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Titles

I was originally planning to build an elaborate title sequence out of LEGO, and knocked out a first draft with this in mind that went with the CDF budget application. However, I just didn't like this approach. It felt cheesy, didn't look cool and gave the main gag away. If there's one thing a Magic Portal should have, is mystery and a little suspense. Plus the LEGO titles, unless I really pulled off something elaborate, would make the film look just some kiddiewink's lark, and not be so...serious enough.

FADE into an overhead shot of grey LEGO board, revolving clockwise.
The MAGIC PORTAL, shimmering in different colours, appears. Four red "streaks" appear and trace into a crossroad pattern.
SHOT 1a 2s
As this happens, the shot pivots down to a horizontal shot.
SHOT 1b 2s

The board rotates still and we catch a glimpse down through the PORTAL, which has become a tunnel. The entrance still shimmers, but the tunnel doesn't.
(The PORTAL is MAGICAL as it is plainly ignoring common sense: on one side it is an empty doorway; on the other it is a long coridoor(sic).

SHOT 1c 2s
The board continues to rotate, but stops when the PORTAL is side on.
SHOT 1d 1s
The PORTAL expands into a WALL. The words "The MAGIC Portal" inscribe themselves on its surface. The words hold for a second then vanish. The Wall sinks into the ground. The "streaks" retract and vanish. As this happens the shot begins rotating again.
SHOT 1e 5s
The shot elevates into the black sky. Stars fade into view.
SHOT 1f 3s

...then we'd bring on the big LEGO spaceship doing its Nostromo impression. So: plain and bold lettering. Simple white on black. But not just any old thing - it was bad enough trying to get as much quality and good looks out of this ramshackle production, and I certainly didn't want to just shoot some shitty old letters on black cardboard. Simple, but elegant. Quite a few weeks passed tossing and turning along this line of thought. I can see how designers fret and worry over the smallest of details in fonts and logos. It really does matter with type. Opening titles set the tone and establish audience expectations and aren't to be underestimated.

The big, hollow letters in a serious, no-nonsense, sharp edged, but plain sort of font on black with no sound were inspired (i.e. swiped) from Citizen Kane. Plus, I wanted to surprise the audience a small bit: one or two restrained title cards (if that) and then a dark spaceship looming out of the dark, bringing all the sound and colour with it. Then - surprise! - its LEGO! The best font for the job was Futura Medium: it looked just fabulous on 2001: A Space Odyssey. Serious and arty, but not so aggressive; sharp edged, but not quite horror-show. Its squared off edges and perfect circles complemented standard issue LEGO geometry rather well, I thought.

All the titles and credits were shot professionally on a rostrum camera by John Tollemach, a rostrum cameraman I knew from my brief stints at Fox Creative in Perth. They were the last bits of film ever shot in the production, a few years after production had started, and I really wanted them free of bumps, jogs and fingerprints.

Last modified Sat, May 29 2004 by Lindsay Fleay