Watch the Titles

The Poker Club

Dan Savage (2008)

The protagonist and his three friends are playing poker in the attic, when a burglar breaks into the house. A drama ensues. This is, in short, the story of The Poker Club. The titles of this thriller were created by motion designer Dan Savage on a shoestring budget.

The brief was simple: set up a mood for the film in two minutes, preferably using playing cards in some way. Savage: “After the initial style frames were done, which there was some back and forth on, I pretty much took it from there, checking in along the way with very positive feed back.”

Savage was inspired by the details and motifs of the card images. “They reminded me of human organs in an abstract way. Since the movie was a thriller/murder movie, I thought it would be smart to play off that. I also took advantage of the royalty holding weapons, and used transforming the face cards as a way to foreshadow the “backstabbing” that takes place in the movie … I had studied percussion for the past 12 or so years, so I think that inspired the rhythm of my animation.”

“There was practically no budget,” continues Savage, “I art directed, designed, and animated the entire thing with the exception of the 3D chips. I rented the exact gun model from the film and hired Eric Wagliardo to help photograph it. The titles were designed for HD 1080p, so to get the extreme close ups on the card elements I went through the tedious process of scanning in the cards, cutting out the parts I liked, printing, photocopying each part like 20 times to get the nice texture, then scanning each part in to piece it together for animation. It was a lot of late nights and weekends.”

The title sequence was created with Photoshop and After Effects.

Article: Remco Vlaanderen, © Submarine Channel, 19 June 2008.

Year of production


About Dan Savage

Freelance motion designer, director and animator Dan Savage studied graphic design at the Purchase College in New York. “It was very traditional, mostly print and typography based,” says Dan about the program. “I always had a love for animation, so I taught myself After Effects outside of the classroom.”

More about Dan Savage

Full credits

Title designer/Art direction/Design/Animation
Dan Savage
3D chips
Pantelis Vasili, Nikolaides Gun
Eric Wagliardo
Evan Evans
Production company
Chesapeake Films
Director (film)
Tim McCann

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