SCREEN AFRICA EXCLUSIVE: This year Bosch was
among the nominees for Outstanding Main Title Design at the 2015 Emmy’s. The
title, which uses a mirrored photography technique, was designed and produced by
US-based Imaginary Forces with creative director Grant Lau at the helm. Lau
discussed the title design process with Screen Africa.
In the last few years there seems to have been an increase in the quality
of television programming. Has this affected the production of title sequences?
It has definitely affected the production of title sequences. It has given us title
designers more interesting titles to work on.
Can you talk through the process of creating a title sequence – from
briefing to the final product?
You start with a call or meeting with the director or show runners. You get briefed
on the project. Then we figure out what the solution should be. We create a
presentation and present to the clients. They either like it or don’t, and we continue this back and forth until we end up with our final product. I wish there was
something earth shattering I could say but it has been pretty much the same process
from when I started 18 years ago.
How long does this normally take?
Depends, I’ve been on two week deadlines to six months to a year. Normally in a
perfect world, it should take a month or two.
Often title sequences are given less consideration within a budget – do you feel this is the case and has there been any change in this over the last few years?
This is true to an extent. It also depends on who’s running the show itself. I think
more people and directors are educated about the main titles now and how a good
main title can give the show a little bit more exposure. But nothing beats a good
show by itself. A great main title is never gonna save a show.
What kind of crew is required to produce a title?
That all depends on the budget. Sometimes all they can afford is me and we have
to make due. It’s part of the process with each title sequence.
How intensive is your brief when creating a title sequence? Is it very
specific? Are you given some room for your own ideas and creativity?
It all depends on who we are working with. Some directors are specific and some
have no idea which is why they come to us to help them figure it out. Sometimes they have a little idea and we work to develop it. It can be a very collaborative thing, which I enjoy.
Where do you draw inspiration from for a title sequence?
From the show itself. You kind of can’t be selfish here and do whatever you want.
Your job here is to complement and set up the show you are about to watch. Well
that’s how I feel at least.
How important a role do music and animation play?
It goes hand in hand. Sometimes our hands are tied and the show has a song picked out and we have to make the best of it. But we always start the conversation by picking what we think is best for what we are doing.
What role does a title sequence play in the mind of the viewer?
Hopefully to get you hyped for the show. To set-up your mind frame to what you
are about to watch. I would hope it doesn’t distract you. If it does then whoever
created it is not doing the show justice.
What about the title sequence you created for Bosch do you
think makes it so captivating?
A simple idea with intriguing imagery. And trying to see things a little differently.
Watch the title sequence for Bosch: