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Escape From L.A. > Exclusive Interviews > Nina Saxon (Title Designer)

How did you end up being a title designer and which movies are you the most proud of?

I wanted to work in film production and my mentor got me a job in post-production of special effects (that I had studied at UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles). The job was working in an optical house animating the red bullets for Star Wars. I had a good sense of "timing" leading to jobs on commercials with effect techniques. I am most proud of Romancing the Stone, Back to the Future 1, 2, 3 as well as supervising the feather and designing the type for Forest Gump as well as the recent Salt.

How do you create the titles and how do you work with directors etcetera to get the right look?

I produce, budget and art direct all main and end titles, logos and animated corporate logos working alongside the producers and directors who hire me along with the editors. I partner with designers as well as animators and typesetter depending on the project's needs.

How did you get the assignment to do the title design for Escape From L.A.?

I was hired on Escape From L.A. by its producer Debra Hill (Producer/Co-Writer).

How did you come up with the title design and did John Carpenter (Director/Co-Writer/Co-Composer) have any specific requests?

I would say that it is by conceptual instinct and watching a lot films as well as seeing other designer's work (Saul Bass in particular) that inspire me. It is an art form, a "moving introduction" like a book cover that introduces a film. John Carpenter had no requests other than I follow my instincts to reflect the theme of the film (i.e. (That is) an action film would be entirely different than a romantic film in the design of its logo, titles or title sequence.)

Was the classic Albertus font used in many John Carpenter (Director/Co-Writer/Co-Composer) movies such as Escape From New York always the first choice?

No. We showed many and they chose it anyway.

How many were involved in making the title sequence, how long did it take to make and were there any problems making it?

There were two of us designing the main titles for Escape From L.A. Myself and my typesetter who supplied me with various samples for me to chose and show on paper. It took approximately three weeks. Designing an entire title sequence for a film (either at the head or the tail) takes much longer starting with storyboards, animating samples and finishing.

Did you have any input on the sounds used in the title sequence?

Editors, director and producers have their own opinions.

Are there any other John Carpenter movies you'd like to have worked on?

I never worked on any other John Carpenter film known mostly for directing independent and low budget films with simple typography as a result.

What do you think of the movie personally?

I thought that the film Escape From L.A. was well-executed and predictable as an action film featuring a major star at the time.

What are you currently doing and what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I currently just finished the titles (type over live action films) for Phillip Noyce (director), Above Suspicion. In my spare time I love daily intense exercise, taking Emeritus classes, procuring art with my husband, enjoying living in Santa Monica near the ocean, going to "foodie" restaurants as well as quality time at home with my husband, Elliott (an insurance expert witness) and our English mini golden doodle Gracie.

Thank you for your time, Nina.

More about Nina Saxon here: