Nerve is a teenage techno-thriller about an app which is a “twenty-four hour game, like Truth or Dare minus the truth.” Its directors, Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost, asked us to create its main title sequence along with the graphics for the app.
Some of the following text is excerpted from a longer interview we gave with Art of the Title about the process of creating the movie’s graphics.
One of Nerve’s themes is the ubiquity of the web and its effect on our lives. We felt the main title sequence should encompass the past two decades of visual language on computers, phones, and the Internet. The rule was: each title should contain a reference to a website, app, game interface, or other visibly recognizable slice of screen culture, but also must be set in the same font at the same size and placement.
The card for Music Supervisors is a recreation of iTunes’ now-defunct Cover Flow display animation, including parodies of Fleetwood Mac, Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, and Kanye West album covers.
One title is a sped-up screen recording of a web page we built with the film editor’s name set in widely-spaced Comic Sans being edited in Chrome’s Developer Tools so the title is set in the correct font with the correct spacing.
NERVE the app is an underground game in which teens carry out increasingly extreme dares while others pay to watch, film and challenge them. With text and graphic elements popping up on almost every other shot as part of the app-within-a-movie, Nerve needed us to make sure all that visual material looked like it was coming from the same place.
There are the app components on the characters’ phones and laptops, and then there is the movie frame itself, which often goes into game mode, wherein a character’s Player ID and Watcher count — each player has a Watcher count, and the players with the highest Watcher counts are the top scorers — are displayed in the corners of the screen.
We also made “splash pages” composed entirely of animated gifs, both sourced and constructed, which explain the game to the players (and the audience).