Watch the Titles

Bruce Schluter

Bruce Schluter has been designing title sequences since the late 1980s. He learned the tricks of the trade at R/GA, had his own company for a while and he teamed up with Richard Greenberg to form Greenberg/Schluter. Nowadays, Schluter designs for another prolific company that specializes in title design, Pacific Art & Title Studios. He worked on the title sequences of The Last Boyscout, Star Trek First Contact, The Long Kiss Goodnight, The Matrix, Miami Vice (the movie), Ricochet xXx: State of the Union and The Starter Wife.

I asked Bruce Schluter a few questions about his work as a title designer.

How did you get involved in Title design?
Schluter: “I was a book illustrator in New York. I started doing storyboards for a director friend of mine, which got me interested in the film business. I read about R/Greenberg Associates and offered my services for free, since I had no real film experience. A month later I was put on staff… A year later I was creative director… Three years later, one of the brothers, Richard Greenberg, had made plans to leave the company and asked me to be his partner in LA.”

What kind of company was Greenberg/Schluter at that time?
Schluter: “We always were a small company. It was at a time when we were able to contract all production out to other vendors, so we basically just designed and directed our work. This meant a lot of driving from vendor to vendor to see or shoot elements. We had computers, but they were basically for creating presentations. The last few years of our partnership, we started doing our own 2D animation and some pre-vis 3D. Our division was that Richard “sold” and “produced”, and I “designed” and “directed”. Although clients often thought it was the reversed role, since they knew him through R/Greenberg associates, were he played more of a creative role.”

What was the first Title done by Greenberg/Schluter?
Schluter: “Our first job out here was developing a script and visuals for a film called ‘The Wall People’, which was later “picked up” and renamed back to it’s original book title ‘The Borrowers’ [released in 1992]. I believe ‘Hudson Hawk’ [1991] was the first film title sequence we did.”
Almost all motion graphic design is done with computers nowadays. What’s the most important change that came with the introduction of digital compositing?
Schluter: “It is a whole new business. Design is the same, but you are not so concerned while you are designing on how it is going to be made, which I always kept in the back of my mind while boarding back then – “Budget and methodology”. Computers also created spec work, since it is easy to produce a sample. It would have been costly to shoot an element and composite it as a spec sample back then.”