Published on February 20, 2014
Conventions of opening title sequences Fateh Khaled 8703
Introduction Title sequences are used in films and television programmes to list the most important members of the production. They are now shown usually shown as text superimposed on a blank screen or static pictures, or sometimes on top of action in the show. Opening title sequences may or may not be accompanied with music.
The main conventions within a film Production/distribution company (including logo) Title of the film Cast and crew Characters and setting Sound Narrative enigma Possible encoded signifiers (ie. A gun can symbolise death with the same weapon at a later stage)
Examples - Companies Production name/distribution company: One of the key convention within an opening title sequence is having the production name, this allows the audience to familiarise with the production company itself and may refer to other films made by this company depending on how good the film was. Screenshot taken from Sweeney Todd.
Title of the film Title of the film: The title of the film within an opening title sequence is vital, it can give a hint to the audience of what the film is going to be about, for example just by looking the title from ‘Catch me if you can’ suggests that the films could be fast and action packed with ‘on the run’ with situations.
Cast and Crew Cast and crew Another convention within opening title sequences is listing the main characters and the people associated with the film (producers, directors, editors) For example, in Memento the main actor is stated first (Guy Pearce), shortly followed by other acots/actresses, producers and editor (Dody Doom)
Characters and setting Characters and setting: Within an opening title sequence, there is always an introduction to a certain character; this tends to be the main character so that the audience can familiarise with the character and understand their lifestyle. The character can also be introduced via a specific setting, this tends to be the main setting.
Sound Another key convention of an opening title sequence is sound. The sound can come in different forms such as dialogue and soundtrack. It lets us make various interpretations, for example if we hear a man with a croaky threatening voice then we say immediately conclude that this person is an antagonist and a sign of danger. Soundtrack and theme tunes gets stuck into the audiences head and so they can associate it with the film, for example with Jaws if someone hears the Jaws soundtrack they instantly associate it with sharks.
Narrative Enigma Narrative enigma is when the filmmakers intentionally arise questions to the audiences head, making them think ‘what is happening, why it is happening’ etc. It is done so that tension is built towards the film and gives an element of mystery to the viewers and slowly unravels as the film progresses. For example relating back to Memento, when the man has bullets in his car seat it makes us the audience think why are there bullets and what is has to do with the storyline.
Encoded signifiers Another convention of opening title sequences are encoded signifiers. Encoded signifiers are specific items that are ‘encoded’ within a film to help or supposedly give hints to the audience that may require to decode them, they can also be symbols. For example in the opening title sequence there may be a gun which may make us think that this gun will come in handy or be used later in the film, this can also be within in a film; ie red associated with blood and death.
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