Yale graduate Kyle Cooper, 41, specializes in crafting title sequences – the short introductions and closings to films, videogames, and television shows that list the names of the cast and crew involved in the production. 

In this boutique industry, Cooper is king. He has designed the lead-ins to 150 features – including Donnie Brasco, the 1996 remake of The Island of Dr. Moreau, Mission: Impossible, Spider-Man, Sphere, Spawn, Twister, and Flubber. The movies themselves may not be cinematic classics, but Cooper’s credits – which operate as minifilms in their own right – consistently stun and entertain audiences. For this spring’s Dawn of the Dead, he even used real human blood. Critic Elvis Mitchell, in his New York Times review of the movie, summed up the Cooper effect: “The opening and closing credits are so good, they’re almost worth sitting through the film for.” Indeed, the word in Hollywood is that some filmmakers have refused to work with Cooper, says Dawn of the Dead director Zach Snyder, because he’s “the guy who makes title sequences better than the movie.” Not since Saul Bass’ legendary preludes to The Man With the Golden Arm (1955) and Vertigo (1958) have credits attracted such attention. Cooper counts Bass’ work, along with Stephen Frankfurt’s lead-in for To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), as his greatest influences.

Grant Curtis, co-producer of Spider-Man and Spider Man 2 says “It’s a unique blend of auteur and creative genius that makes his sequences memorable – but not at the expense of the film. That’s what makes Kyle truly unique, his innate sensibility that opening title sequences are not separate from the film, they’re part of it.”

Cooper has worked on many title sequences for numerous games and movies. I’m already familiar with the Spider man movies, and in particular, love the soundtrack and style to the opening,  so I decided to look at some of the other titles, and compare against. I looked at all the movie openings that Cooper worked on, and my favorite has to be the Spider man one. the blend of the web, as the viewer travels along almost tells a story. The sequel movie utilizes a lot of comic book style images, which also tells the story well. Despite being an opening sequence, I feel that these add enormously to the movie – a boring opening title will most certainly deaden the excitement the viewer originally had. Personally, I feel that the Superman Returns (2006) is rather dull in comparison. I don’t think that the font that was used is particularly appropriate. The same font, albeit in a different color, appears to have been used for the Iron Man (2008) opening. However, while the Superman sequence is primarily changing titles across a fairly dark background, the Iron Man one is very much similar to Spider Man. It tells a story – in this case a perusal of the super powered suit. I’ve never realized the connection between the movies, but now it seems obvious, the style and design are, naturally, similar.

The work of Danny Yount is one of my current favorites. Danny is a Designer/Director specializing in opening sequences and titles to the film and TV industry. He has been recognized internationally for his work in feature film and television main titles. He has earned an Emmy for the Six Feet Under main title (produced at Seattle-based Digital Kitchen), has been elected into the Alliance Graphique Internationale and is currently a creative director at Prologue Films. As a creative director at Prologue he has led design teams for Iron Man II, Sherlock Holmes and Tron Legacy, where title and special graphic visual effects sequences were created. His primary focus is design and live action direction for entertainment clients in feature film and television.

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