Title Design

The past month has been  a mix of strategizing the remainder of post-production and sending off the first wave of festival submissions. I'll talk specifics as much as I can, but for now I wanted to share a bit about our title design.

Opening titles or credits for a film can be awesome, exciting, fancy, boring, forgettable, complicated, or simple. When I wrote the screenplay for Passing Harold Blumenthal, I wrote down the specific point where the opening titles came up. I even described briefly how they would be presented. Ultimately, we went a slightly different route. As the we prepped and shot the film, Zak and I discussed some different ideas of how we might set the tone with a simple, yet effective opening sequence.  We grabbed some footage for this purpose on the tail-end of a lighter day in Midtown and chopped it up in the editing room. For the rough cut of the film, I made some basic (lame) titles in Final Cut Pro. But footage and music alone weren't enough to set the tone. The titles themselves needed to be much more specific.

Once I landed in LA, I was chatting with my filmmaking friend Adam Nee who I asked for references to title designers. He pointed no further than his older brother and co-conspirator, Aaron. Aaron runs a motion graphics company G.R.O.W. with offices in LA and Boston. I called Aaron and told him about the project and shared a cut of the film with him. He gave me his thoughts based on what he saw and what I wanted and we took it from there. Amidst more talking, I told him the sort of sensibility I wanted the sequence to have and the sort of vibe I wanted from the font. He then sent me a bunch of samples and gave his ideas and input as well. I've seen a couple low-res demos of the work-in-progress and everything is looking rather awesome. Simple to be sure,  but awesome. It's amazing how effective even the placement and size of a title can be. Title design is it's own amazing art form to be sure.

The other titles that need doing are some "fake" titles of a TV program within the film. This calls for some cheesy creativity, and with the exception of some required photos that must be integrated, I'm letting Aaron surprise me a little on this one.  I've seen one mockup of this one so far, and I'm eager to tie it all together in the edit.

All of this is has really had me focused on the issue of tone. Not just for the titles, but for the film they are supposed to reflect. These final stages of post are all fine-tuning that tone in every way possible. Whether it's music setting the mood or color setting the look, these last details aren't just to polish the product, but to tell people exactly how to consume it. While the edit of the picture is nearly locked, I have a feeling that these next several weeks will really add a lot to the film.