#STORY11 :: Kyle Cooper

Kyle Cooper has directed over 150 film title sequences, and has been credited with “almost single-handedly revitalizing the main-title sequence as an art form”. He is the founder of two internationally recognized film design companies, Imaginary Forces and Prologue Films. Cooper earned a M.F.A. in Graphic Design from the Yale School of Art, where he studied independently with Paul Rand. Cooper is a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale and holds the honorary title of Royal Designer for Industry from the Royal Society of Arts in London.
  • Kyle is starting by quoting the Prologue of Henry V.
  • I had a rough childhood. There were a lot of good things, but it was hard.
  • But I could control what I was drawing.
  • I could identify with Henry V. One day he woke up and decided to be king and put all of his hardship behind him.
  • I looked to Henry V when I was trying to name my first company. I found the words of imaginary forces.
  • I named this company Imaginary Forces. It was a group of people in this together. We’re pursuing this muse of fire. Something so amazing, that it would ascend the brightest heaven of inventions.
  • In making these main titles which are a story, you need to involve the audience, and have someone understand your idea.
  • My father would always say to me “The only thing you can ever have is what you give away.”
  • I can be someone who is going to compete and beat everyone. Or I can be someone who is working as unto the Lord.
  • I try to involve other people and give other people my vision.
  • “Others” for me are the people I build with.
  • CS Lewis talks about in the introduction not meditating too much on the dark things.
  • My father said to me “Why would you cut God out of the dollar bill?” in reference to the intro to Seven.
  • I told him that I wasn’t cutting God out of the dollar bill. John Doe was cutting it.
  • As storytellers I don’t want to work on something that was kind of nihilistic. My tendency is to draw monsters. If you ask me what I’m thinking, I’ll say “There is evil in the world.” And I kind of like stories that talk about the darkness, but at the end of the story they talk about how God wins.
  • Everything your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.
  • In these title sequences they have things in them for a reason.
  • The idea comes out of what the content is. I try to put myself into it. I want to try to make people feel something.
  • Someone said to me that it is difficult to make someone feel melancholy. But we can use this to tell some back story that the director may have left out.

Q&A

 

  • David
    • One of the things you said was that CS Lewis said you shouldn’t really think about this stuff. What is he saying?
  • Kyle
    • He wanted to write this correspondence between a senior devil and jr devil. He wanted to show the ways Satan gets at people.
    • He was saying that it was difficult for him to mediate on these things. He would have to spend a lot of time in prayer. He recommended that it we shouldn’t have an unhealthy interest in these things.
    • Don’t spend so long in the dark places.
  • David
    • You have gone on a journey of faith in this.
    • Could you share more about that?
  • Kyle
    • My grandmother would wash me in the sink and she would tell me about Jesus. I have always believed in God and Jesus.
    • But coming from a hard place, and not knowing what to do.
    • Tolkien led CS Lewis to faith. And there are some dark things in the Lord of the Rings.
    • There is a lot of darkness but at the end its God is going to win.
  • David
    • I was interested in what you said about people getting upset about darkness in films, but not about darkness in the news and society.
  • Kyle
    • Its my job to do main titles for feature films.
    • I believe in God and in Jesus. A lot of our credibility comes into question if we don’t do our best.
    • If you make something at high level then you will have credibility.
    • I want to do a trilogy of the screwtape letters.
    • There are plenty of ideas, but it is the way that you execute them that is important.
  • David
    • Thank you for being honest.
    • One thing you talk about is working alone vs. working with others. Do you find it difficult working with others?
  • Kyle
    • Yes
    • When my guys that I hire have done something great, I feel good about it.
    • Giving opportunities away and giving advice away.
    • Artists and designers tend to be selfish. So to get them to be a team is challenging.
  • David
    • What is a piece of wisdom you have for us as creatives.
  • Kyle
    • Don’t give up.
    • Don’t be selfish.
    • Give it away.
    • Take your gift and give God glory.

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