Being a genre fan means that often times I’m attracted to or given low budget films to watch. Within that view, of course I’m not expecting tons of fireballs, big name actresses going nude, or elaborate sets built on foreign locations. No, low budget comes with its own charm and as a fan I must be willing to look past the occasional rubber knife, bad actor, or cheesy stock footage. After all, you have to save money somewhere. One area I can not forgive a low budget film, or any budget film, for cutting corners is in the title credits. Now, that may seem like I’m being too critical against something that is ultimately inconsequential, but some of these films don’t cut corners they cut cities off the map. The title cards, while generally not important to the heart of the film, are among the first things we see and set the tone for whats to follow. Seeing shitty title cards puts me into a foul mood as I prepare to suffer through an immense pile of shit.
I guess many writer/director/producers figure they can save money by doing the titles themselves. After all, Final Cut Pro has a text button or hey, maybe their Mac came with LiveType pre-installed. With this power at their finger tips they type in their actors name, click “Chiller” as the font, make it red, maybe hit the tilt button, and bam – instant text vomit. There are two fonts that should be deleted from your computer right now: Chiller and Papyrus. These two fonts are the bane of any real designers existence. I study graphic design and texts/fonts in College during a period I like to call the worst year of my life, but I did learn to hate a bunch of new things. Anyway, I’m rambling, but that’s the nature of the column.
The problem with these shortcuts is they look like shit on screen. If the type is rasterized (made into an image) then it can’t scale correctly on the screen and will look blocky. Most of the shit motion controls you have access to will look like doo-doo on someones TV. Adding motion when you’re not experienced at it shows through in choppy, annoying text having a seizure across the screen. But here is what really gets me mad – it doesn’t have to look like this. With $50 and an ad on Craigslist you can find a competent student or burgeoning graphic designer who will do the titles and they’ll look great. Hey, some kids are out there doing it just for fun. It’s a minor expenditure that costs less than ordering pizza for the crew and it will take your titles to a whole new level. You know, either that or just use simple text over black. Or over the picture. But if you’re going for something dynamic, just hire some kid off Craigslist and quit setting the bar low right off the bat. Every time I see shitty, low rent title cards I smack myself in exasperation and seizure right past my boiling point.