The Art of the (Title) Smoke

One of my favo(u)rite movies on this site full of movie and tv series credit sequences. There is also the Donnie Brasco title sequence. I remember it being mentioned in Hillman Curtis’ book MTIV – Process, Inspiration and Practice for the New Media Designer that I read many years back.

This section of the book is based on the talk I gave that day. And
the talk itself grew out of a simple practice of sharing we have at the

It worked like this: If I was reading a great book – say, Making Movies by
Sidney Lurnet, (Vintage Books) – I would hand it to our creative
director, Ian Kovalik, as soon as I was done. He would then read it and
hand it to Homera. Or perhaps Grant would come in, and, as his computer
was starting up, turn and say to me, “Did you see the Viola show up on
57th Street? It’s amazing,” at which point I would shake my head in
disbelief, ashamed that I wasn’t aware that there was a new Bill Viola
show. I would recover quickly enough, though, to mention the
Phillip-Lorca diCorcia show at the Pace/MacGill Gallery in SoHo. And so

The point is that, in our small shop, we’re always
collecting inspiration and sharing it with each other. We then use
those shared inspirations as starting points, like blueprints or maps,
for our own work. Sometimes we even find ourselves using them to
directly communicate our ideas, suggesting “a little Kyle Cooper”
(Donnie Brasco, not Seven…) here, and “a touch of Brockmann” there. And
always, always chanting the classic Hemmingway line, “Write the story,
take out all the good lines, and see if it still works” as we go.

I hope to make clear with this section is that we are all, as
creatives, tying to do the same thing. That regardless of our medium,
whether it be design, poetry, fiction, painting, filmmaking, or any
other form of creative expression, at the core of everything we do lies
the need to communicate.

Feel it is about time I gave it a second read.

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