Da Vinci’s Demons (2013)

Da Vinci's Demons

“Genius cannot be contained.”

After centuries of reflection, the oft studied character of Leonardo da Vinci continues to reign as the genius and archetypal Renaissance Man that we’ve always known him to be. Yet as familiar as the man may seem, the opening to Da Vinci’s Demons illuminates new facets of his feverishly inventive and enigmatic mind. Beginning with Bear McCreary’s driving score, the sequence descends from painterly clouds and a Florentine horizon to reveal reams of hand sketched notes – a collection soon recognized as masterworks from da Vinci’s own hand. Paul McDonnell manipulates the hand-drawn illustrations to remind us of da Vinci’s ambidextrously rendered triumphs and musings while suggesting that there’s more to the prolific artist and polymath than even he may have known. Da Vinci’s demons seem to lurk behind each drop of ink, in each scratch upon the scroll. Amongst birds in flight and the fantastic contraptions that they inspired, Mona Lisa’s dispassionate smirk taunts the viewer with a secret she’ll never tell: “What did Leonardo da Vinci know that we don’t?”

In this, our latest examination of the anatomy of title sequences, Huge Designs assembles a golden ratio of iconic da Vinci sketches and flights of fantasy, brought to real life in a way that only modern day machinations could.

A discussion with Creative Director PAUL MCDONNELL of Huge Designs.

Give us a little background on yourself and Huge.

We are a small design studio based in London, consisting of three directors-slash-designers: Hugo Moss, Tamsin McGee, and myself. I joined a little over two years ago, but the company itself has been around for just over 20 years, primarily designing broadcast titles.

And as for Da Vinci’s Demons: what was the first meeting like?

We initially had a Skype meeting with the creator of the series, David Goyer, and one of the producers, Lee Morris, who we had worked with…

RSS & Email Subscribers: Check out the full Da Vinci’s Demons article at Art of the Title.

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Kroll Show (2013)

Kroll Show

“Show a little more very much respect to this beautiful creature here.” — Bobby Bottleservice

A rapid-fire postmodernist piss-take, the brief but striking main titles for Kroll Show are as much a mission statement for actor Nick Kroll’s sketch comedy show as they are a checklist of pop cultural touchstones. In dozens of dubstepping blasts, TGIF broadcasting, famous landmarks, reality television, blockbuster cinema, advertising, junk food, and corporate America are all roasted in a pithy cavalcade of Kroll-ified logos, brands, and signage. Full of fine print easter eggs for pause-pressers, the sequence strobes at the audience and ends before they know what hit them.

Jonathan Krisel, Kroll Show series director and executive producer, describes the process behind the sequence:

I am a big fan of title design and wanted to create something that was short and sweet – and in no way resembled a television show’s titles. We use a lot of title sequences within the show, so to do another intro for the show itself seemed redundant. I just wanted a blast of energy to launch it. I had recently watched Enter the Void and of course was blown away by the titles. Apparently a lot of people were, because I found pretty quickly that Kanye and numerous others had aped the exact look…

RSS & Email Subscribers: Check out the full Kroll Show article at Art of the Title.

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OFFF Barcelona 2011 “Year Zero”

year zero contact

“The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible.”
—Arthur C. Clarke

Riot police patrol the streets. An infection spreads. Unrest reigns. The malformed offspring of a broken generation roam in gangs.

Mischa Rozema and Si Scott’s nightmarish vision of the future gives the audience glimpses of contextual information to tie together a loose narrative. Simultaneously, it is a find-’em game with the credits for the festival participants embedded into the surroundings: on a cassette ejected from an exploding vehicle, sitting atop a dinette, even tattooed under the fingernails of a torture victim.

The power of concealment is evident as repeated viewings are rewarded with startling new details, showcasing unique ways of presenting information. That which is left to the imagination is often more frightening than what is shown and this concept is utilized masterfully in director Mischa Rozema and writer Si Scott’s dystopian titles for the 2011 OFFF festival.

A discussion with director Mischa Rozema, executive producer Ania Markham and CG supervisor Ivor Goldberg of PostPanic.

Art of the Title: Tell us about the conceptual stage. Did you have tons of ideas you wanted to work through? How did you whittle them down?

Mischa Rozema: The project started out as a collaboration between myself and Si Scott. Right from the start, we decided that it should be the darkest thing we could make. I think it just felt natural to the both of us; if we had to nail the future, it would not be a nice place. To get started, we made a collection of 50 ideas that would scare me and Si and the list just kept on growing! Sometimes the ideas were completely worked out and sometimes they were starting points for a scene or micro-story. So we had the list to work with and the desired props but I also wanted to leave plenty of room for improvisation – working with people, situations, or locations we bumped into…

Read the full OFFF Barcelona 2011 “Year Zero” article at Art of the Title.

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