The Art and Importance of Title Sequences

Title sequences are strangely under-appreciated things.

When expertly wielded, there are few filmic tools more instrumental in setting the mood and tone for their audiences. Yet they get almost no attention, slaving away in relative obscurity. Perhaps we should demand an Academy Award for Best Credit Sequence, to assist these pillars of Cinemadome in receiving the “credit” they so justly deserve. (Actually, given how quickly and completely I forgot this year’s awards, an Oscar might not help. About the only thing that sticks in my mind is Claudio Miranda’s hair. And I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget that.)

Moving uneasily away from Life of Pi’s very own Lucuis Malfoy, the fact remains: title sequences are unfairly overlooked by most (or at least many) moviegoers. Luckily, “Art of the Title” is waging a one-site war to combat that injustice:

From the tense closeups of Kim Novak’s face in 1958’s Vertigo to the singing ruby lips of The Rocky Horror Picture Show in 1975; from the graceful, three-and-a-half minute crane shot in 1958’s Touch of Evil to the playful, referential intro to The Player in 1992; and from the shadow and substance of The Twilight Zone in 1959 to the intricate cartography of the 2011 TV adaptation of Game of Thrones, title sequences have prepared, captivated, thrilled, and inspired us.

At Art of the Title, we are the leading online resource of title sequence design, spanning the film, television, conference, and videogame industries. Featuring title design from countries around the world, we honor the creators and innovators who contribute to the field, discussing and displaying their work with a desire to explicate, facilitate, and instigate.

They have an imposing list of film and television sequences — I counted over 175 last time through, many featuring short discussions or interviews on the techniques and creative decisions on display. There are also feature segments that group similar sequences together into a larger examination.

A few of my favorites? The Good, The Bad and The Ugly; Catch Me If You Can; Signs; HBO’s “The Pacific” and “Boardwalk Empire;” and The Conversation. And that last one features a line tailor-made for grabbing my attention: “Audio commentary excerpt with Editor and Sound Mixer Walter Murch.” Which brings me back around to my all-time favorite page on the site …so far: WALL·E. (Anyone hear the connection?)

A nice little nugget from the WALL·E analysis:

A note on type: WALL-E is promoted with an interpunct as WALL·E which Wikipedia tells us “is a small dot used for interword separation in ancient Latin script, being perhaps the first consistent visual representation of word boundaries in written language.”

WARNING: The site is a massive time sink. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

About Joseph Susanka

Joseph has been doing development work for institutions of Catholic higher education since graduating from Thomas Aquinas College in 1999. A grateful resident of Wyoming, he spends his free time exploring the beautiful Wind River Mountains, keeping track of his (currently) seven sons, and thanking his lucky stars for Netflix.


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