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  • Scott Garland

Show Don't Tell.

How can effective branding make a film or video more interesting? What can truly make this piece stand out? Well everyone in the film industry is familiar with the phrase "show don't tell." It's a pivotal rule of film making and writing in general. To share your ideas through visuals is more engaging and memorable than just pure exposition. Where a lot of film makers don't always understand this concept is in the text, or title sequence of a movie.


Text Shouldn't Be An Afterthought

Titles and text in film can really help propel the professionalism and A glaring example of this is small-budget films or straight to TV movies. These Lifetime original movies 'Home Is Where The Killer Is" and "The Wrong Stepfather" are perfect examples of poor typography execution.

In the first example the words 'IS' 'THE' and 'IS' are being singled out and made larger from the rest of the text for absolutely no reason. It doesn't show significance to anything in the movie, nor is it a play on any rule of design besides confusion. In our second example the font choice is very generic and obvious that this movie is trying to be gritty or mischievous in some way. Lastly both of these title sequences are simply lazy with them both just being a font on a black background, and not to mention both titles aren't even centered to the frame.


Why Effective Branding Can Set the Tone

Strong design and striking typographic layouts are what can make a film stand out from similar films or evoke emotion. A great example is Andy Muschietti's 2017 adaptation of Stephen King's 'It' where the audience is put in depth of the sewers with the camera rotating out and revealing the branded 'It' logo hovering over the dark water.

The graphics team did a fantastic job setting the tone of the rest of the film where we later see the group of friends known as the 'losers club' enter the sewers later on looking for one of the members' lost brother Georgie. The antagonist in the film is a clown named "Pennywise the dancing clown" or 'It,' who dwells in the sewers and prays on children in the small town of Derry, Maine. This title sequence evokes a sense of horror and dread as we eerily twist our way out of the dark sewers and are greeted by a deep red, almost life-size title logo reading 'It.'


Both the films logo and title sequence are integral to the film's branding and marketing. Putting forth the extra effort and time to execute something complimentary to the films mood can easily add emotion and pull the viewer into the world of your film.

In Stanley Kubrick's film The Shining, this simplistic text crawl is set over the opening helicopter shot where a low and droning music is being played. All the shots in this opening sequence are winding through the mountain side following the car as it makes it way up to the infamous 'Stanley Hotel' with the text being the only stable thing in all these shots.

Text in film can have a purpose, it doesn't always have to be an after thought. Effective typography can actually pull the audience into the world of your film and help them get even more out of your work. Do something different, and it can even be iconic.

A selective point of view.




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