The Little Death: Title Sequence


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Film Title Sequence: Pitch, Design, Animation, Compositing (After Effects)

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The Little Death is an Australian comedy by Director Josh Lawson, about four suburban couples and their various kinky proclivities.

When I was given the opportunity to pitch titles for the movie, my first impressions were from reading a draft of the script emailed to me by the director. What I read was provocative, eye-opening, emotional, thoughtful, a little weird, and blackly hilarious – often all at once.

The sexual neuroses of the characters are far from one-dimensional, and so to me the challenge of the titles was to succinctly convey a very complicated combination of emotions. It had to allow us to laugh, perhaps be a little risqué, yet still maintain an underlying respect for the seriousness of the material.

Originally pitched as an opening title rather than an ending credit,I proposed a sequence that meshed the seriousness and humour of the fetishes by viewing them through the lens of a textbook filled with definitions, diagrams, and illustrations, with credits and references sprinkled throughout. I called this “The Joy of Diagrams”.

The textbook, through it’s attempt at medical/psychological objectivity, allows us moments of humour without personal judgement: an impersonal view of deeply personal issues. We all remember diagrams of sex-ed in school textbooks. At once innocent, scientific, and objective, they are also provocative and awkwardly funny, sexual but not pornographic, clinical but rich with innuendo.

I aimed to show diagrams and instructions that were beautiful in their simplicity and matter-of-factness. Stylistically, there are nods to Ikea manuals and airline safety cards – right down to the vacant or random expressions often seen in such illustrations. The layout and diagrams are classic, minimal, clean. The typographic detail was extremely important, chosen to represent the printed encyclopaedias I remembered from childhood, with finer text rendered as lines and blocks in order to concentrate the viewers attention on the main credits. The limited colour palette and warm pink glow illuminating the darkness was set very early on in the pitch and applied to the opening titles, interstitials, and end credits.

The sequence rapidly summarises the concept of la petite mort, giving an overview of some of the fetishes in the movie, introduces us to cast and crew, skims over some case studies, features some clues from the storyline, and has a lot of fun with some potentially difficult material.

The Little Death premiered at the Sydney Film Festival and Toronto Film Festivals, and has sold to
Magnolia Pictures (US), Wild Bunch (Spain), Weltkino (Germany and Austria), Kaleidoscope (UK and Ireland) and California Film (Latin America).

Download The Little Death on iTunes

Credits:

Pitch, Design, Animation, Compositing:
Scott Geersen

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