Title titillation

There’s a reason I hate entering a movie theatre late. I’m a sucker for title sequences. While everybody is settling in, sending of one final text message (or even worse, bbm-ing), I’m staring fixated at the words and images blending together on the screen.

Draw inspiration from a movie? Of course. But from a title sequence?? Why not? A title sequence draws you into the film. It gives you a great preview of what’s in store. It’s the all-important start that gets you hooked from the first second…long before the actors, dialogues, screenplay, sfx, plot, subplot, twist, action and everything else grab you.

Here are a few examples of my favourite sequences and a little bit about why I love them.

Catch me if you can. A brilliantly animated sequence that doesn’t just capture the essence of the film but also reflects the particular section the title is about.

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Thank you for Smoking. Beautifully art directed, this opening sequence marries packaging to titling quite brilliantly.

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Se7en. Sets you up perfectly for what’s in store by taking into the world of the man you only meet at the very end.

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Superbad. Whoever thought Michael Cera and Seth Rogen had such unmistakable silhouettes! Retro, groovy, ipod-esque…call it whatever you want to…you just wanna jump right in and shake it with them.

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Panic Room. I’ve always been a sucker for type that’s become part of the visual. Add to it sheer simplicity. And here’s the result.

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Delicatessen. It’s trash. And it’s beautiful. Every single title is thought through and appears just where it should.

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And if you still think film title sequences may not have anything in common with advertising, think again. They draw you in with their sheer brilliance and leave you wanting more. What’s that if it isn’t advertising?

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8 Comments

  1. I like to go even before….. I dont want to miss the ads…. some child like fascination for seeing them on the big screen – all 60 secs and all :)

  2. Charles Victor |

    Wow! I see I’m not the only one trying to shoo people to silence when the lights go off in theaters!

    Anita, I’d love to see the presentation! Fistful of Dollars is a classic, just like other Sergio greats! I’m also a big fan of the James Bond openings.

    Ruchita, we must exchange notes! There are tons more that I haven’t mentioned here.

  3. anita dharane |

    hi charles. this is a really superb subject to work on. i had done a presentation on film title sequences as project work and shocked to find out that even hindi movies have better ones. i will share that presentation if you will like to see it ;)

    The one i like is of Forest Gump. Namesake one is brilliant too. then Fistful of dollars animation titles & in the oldest of era i guess Chalti ka naam gaddi when there was no animation at all ;)

  4. ruchita zambre |

    hey charles thanks for sharing superbad & Delicatessen the rest am a fan already! And yeah i so do think that the title sequences have to and must be gripping…its half your paisa vasool don’t ya think :-)
    Opening credits of movies like Carnivale & Lord of War are also few of the super sequences that i have seen…there’s a story in itself.

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