Meet living design legend and arguably the greatest main title designer of all time— Kyle Cooper, co-founder of Prologue Films and Imaginary Forces. He’s worked on title designs for movies like “Braveheart,” “Se7en,” “Dawn of the Dead,” “Mission Impossible,” “Iron Man,” and many more.
Filmed live at the Futur studio in Los Angeles.
00:01 Presenting the Dreamworks logo to Steven Spielberg
01:36 Q: Why did you start Imaginary Forces?
05:00 It’s hard to keep a group of dynamic creatives together
06:40 Q: What did you learn from your experience running the company?
08:04 No Plan B: Be specific about what it is you want to do
08:28 Take risks when you are young, you have less to lose
09:07 Golden Handcuffs: Fear based choices can leave you in situations you are not happy in
10:52 Q: Why didn’t Imaginary Forces work for you?
12:47 Q: How do you select projects to work on?
14:45 Don’t be afraid to say no
16:26 Why Kyle is willing to go over budget for the sake of quality
18:07 Leaving all the business decisions to chance or other people is how you get taken advantage of.
20:09 Collaboration: Form ideas that take advantage of your team’s strengths and differences
22:30 Q: What criteria are you looking for when hiring people?
26:05 Q: Where do you find inspiration for your work?
27:37 Break down the process into smaller components
31:50 Q: Where do concepts come from?
36:30 Designers usually bring their baggage to a project – and cannot understand the true problem.
37:05 Listen to the work & look for serendipitous things
43:45 Say something good to yourself – Quieting negative self-talk
46:00 The battle that we have as creatives are within ourselves.
46:28 Look for the one that will work – Focus on what you have to gain
47:16 It’s hard to listen to the work if you’re an arrogant, narcissistic control freak
49:55 Q: What drives your decisions now?
About Kyle Cooper:
“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.” These words from Ecclesiastes 9:10, oft quoted by Kyle Cooper, embody the spirit that has made his film sequences iconic. Fittingly, they apply to his most influential piece to date: the main titles for the film Se7en (1995), where we watch a psychotic killer’s hands in the throes of creation. This maniacal sequence—every one-frame cut was considered—became a phenomenon, bringing main titles to the attention of the public and inspiring countless designers to pursue the craft., By the time he worked on Se7en, Cooper was already a title-sequence veteran, with more than 40 credits to his name. Today his reel includes many memorable titles in modern cinema: Spiderman, Dawn of the Dead, Mission: Impossible, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and Argo among them. As a designer and director, his impact on popular culture extends to commercials (Nike and Chrysler), broadcast opens (The Walking Dead and American Horror Story) and an Emmy award–winning sequence for The Academy Awards. As director Terrence Malick simply states, “Kyle is a great filmmaker.”, What Cooper succeeds in doing is elevating film with the power of graphic design.
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