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Title sequence

From Academic Kids

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This example of a title sequence, from long-running serial drama Another World, was seen from 1966 to 1981, making it one of the longest-running continuous title sequences on television.

A title sequence, in a television program or film, is shown at the beginning which displays the show name and credits, usually including actors, producers and directors.

A montage of selected images and possibly a theme song are often included to suggest the essential tone of the series.

One notable example of this is Law & Order, with pictures of black and white New York City photos of crimes, murders, trials, etc. The main characters are zoomed out (photo-printing style), with the police characters appearing in blue tint, and the lawyers appearing in red. On Law & Order: SVU, their characters appear in a yellow-gold tint, and on Law & Order: Criminal Intent the characters are blue-grayish.

On some sitcoms and dramas, the ensemble cast is shown together at the end of the titles. Some shows, like Good Times and Family Ties, went one step further and had the main players sit for a painting, which was then shown in the titles.

In films, title sequences are often controlled by detailed contractual provisions regarding crediting the major players in the film (actors, directors, producers, casting agents, etc.) In some cases, directors have found their desire to make the title sequence they want interfered with by the technical requirements of these contracts. (e.g., that the actors name be at least as large in font size as the title.) Sometimes, these requirements can be avoided by negotiating an amendment to the actor's contract, although that can be expensive, if possible at all.

George Lucas was fined by the Directors Guild of America for refusing to have a standard title sequence in his Star Wars films. After paying the fine, Lucas quit the Guild. By the 1990s, however, it was not uncommon for motion pictures to no longer have opening credits sequences.

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