Televisual interview: Playing The Title Role


We are delighted to be featured in this months (September) issue of Televisual.

For those of you that cannot get a copy of the magazine, here below is the full interview given by Editor Jon Creamer:

Q: At what stage of the film’s life do you get involved in a project?

A:The lead times we have can vary immensely, sometimes we have to turn projects around very quickly and sometimes we are involved very early on. Since we've been in this business more than 30 years, our clients know we can offer more than opening and closing sequences, for example - sometimes we are called upon to offer consultancy for clients to make recommendations about the structure of their films and series before they are finalized, to help them with keeping the momentum and engagement of the audience throughout the feature.

Q: How are you briefed? And who are you briefed by?

A: That has two answers firstly we have repeat clients like Tim Burton and Stephen Frears who come straight to us on a non-competitive basis. Then there is the first time directors or producers, who we like to chat and share our joint passions in film, TV and life in general. This gives us all a good start and helps build trust from the outset, and luckily we are all still in a people driven business. Also on both cases we like to read the script. Second meetings and briefings could well involve the executives from the studio like Warner Bros. or TV Channel etc.

Q: Are you able to see the finished film before you begin?

A: Yes we would see rough-cut scenes and then followed by a first assembly of the entire movie, which normally is over length and these days with large patches of ‘green screen’, sometimes along with temp music as well.

Q: What informs the concept you come up with?

A: Looking at the under belly of the movie firstly. By which I mean not the visual scenes but more the rhythm, pace, emotions and tone etc. Then it is possible to project a symbolic foretaste of what is to come, and create a receptive atmosphere that will enable the movie to begin hopefully on a higher level of audience engagement, right from the first frame.

Q: Do you have music to work with?

A: No that collaboration comes later down the creative process, once we have all agreed on the chosen visual concept and tone. This can now be formed into a rough animatic timeline to length. Then the composer can score directly on what he or she sees.

Q: Do you come up with a variety of routes and then the producer or director chooses one?

A: It depends, sometimes one idea becomes very clear in the thinking. Sometimes it needs a selection of thoughts.

Q: Can you often create bespoke sequences, are you able to shoot things yourself, use animation?

A: Starting from a blank piece of paper and an open mind. The passion and joy is to see the life come into the sequence by each member of our team adding to the overall communication of the sequence. I will always direct my own scenes that are needed, and we create our own animation and special effects.

Q: How much time do you get to produce the titles?

A: On average, around 3 to 4 months, depending on what is involved. We have been known to work on sequences for more than 8 months, such as Jupiter Ascending.

Q: Is there a good budget for the titles, or are you at the end of the financial chain?

A: Budgets work in accordance to the size scale of the movie at hand. We work across the board, large and small each has its own rewards and problems to win over. We also bear in mind small first time director or production companies today could turn out to be the biggest in time.

Q: Do you work on your own or is a team involved? Who else is involved?

A: The Morrison Studio is a collective. We build individual teams for each project, whether it is a studio motion picture, independent production, interstitial or branding project. It is essential that our team has the highest calibre of creatives, VFX artists, and technicians involved relative to the skill sets required.

Q: What is the secret to great title design?

A: Lots of factors, but essentially I would say a good script. Then It can be pushed creatively.

Jupiter Ascending Title Sequence

WACHOWSKI FILMS The planets have aligned, as we are excited to share the news that we are now underway with the title sequence for The Wachowski's latest movie, Jupiter Ascending for Warner Bros.

After meeting with Lana Wachowski and Post Supervisor Chris Berg here at De Lane Lea in Soho, and having spent the last couple of months in research and development. Dean and I are now underway with our VFX team on-board at The Morrison Studio, planning and scheduling the build of the 3D main and end title sequences along with the end roller.

It's an exciting film for us to be involved with, which will join a long list of Wachowski's films, such as Cloud Atlas, V for Vendetta, Speed Racer and The Matrix Trilogy.

Jupiter Ascending tells he story of Jupiter Jones played by Mila Kunis (Black Swan, The Book of Eli), born under a night sky with signs predicting that she was destined for great things. As an adult she dreams of the stars but wakes up in the cold reality of a job cleaning toilets and endless bad breaks. Along comes Caine (Channing Tatum - Don Jon, White House Down), a genetically engineered ex-military hunter. Arriving on Earth to track her down to show her fate that has been waiting for her all along. A genetic signature marking her as the next in line for an extraordinary inheritence that could alter the balance of the cosmos.

Also starring Sean Bean (The Lord of the Rings, The Island) and Tuppence Middleton (Trance, A Long Way Down), and produced by Grant Hill (Unit Production Manager - Titanic, Speed Racer and The Matric Reloaded) along with both Lana and Andy. The film is due for release later in the summer.

We look forward to keeping you up-to-date with our progress, and sharing with you as we go.

Take a look here at the new trailer, to keep you going in the meantime:


All images and clips shown here remain the property of their respected owners. Copyrights apply.

Euromaxx comes to Soho for Richard Morrison filming

Today, reporter Jens Von Larcher and his film crew from Germany's international broadcaster Deutsche Welle, have joined me in Soho to shoot a short documentary on myself and our title sequence work for 'Euromaxx' - a daily magazine that covers topics from the world of culture and lifestyle. The 4-5 minute feature will be part of a six part series, about people working in different areas of the film industry and will be broadcast worldwide (in various languages) daily from 18th February as part of the tail-end to Berlinale '63 - Berlin's International Film Festival.


Having filmed all this morning together with our VFX team, Lexhag at The Look in Rathbone Street, we have now taken to the streets of Soho to shoot at some of my favourite hotspots such as Bar Italia.

We look forward to sharing the final edit later next week.


Skyfall VFX designs for Silver's hacking screens

Skyfall LogoNow we are sure you have all seen Skyfall, we thought you might like to see some of the stages of our VFX design development for the laptop 'pop-up' animations. I had a call from editor Stuart Baird asking us to come in and meet with Sam Mendes, to discuss the scenes where Silver hacks into M's computer.

After sitting down in the cutting rooms at Goldcrest with Sam and Stuart, having gone through the film to get a background of the story and to understand the direction Sam saw the designs. We went away to develop numerous styles to help clarify the forthcoming threat to 'M'.

Skyfall Concept Screens

Our initial thinking included basic montage style animations, using iconic elements such as the Union Jack and the British Bulldog. Sam's direction was to portray Silver not as a tech wizard, but to have the screens designed with a more sinister nieve childlike approach to appear more threatening and to portray Silver's character more.

Skyfall Concept Screens

After several meetings, the Sugar Skull was introduced into the designs to reflect Silver's South American background and to make the message he was sending 'M' more disturbing. Above are a few frames from the development stages for you to see.

'Pop-up' laptop screen designs © copyright Richard Morrison. All other materials incorporated by us in this blog including, without limitation, any text, graphics, images, artwork, illustrations, photographs, animations, music, video, audio, audiovisual works, designs, logos are protected by copyrights, patents, trade secrets or other proprietary rights owned by its licensors ("Copyrights"). Some of the characters, logos or other images incorporated in this blog are also  protected as registered or unregistered trade marks, trade names and/or service marks owned by other third parties ("Trade Marks"). We respect the intellectual property rights of others and ask readers of this blog to do the same.