future one he did. But he did amazing work for the Hannah Barbera collection you recently had.

Jones: ​Actually, he only did one.

Putnam: Yeah that was kind of a mix actually. He did stuff that really got us started on this animation kick and did all these great Disney pieces – there were a whole slew of Disney short posters he created. Frankly, his stuff really paved the way for us doing Hannah Barbera, otherwise, I don’t know if we would have had the confidence to do it.

​Thanks for giving us a peek us behind the scenes of Mondo, but let’s get back to MondoCon. There are a ton of great events planned no matter if you’re a fan of posters, music, toys, or all three. But toys are something that has grown quite a lot on your site.

I picked up The Iron Giant bolt and it’s perfect. But you’re also coming out with multiple Turtles figures. So, aside from the blurb in the Press release about the panel “The Art of Toys and Collectibles“, what can you tell us about your foray into that, as well as working with properties to recreate these likenesses?

Putnam: We have an incredible creative director of toys named Brock Otterbacher ​who has been in Bolt_Product_Mondothe industry a really long time, so it’s been a really cool collaborative process to work between the properties we’re interested doing toys for, and his knowledge of whether it is viable or not. So it’s been really interesting because we’ve had crazy ideas for toys that he would tell us would never work. But vice-versa, he offers ideas we would have never thought of which help it turn out great.

So getting used to this has been really hard because you do posters and you do records and we do a lot of them each year. But working on toys, it’s interesting because we’re making a smaller number of tangible items that we’re not used to making at all.

That’s fun because it’s something new, but we’re so excited about it. We’re looking to learn all we can and Brock helps immensely with that. We’re just now getting the hang of the process, and what will be covered in the panel will be eye-opening because, like it was for me, unless you work in that industry you don’t know a whole lot about what goes into making a toy – concept phase, sculpting, the proofing – so I personally find that stuff fascinating, and the panel will really go into it in depth. I hope the fans will really enjoy it.

Mondo TMNT

Jones: Yeah, it takes a real patience too, because Mitch and I are kind of spoiled in our vocation in that we get to see some relatively quick turnaround for posters. With records, it takes a little longer, but toys, that takes an ocean of time *laughs​* Good night! And the main thing about toys is ​corrections. Corrections for us normally are like “let’s substitute this paper for that”, but with toys, there’s just so many things that need to be checked over before going into production.

Brock has been releasing process videos of the tooling for The Iron Giant that is getting ready to be shipped. It’s really intensive and I do not envy his job. *laughs* But thankfully, he is as passionate about toys as we are about posters and vinyl. He really lives and breaths his stuff.

Iron Giant Deluxe Figure Test Shot from Mondo on Vimeo.

You release posters and LPs in limited number. Is that the case for toys as well because, as collectibles, you want to keep the numbers low? Or do you make small batches so you know you can move the inventory?

Putnam: Well the one thing that hamstrings us on all the toys that we would love to do are “the minimums”. As much as we would love to make a 12″ figure of Joe Spinell from Maniac, we’re probably not going to be able to sell enough to meet those minimums.

Factory minimums are a huge thing in toys that impact your choices. If you aim to do something and meet the minimum of 1000, that’s still cutting it close. But but if you can somehow get to 2000, that toy will cost half as much. So we’re not used to that, and don’t have to deal with it in posters at all. In records, you have that to some extent, but the exponential backward pricing of a factory minimum is honestly the main reason why toys do or don’t get made.

Jones: Yeah, the Joe Spinell doll is a great example of us going, “Hey Brock! What about this??” and he’ll reply, “Guys, you’re killing me…you have to think more like Turtles right now. Maybe, down the line. Let’s make Masters of the Universe 12-inch figures and we’ll see how things go.” One I really wanted to do was The Alchemist from Jodorowsky’s Holy Mountain. That got put down pretty fast. *laughs* I think that was the last time we pitched anything to him. *laughs*

Since we’re on creative processes, I was just so impressed with the Shaun of the Dead LP from last year’s MondoCon. It totally looks like a head of beer!

Jones: I know right! No shit! That looked totally legit. And the strawberry swirl looked amazing too. It looks like a real Cornetto, not like the one pictured on the box, but like when you actually peel the label to view the sloppy reality. Yeah, that came out great!!

How much trial and error goes into that, and what are the limits of what you can do? I bet you are proud of the end product, but how rigorous is the process?

Jones: Sometimes we have these really crazy ideas that just can’t be executed. One thing that’s Big Gundown MONDOimportant to bring up is that we don’t always use the same pressing plants, and some plants offer more options than others.

Putnam: The main place we work with is a broker and so we’re able to go to them and say “we have this crazy idea, how can we make this happen?” and they help search that out for us.

Jones: And because of that there can be some trial and error. For example, our recent release for The Big Gundown, we originally wanted to have the disc be grey with black vinyl dots going around to resemble the chamber of a revolver, and then somehow infuse that with the smell of gunsmoke. *laughs* Yeah, those tests did not work out.

Black-Swan-Album_MondoCon2015Putnam: For Black Swan, your idea got killed, right Rob?

Jones: Spence’s idea I think, he wanted to have feathers infused in the vinyl. Not just floating around a hollow clear disc, but he wanted them pressed directly into the vinyl. The tests did not work out.

Putnam: Generally, when we have the craziest of ideas, either the manufacturer just can’t make it happen, or it is prohibitively expensive. But it is a balancing act between how ridiculous we can get, and what we can actually make happen.

Jones: Or the idea of how many we can expect to sell. If we decided that we wanted to make a square record for Gleaming the Cube, Mo might say, “Not for this movie. We’d be lucky to move 1,500 of these. But if you want to make a square record for something as big as Drive, then maybe that can happen”.

Of the two big releases being offered at MondoCon 2015, Black Swan we talked about, but Army of Darkness is actually the first time that has ever been released on vinyl, so this is a long time coming for die-hard fans.

Jones: Your mind would be blown by things that have never been released on vinyl. It doesn’t necessarily have to be from the late ’90s or early 2000s either, when vinyl production was severely lessened. There’s some stuff that would shock you. Then there’s things which have been severely tied up with the music rights like one project Mo Shafeek, who is Spencer Hickman‘s consigliere on AOD_MondoCon 2015vinyl, has been working on finalizing rights for an unreleased soundtrack for two effen years trying to secure the rights.

No joke, and we’re still not there, but hopefully by mid-year next year we’ll put this record out, but he has been tirelessly, not everyday mind you, going after the rights from one person to the next and so on. It can get bunched up if the music was never designated for a soundtrack release.

Putnam: On the other hand, there have been things that were shockingly easy to put out, it’s kind of weird.

Beyond the description of Black Swan‘s vinyl presentation and the gatefold artwork that has been released, what’s going to be special about Army of Darkness, which, like The Iron Giant, is cut at 45RPM?

Jones: I don’t want to spoil it, so let’s just say that there’s a surprise when you shake it a little bit. There will be a physical surprise inside the package itself that is a lot of fun actually.

Is it a fun house kind of mirror that warps your face to look like Ash when he climbs out of the Necronomicon?

Jones: *laughs* Wow, I wish I had talked to you earlier, that would have been kind of cool! *laughs*

Putnam: *laughs* You want a job? That’s a great idea. *laughs*

Part of any business is marketing, and as such, you’ve given sites like Collider and /Film exclusive peeks at upcoming releases to help spread the word. You’ve got an established brand, and a lot of people know you, so how important is that to interact with filmcentric sites to help grow brand awareness?

Putnam:  I think it’s important because a lot of the success of Mondo has come from converting film fans into Mondo fans. So I think that as blog readership grows, there’s a constantly changing and growing market of people who are interested in film enough to read about it on the internet, and possibly become interested in what we’re doing. So that’s something we’re always interested in, having our stuff covered by the film press. I feel like that’s a pretty natural crossover.

Jones: Press coverage is always important. I really think it’s a major reason why Mondo exploded when it did, a lot of enthused talk about what we were doing with film posters.

It doesn’t take long to fall in love with your work, and it’s clear you are fans creating work for fans. In some people’s minds, when a film has become iconic, just the idea and memory of the film becomes so much bigger than the actual property. Every time I look at a Mondo poster, you guys nail what fans imagine a film to be. Your work conjures something bigger than the movie can produce, and I think that represents you guys very well.

Putnam: Well, thank you very much!

To close this out, I want to go back to what you said about Mo hoping to have a release out mid-year 2016. Does that mean you will have a Rocketeer score release to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the film??

Putnam: Well we love The Rocketeer, and we’re debuting Martin Ansin‘s poster at MondoCon this year. Rocketeer_MONDOCON2015I have to say it is one of the best posters we’ve released all year. It’s very art deco and absolutely beautiful if you like the film.

Jones: It’s in the style of those old air show posters, like ephemera made for barn stormers and the like. Ansin is one of the best obviously, but we really like it because his take on The Rocketeer seems so fresh. He presented the character in a more graceful manner as opposed to every other representation I think I’ve ever seen of The Rocketeer that looks like he’s been shot out of a cannon.

Well I ask about The Rocketeer because is it one one my all-time favorite scores. I speak to a lot of composers, and I have been trying to connect with James Horner for two years. I was just devastated when I heard of his passing. At the very least, I’m very glad your team was able to release the Aliens LP.

Jones: Oh sure, us too! I think Mo was actually listening to James Horner’s music when he heard the news. He was checking a test pressing for an upcoming release. What was your favorite recent release of ours? Was it Aliens?

No, I like Aliens, and Mad Max: Fury Road turned out very well. But of the dozen or so I have, I really like OblivionGravity and the Studio Ghibli albums a lot, however my favorite is a toss up between that Shaun of the Dead beer one and Looper. But damn, Looper really takes the cake – that burlap bag, the gold cover, even the 7″ single. That’s a hell of an album! So glad I got it along with everything else you had at MondoCon last year.

Putnam: *laughs* That’s one of our favorites too!

I’ve talked to Nathan Johnson a few times, and last time we chatted was right after the Con. He was just glowing about the release.

Jones: That was the one that taught us a big lesson which Looper Vinyl 12 and 7 inchwas “dream a little smaller!”. *laughs* Talk about something that took foh-eva, because once we were committed to doing it, we wanted to make sure we did it right. Each of those burlap sacks were hand treated and hand-distressed.

But we’ve got a lot coming up we’re excited to share with you. This year, especially if you’re a music fan, you won’t want to miss the soundtrack panel at MondoCon. They are going reveal some shocking news about upcoming releases. It’s going to be very interesting!

Thanks to Rob and Mitch for their time! For a full line up of events and other cool things happening at MondoCon 2015, including your chance to pick up the artwork above, click here for details. MondoCon 2015 runs October 3-4.