About 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'  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."
Pacific Title & Art Studio
Pacific Title & Art Studio has been around since 1919. It was one of the first main title design studios in Hollywood, whose history dates back to the days of silent film. PacTitle was founded in 1919 by Warner Bros. animation artist and producer Leon Schlesinger, the studio quickly became the leading creator of feature film titles.
Schlesinger sold the company in 1935 to Larry Glickman in 1935. Under Glickman, the company flourished for decades as a provider of title design and optical effects for films and the burgeoning television industry.
In the 1990 the company ushered in the Digital Age and transformed itself to become a full service digital post production facility.
The company also gained renown for restoring and preserving classic films, such as the Star Wars trilogy and 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Classic main titles include The Jazz Singer, Gone with the Wind, Ben Hur. More recent work includes main titles for David Lynch' Lost Highway, XXX - State of the Nation, USA Network's The Starter Wife and Little Miss Sunshine.
On June 8th, 2009, Variety posted a short story about the financial problems threatening Pacific Title & Art Studio. (Read the story on Variety)
Variety quotes PacTitle's CEO David McCarthy who said that "tax incentives in other locales and general economic conditions have all combined to create an excessively harsh industry situation that Pac Title could not escape."
Pretty bad news that illustrates the title and VFX industry's slowdown caused by the 2008-2009 recession. Although it seems that other forces have contributed to the company's demise.
3 Main titles by PacTitle on Forget the Film, Watch the Titles: Lost Highway, XXX and The Starter Wife.
Visit the website of Pacific Title & Art Studio
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Visit the website of Greenberg/Schluter