Case Study

When the Screaming Starts

Having worked with film director Dom Lenoir previously on a couple of short film title sequences, we needed little persuading in agreeing to work on When the Screaming Starts (WTSS), for which Dom was a producer.

Bringing together a wannabe serial killer, a warped filmmaker, and a murderous cult on a rampage, WTSS is a tenebrous tale of deathly ambition.

The brief was one that tingled our creative senses: to produce an energetic and dynamic introduction that grabs the viewers’ attention. But it didn’t stop there…

It is honestly fantastic what you have created, far greater than we could ever have imagined when we started.

Conor Boru, Director at When the Screaming Starts Film Ltd

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We were also asked to foreshadow the ‘blood and death’ that was to come, and although needing to create something original and fresh it was also imperative that viewers were seduced — while we were asked to play off the true crime documentary clichés.

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Given licence to be inventive with transitions, we were also urged to introduce red herrings and easter eggs. The kind of small details that could only be noticed, or seen, after more than one viewing — pulling on the audiences’ vigilant tendencies, if you will.

So, having had time to fully digest that brief we were introduced to the film’s director, Conor Boru, and we quickly realised that — as with most others who perch in that illustrious hotseat — Conor had already visualised how he wanted the credit sequence to both look and feel.

And having been so close to the film, for such a long time, we expected nothing less.

His vision was both detailed and engulfed in intricacy. It included very particular screen elements and harnessed a very distinct colour palette. We then took a natural course as we discussed reference styles that guided us down avenues of inspiration.

Titles References

Well-known ones included: The Walking Dead (series), True Detective and James Bond’s Skyfall. As WTSS was still in post-production, at that stage we didn't have access to the full-film but we could access behind the scenes/press stills as reference, so we proactively explored some styles of our own.

As always, we genuinely relish such challenges. It means we can dip into the reserves of skills and disciplines: video editing, motion graphics, compositing and visual effects.

Can't recommend Marc and the team enough. Always delivering brilliantly high end work, whether it is commercial, feature film or TV.

Dom Lenoir, Producer at When the Screaming Starts Film Ltd

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We carried out a short animation test to ensure we were heading in the right direction and although this was still very ‘draft’, it allowed us to see movement and helped us progress. 

As always, we put a lot of emphasis on the testing phase while we worked though ideas. This was imperative, meaning that we sharpened these ideas as we approached full execution.

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We sought to underline the main character’s identities, and therefore, developed the sequence further by making separate composited scenes.

Using a multitude of graphic layers, we kept building on these to develop a vivid and rich visual but also one clouded in mysticism — the latter especially important, as Conor was keen not to give too much away before the film began.

We then preceded these by infusing hints of the main character to try and further set the scene.

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Needing to edit an intro sequence we incorporated visual effects that would lead with an emphatic bang, into the main titles. This meant using news reports to drop feed the audience hints of what was to come, all of which slowly built suspense while culminating with a tinge of humour. 

We were given some green screen clips of the actors along with other elements relating to the film, of which we needed to affect into looking like real news reports.

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Our last port of call was to create some relatively simple end credits, albeit in a similar style, to make sure everything pulled together.

It goes without saying that we were super proud to see the film make its debut in the famous Leicester Square, Odeon Cinema, an evening which included an informative Q&A with both the director and cast members. 

The film is available to watch (released by Signature Entertainment), so go check it out. Here’s a sneak peek of the opening titles...

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