I attended the Montreal screening of the film last week and definitely learned a few things. My design history knowledge skews heavily towards Britain and Europe, so it was pretty awesome to see Canadian efforts in the spotlight. I grew up during the period when much of this work was being scrapped in favour of the new, so I never really appreciated some of the systems that we had in place.
The film is showing around the country over the next month, including several more screenings at Cinema du Parc in Montreal. It will be released digitally in the fall.
Thanks to the film’s director, Greg Durrell, for providing me with the film’s title card for this post.
I get a huge kick out of this, mostly because I made it twenty years ago while I was still in high-school. Grunge design was popular and there was an indie font scene happening on the early web. I churned out a bunch of fonts over the span of a year or two, released them all online, but didn’t take it much further. They managed to make it through several site migrations, and are still tucked away in the dusty type section of the site.
All of the fonts were freely available and had a note attached saying to get in touch if you want to use them commercially. I still get the occasional email, mostly people using them for smaller personal projects. So, I was a bit surprised to get a message from a movie studio asking for clearance to use it.
I wanted to reach out because I’m working on Despicable Me 3 and production is interested in using your Plastic Tomato font for a 1980’s style action figure commercial in the movie. The font would be seen on screen (along with other fonts) stating the action figure’s features. If you’re okay with the use, we’d appreciate it if you could sign the attached clearance request.
I signed the request, but wasn’t sure if it would actually make it into the movie. Never got around to seeing it in the theatre, but grabbed a copy when it was released digitally.
And there it is, the font I made in high-school, on-screen (gif) for approximately two seconds!
I was a medium-level juvenile delinquent from Newark who always dreamed about doing a movie. Someone said, “Hey, here’s $7 million, come in and do this genie movie.” What am I going to say, no? So I did it.
“Big Hy” — his handle among many loyal customers — would almost certainly be cast as Hollywood Enemy No. 1 but for a few details. He is actually Hyman Strachman, a 92-year-old, 5-foot-5 World War II veteran trying to stay busy after the death of his wife. And he has sent every one of his copied DVDs, almost 4,000 boxes of them to date, free to American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
By far the most common problem afflicting the writers in Michelsâ€™s practice is procrastination, which he understands in terms of Jungâ€™s Father archetype. â€œThey procrastinate because they have no external authority figure demanding that they write,â€ he says. â€œOften I explain to the patient that there is an authority figure heâ€™s answerable to, but itâ€™s not human. Itâ€™s Time itself thatâ€™s passing inexorably. Thatâ€™s why they call it Father Time. Every time you procrastinate or waste time, youâ€™re defying this authority figure.â€ Procrastination, he says, is a â€œspurious form of immortality,â€ the egoâ€™s way of claiming that it has all the time in the world; writing, by extension, is a kind of death.
I recently saw a link to The Big Lebowski Kit somewhere, clicked through and was expecting something entirely different. I was thinking it would be The Dude’s kit; everything that one needed to get their dude on. Nope, it’s just a bunch of useless crap… “Ooooh, a mousepad, a fake toe and a coffee cup!” We can do a little better than that.
The Dude’s Survival Kit
Here’s what I think should be in The Dude’s survival kit.
bottle of Smirnoff vodka
bottle of Kahlua
carton of cream
Old Fashioned glass
We could probably include some sort of bowling paraphernalia: a ball, a shirt, something bowlingish. And we would need something to hold it all, possibly a battered suitcase or a bowling bag.
The absurdity in Alice in Wonderland is often attributed to drugs or a dark trip into the subconscious. For her PhD work, Melanie Bayley examined some of the most popular scenes from a mathematical perspective, which is summed up in Alice’s adventures in algebra. Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Caroll) was a rather conservative mathematician, who disagreed with many of the new mathematical theories emerging during the 19th century.
The madness of Wonderland, I believe, reflects Dodgson’s views on the dangers of this new symbolic algebra. Alice has moved from a rational world to a land where even numbers behave erratically.
I don’t imagine that Tim Burton’s new Alice in Wonderland will delve too deeply into mathematical theory.
I was watching My Man Godfrey and was struck by the title sequence and its use of typography. Older films generally have the credits first, this one is no different in that respect, but the integration into the film is quite phenomenal — the camera pans across a cityscape, with the cast, crew and title, displayed as blinking signage. The film is now in the public domain, and available for viewing on Google video or download from the Internet Archive.
On a somewhat related note, I thought the title sequence for Bored to Death was quite well done. Although, it’s more in the vein of typography as illustration.
Update: Added graphics from two title sequences. Also thought I’d take a moment to mention Christian’s Movie Title Stills again, which I linked to earlier.