Saturday, October 14, 2006

Why I Love Main Titles

Main Titles create an emotional link between the viewer and the show. But for a writer, they are so much more. Here is an excerpt from SUCCESSFUL TELEVISION WRITING, the book I wrote with William Rabkin. The excerpt will be followed by three examples, along with text from the book.

Main titles are created to introduce the audience to the show they are about to see. But for the writer, there is much more information to be gleaned. It is a chance to read the mind of the executive producer. How does he perceive the show? How does he perceive the characters?

How does he perceives the tone? What kinds of stories does he want to tell? Most main title sequences will answer all those questions and more.

There are basically three different kinds of main title sequences: Format sequences, that actually tell you in narration and in writing what the show is about; Mood sequences that convey the type of feeling and tone they are going for; and Character sequences, which delineate who the characters are and how they interact. Many main titles are combinations of these three sequences.

Since TV changes so fast, we’ve chosen some examples from some established series you probably know very well and, if not, can easily find in reruns...

1 comment:

highwayoftomorrow said...

I prefer Format sequences. Particularly Sherwood Schwartz wrote the book on expository opening themes. The Brady Bunch. Gilligan's Island. Easily in the Top Ten sitcom openings if not Top 5. I think that expository Format sequences in dramas come off a little campy- "A QM Production," for instance. do I get the impression you don't like Format sequences as much?