Karin Fong: Film Titling & Film Titling as Experience

While watching the two assigned videos for Karin Fong, I was automatically captivated by her passion and enthusiasm towards animating title sequences. The creation and impact of title sequences is something that people don’t really give enough credit to–they’re often overlooked if not skipped over by a vast majority of audiences, Netflix’s recent “SKIP INTRO” option has sparked some controversy mainly for allowing the creator’s hard work and passion to be disregarded entirely. But despite all of that, it was incredibly refreshing to see the person behind the brilliance of title sequences be so enthusiastic about their craft.

Creating title sequences alone is a daunting task, you have to pretty much summarize the entirety of the film’s message while encapsulating themes and motivations all without giving too much away, and Fong makes it seem so natural and effortless. I loved how innovative her approach was when tackling a concept with specific parameters, she explains her experience with animating the title sequence for Terminator: Salvation as wanting something that paid homage to the original title sequence for the viewers who were familiar with the original film, while also presenting something new and fresh to the newer audiences. Fong often takes a clever and innovative spin on something classic and respected, and that’s an achievement that is not easily obtained. I also really respected the way she looked at creating a title sequence for a film series, she respects the reputation the film had previously made for itself, she never goes into a project wanting to completely reinvent a films “brand”, instead she finds a way to bring bits and pieces from the previous film into the new iteration.


               Karin Fong’s Terminator: Salvation- Title Sequence


When one thinks of the work that goes into animating a title sequence, they typically never consider the programming and science that goes into it. It’s so much more than just an artist’s creativity, it takes logic and planning, and I love that Fong elaborated on that and made it known that it’s not just an artist sitting alone in a dark room and hand drawing every frame. It takes a team of talented and innovative individuals to get the job done. Fong spoke about the ways she used these outlets of different mediums to create something new, for example, using depth cameras and taking that data and turning it into images with a unique 3D finish that would have never been accomplished using purely hand animation.

As an animation major and film minor, I felt myself identifying with a lot of what Fong had to say. The way she explained her love for the marriage of storytelling and image is one of the reasons why I wanted to pursue animation as a career–“I love working with film as a medium, I’m drawn to surrealism and with film you just get the perceived reality of live action and can combine it with all the whimsical nature of animation”. Animation is such a captivating skill, and although it takes so much time and effort, the outcome is always worth it. I was able to learn a lot from Fong, the way she went about the process of ideation for title sequences, the research she does to allow her to go below the surface level of an idea, to completely immerse herself in the setting and plot to create the most accurate representation through the title sequence. Fong’s career is one of my dream ones, and I hope to one day be just as successful and talented as she is, and I fully intend on keeping her inspiration and techniques with me throughout my journey as an animator.