Who Are The People That Make Credits Sequences For Television Shows?
May 5, 2020 1:21 PM   Subscribe

I am enthralled by the opening credits sequences in a lot of shows I watch. I'd like to take my existing skills and experience, and turn them into a job making those sequences myself, but I don't know where to start.

Are there studios that just do opening credits sequences? What sort of training do people who do that sort of thing have? I have a degree in screenwriting, past work history in film/TV/ Entertainment production, and digital art skills that include some familiarity with a variety of Adobe products including Photoshop and After Effects. I'd love to be able to wrap that all up and turn it into a career making opening credit squences, but I'm not sure where to start. I know at least, that I would need some more training with some of the software. I'm not opposed to going back to school if need be, but I just really don't know where to start.

As always, I'm grateful for everyone's time and insight.
posted by WalkerWestridge to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I'm a big fan of the Art of the Title blog, which is all about title sequences. They have interviews with the creative teams for each sequence they highlight and it often gets into discussions of specific software and plug-ins.

Not all posts have interviews but I was recently reading the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse interview and that one definitely gets into the sausage making.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 1:37 PM on May 5, 2020 [9 favorites]

They're called, the last time I checked, motion graphics artists. Saul Bass would probably be considered the most famous of them. There's a niche market right now for big blockbuster movies to have special/fun end credit sequences, as audiences wait for the easter eggs at the end of the movie. Perception is the studio that build the famous Avengers statue credits - and it was a real statue, so any sort of art background outside of design is useful as well.

Graphic design is an extremely hard field to really break into. there's work out there, but doing the cool fun stuff is reserved for the people who are "in". In my extremely limited experience it's a pretty clique-y field.
posted by FirstMateKate at 1:45 PM on May 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I just asked an editor at the studio I'm working at - which does 2D kids' shows - and he said it's one of two here: Either editors themselves or members of the production management crew. There's no standalone "create credits" job for us.

The editors at our studio do it in Premiere Pro. I'm guessing that other studios will use other editing software, e.g. Avid Media Composer, Final Cut, or DaVinci Resolve. I wouldn't be surprised if our production crew members do it in After Effects when they do it.

However, our credits aren't all that complex - it's mostly about getting everybody's names right. The opening and closing sequences that the credits are overlayed on, which are the more visually interesting part, are done by the animation department.

The most reliable way to break into this part of the industry that I've noticed is to go to a school which has professors who work in the industry and to make a great impression on them. Those schools can be pretty expensive, though, so be prepared for some sticker shock. This seems to work best for animators, modelers, riggers, etc.

The less reliable way is to know someone who knows someone who can get you a job as a production assistant or receptionist, then spend the next few years organizing the work of other people while hoping you get a chance somehow to show off your talent.
posted by clawsoon at 1:59 PM on May 5, 2020 [2 favorites]

This agency, Digital Kitchen, does a lot of this kind of work for various HBO shows... hope it helps in your research
posted by wowenthusiast at 2:50 PM on May 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Nthing "Art of the Title". Sometimes the opening/title sequence is done in-house at the production company with their own editors, the house that did pre- or post-vis, or VFX facilities themselves sometimes get the gig. I've known animators, previs, and motion editors to create title sequences. End titles/crawl have gotten more complex and could be interesting, too. Scarlet Letters is one of the oldest and in high-demand studios around. Their body of work is gigantic.
posted by lemon_icing at 2:53 PM on May 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

This kind of work is creatively often similar to a lot of the video created for concerts and other live performances. High-concept, every project’s different, etc. Not that live shows are a growth area right now, but think about that as another way to develop / use these skills.
posted by sixswitch at 6:51 PM on May 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I’m a motion designer and know a lot of folks and studios who do exactly this work. Drop me a line, I can probably answer a lot of specific questions! Email in profile.
posted by caitcadieux at 8:21 PM on May 5, 2020 [1 favorite]

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