Level Playing Field, HBO Max

Level Playing Field is an HBO x Vox production 4-part docuseries about exploring the intersection between sports and policy.

Although “Level Playing Field” dove into the world of sports, the core message and the storytelling circled around policies and those affected by them. The initial inspiration came from old protest posters and WEB DuBois’ hand-drawn data visualization. That led us to explore rougher textures and hand-drawn elements. 

As we were exploring and researching keywords that would shape the visuals — the words that kept surfacing were “repetition” and “distortion.” History was repeating itself. The powerful were distorting policies to benefit themselves. We experimented with printing hundreds of photos and archives used in the show and distorted them through a scanner. They served as textures behind the images used throughout the show.

We wanted to create clear visuals to come back to over and over — building out small elements at a time — and eventually revealing the political system at the end. This really helped with 2 things: helping the viewers understand the bigger picture one step at a time, and giving our team enough time to build out the scenes.



Art Direction: Dion Lee
Design, Animation: Ananya Ghatrazu, Liz Galian, Dion Lee
Directors: Akil Gibbons, Joe Posner, Sam Ellis, Rebecca Stern
Executive Producers: Michael Jacobs, Joe Posner, Emily Anderson, Chad Mumm, Mark W. Olsen, Jonathan Crystal
Co-executive Producers: Mac Schneider, Marina Stadler
Producer: Samantha Lee
Editors: James Pilott, Lewis Rapkin, Cuong Ngo