Watch the Titles

Bedtime Stories

Simon Cassels, Asylum (2008)

Bedtime Stories is your typical Disney family film about bedtime stories coming to life. The opening title sequence uses the currently fashionable idea of a pop-up storybook. We talked to title director Simon Cassels (his title sequence for Down With Love also contains a scene with a pop-up book), who also created the end sequence for the movie in the same pop-up book style. Both sequences are included in the movie above.

Simon Cassels: “Bedtime Stories is a film about the magic of storytelling. Our goal was to evoke this sentiment throughout the main title, building upon this idea of a dream-like world without limits. A world cohabited by knights and UFOs alike – a place that reflects and connects fantasy tropes across generations. Technically, we were tasked with the challenge of animating and designing this world in a way that literally unfolds before your eyes as it seamlessly transitions into the opening scene of the film.”

“A major source of inspiration in this piece was the work of Thomas Allen, which I’d gotten the opportunity to see firsthand at Photo L.A.,” Cassels explains. “Since then, I became interested in pursuing an animated project that employed a similar design philosophy – one that played with both collage and dimensionalization. So when director Adam Shankman called up saying that he was interested in an opening sequence that involved pop-up books – I was over the moon – this would be a perfect fit to bring this technique to life. I had worked with Adam on the titles for Hairspray and we immediately clicked on a vision of playful kitsch that would both introduce and draw the viewer into a world of fantastical possibility and childhood nostalgia.”

“The wealth of reference material in childrens literature coupled with the broad chronology that the film’s fantasies covered, made for a wonderfully freeform stage to begin building upon. Coincidentally, at the same time I also had become a dad, so a lot of the research was already underway… Ultimately, in creating our characters and environments we drew on various sources of inspiration ranging from traditional children’s illustrations to pulp novel covers.”

End sequence

“About halfway through designing the opening sequence it was decided that they would also need an ending sequence as well that would act as an epilogue for main characters. So we scrambled to meet this new request, essentially having to create two animated sequences in a schedule allotted for one. It was a worthwhile challenge in that we were able to bookend this film with work that showcased a free-flowing eclectic approach at the beginning at the film as well as a section that served a more narrative yet playful purpose at the end.”

Year of production


About Simon Cassels

Simon Cassels designed main and end title sequences for movies such as xXx, Austin Powers in Goldmember, Transformers, Down with Love, Bedtime Stories, and over a dozen more. He currently works as a creative director at Asylum Visual Effects where he directs design-based commercials and feature film work.

More about Simon Cassels

Full credits

Titles designed and directed by
Simon Cassels/Asylum Visual Effects
Illustration and design
Tony Meister, Aaron Benoit and Colby Bluth
Animated in Maya by
Craig Van Dyke and Michael Warner
Rendered in RenderMan by
Aaron Vest
Composited in the Inferno by
Stefan Smith
Film director
Adam Shankman

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