Making Movie Titles
In the Hollywood silent era, film titles began as woodcut blocks. This was truly an art form and a relic from a much previous age. It was once part of the Carpenter’s Guild and now belongs with the post-production editors and special effects unit. While some great modern filmmakers like Woody Allen stick to simplicity in movie titles, others auteurs like David Fincher develop grandiose title segments that introduce the story in an elaborate visual journey reminiscent of the overture in an opera.
Movie title designers are artists these days are artists in their own fashion. They border on the advertising realm and do some of their work creating corporate logos. A movie’s titles should reflect the story and setting as a logo does to its corporate entity. The titles include the movie feature title as well as the introductory credits as well as a series of names usually but limited to the main actors, producers, writer, and director. There are some interesting ways of creating a flow from each name into the next such as particular letters remaining in place to be reused in the next name or keywords related to the story that darken or highlight to reveal a name.
The opening titles also serve as a scene within the film. They set the mood for what will happen next and particular elements to look for throughout the movie. Sometimes they come right at the beginning while other directors chose to establish an opening scene without them until after a few minutes. The titles sequence could be used as a refreshing pause to break the action or a high-paced action sequence that gets the audience’s blood revved up.
Music is playing an important role in this as well but silence can be equally as powerful. It is in these first few minutes that the person you are watching the movie with will lean over a whisper, “this is gonna be a good one,” so don’t neglect this form of marketing while you have the full attention of the audience.
Corporate videos often lack in this area but they can still take advantage of the emotional techniques. Introducing a training video as “How to ____ step 1” can be incredibly dull with yellow aerial fonts overlaid on a black screen or evoke a sense of the video’s importance by mimicking well-known graphics from the title sequences of famous movies.