3 min read

#251 - Are Opening Titles Dying?

Are we losing the art of the opening title sequence?

Does that even matter?

In a word, yes. But we'll get to why in a minute.

Nolan VS Fincher

You can see where things currently stand for yourself, by comparing two modern filmmaker's penchant for a 'traditional' opening title sequence and next to nothing.

Here are the opening titles for the Nolan Batman Trilogy.

And here are just a selection of Fincher's opening title sequences.

As you can see, there's quite a difference.

Why Opening Title Sequences Matter

This issue of Cut/daily features a brilliant video essay celebrating the history, creativity and purpose of the Opening Title Sequence.

Here's why you should watch the whole 24 minutes from start to finish.

(Yeah, it's really 24 minutes.)

You have to know the past to understand the present.*

— Carl Sagan

If you want to understand the language of film, and speak it eloquently, then you have to study it. By that, I mean, watch a lot of films, TV shows, documentaries, trailers, adverts, music videos etc.

We all do that, but we also have our own 'canon' of material.

(All the more so with Netflix's algorithm shaping what you're even presented with.)

One of the benefits of doing a film degree, was being exposed to parts of cinematic history I had no idea existed. It helped me see and be inspired by a much wider range of films and filmmakers.

I remember once being horrified when I tried to reference the long-single take in Goodfellas, to a young assistant editor and he had no idea what I was talking about.

But then again, he wasn't even born in 1990.

So just make sure you're also watching stuff that was made before you were born.

Anyway, investing these 24 minutes of your life (and then making a list of the films that look interesting that the narrator, Patrick H. Willem's, discusses) will set you on a course for discovering new ideas, new approaches and new aesthetic techniques.

*“The only thing that we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history.” – Georg Hegel

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