Santa Monica, CA, July 20, 2019 — Nina Saxon, one of the entertainment industry’s leading designers specializing in main and end titles, title sequences, and animated motion graphics logos for major motion pictures, television movies and TV programs, as well as for entertainment production companies, is currently celebrating her 40thAnniversary Year in Hollywood. Concurrently, her newest project – designing the film titles for the upcoming documentary about Paul McCartney entitled “Here, There, and Everywhere,”will mark Saxon’s 350th career title project. Over the span of her 40-year career, Saxon established herself as a pillar of title sequence design, a defining figure of the branded blockbuster film, a logo legend, and a master of painting with light.
In 1996, critic Laurie Halpern Benenson, writing for the New York Times, called Nina Saxon “one of the most sought-after designers in the business” and it was true: some years, she could barely keep up with demand. Since 1979, Saxon has lent her titling talent to 350 films and/or TV series, working with countless top directors including Robert Zemeckis, Martin Scorsese, Lasse Halström and Michael Lehmann.
Her compelling visions and iconic graphics can be found in the familiar type of Back to the Future (1985), the slow bloom of Rambling Rose (1991), the glowing grin of Stay Tuned (1992), the searching light of The Fugitive (1993), and the floating feather of Forrest Gump (1994).
ABOUT NINA SAXON’S EARLY CAREER:
If the 1950s and ’60s was the Designer era of title sequences, dominated by creators with identifiable aesthetic signatures like Saul Bass, Maurice Binder and Pablo Ferro, then the 1980s was the Logo era, dominated by creators like Nina Saxon, Richard Greenberg and Richard Morrison. For Saxon, it wasn’t just her ability to design effective and vibrant title logos that set her apart. It was her devotion to both practice and practicalities, her ability to read the room and to navigate the intricacies of a deal — or, to use her words, to hustle. Because she transitioned into the craft after working as a visual effects artist and animator, most notably on the first three Star Wars films, she was as comfortable with optical effects, mattes and typography as she was with animation, down-shooter cameras and stop-motion. Perhaps that is also why she was able to approach title design with fresh eyes and usher in a new era: the branded blockbuster film.
From the bodice-ripping swashes of Romancing the Stone (1984) and the shimmering capitals of The Little Mermaid (1989) to the collaged chaos of Airheads (1994) and the spinning sandwiches of Good Burger (1997), and from the glowing markup of Antitrust (2001) to the blinged-out branding of Beauty Shop (2005), Saxon experimented with typography, technique and media, creating a distinct aesthetic solution for each project — her work disappearing into the scene entirely where necessary — and leaving an indelible mark on the industry.
But she didn’t start out with movies in mind. Her initial plan? “I was going to be a psychologist,” she says. After getting into the University of California, Los Angeles, she enrolled in a smattering of elective classes in film and animation and found she enjoyed it. Her first film assignment was to make a short, which she decided to shoot on location with Planned Parenthood. She filmed a childbirth which she intercut with music. The short nabbed her the Jim Morrison Film Award and that was it. “I got hooked into the movie business,” she says.
She set out to find a job and, after sending letters to every creative director she could find in San Francisco and L.A., she got a phone call from director John Korty. He had just won an Academy Award for the documentary Who Are the DeBolts? And Where Did They Get Nineteen Kids? and he had a job for her. Saxon recalls that he said, “If you come up here to Mill Valley, I could pay you $100 a week. You’re gonna work nine ’til two in the morning, probably six weeks.” She put her belongings in a trunk and headed north.
“Star Wars didn't seem to have much going for it, but I thought it would be a chance for me to learn something. So I went to work for an optical house and learned how to do the laser bullets!”
Other notable Korty Films “alumni” have included directors David Fincher (Se7en) and Henry Selick (Coraline), editor Marcia Lucas (Star Wars), screenwriter David Webb Peoples (Blade Runner), and production designer Harley Jessup (Monsters, Inc.). It was in this Mill Valley milieu that Saxon met editor Donn Cambern, who became her mentor. When there was a lull in projects, Saxon called Cambern, who mentioned that there was a movie assembling crew and the production manager owed him a favor. They were hiring 900 people. It was called Star Wars. Was she interested? Saxon didn’t think the film had much going for it, but she saw an opportunity to expand her skills. “So I went to work for an optical house and learned how to do the laser bullets!” she recalls fondly.
ABOUT NINA SAXON DESIGN:
Founded by Nina Saxon in 1979 in Santa Monica, CA, Nina Saxon Design is one of the entertainment industry’s leading design production studios for feature film and television projects. The New York Times has cited Nina Saxon, an Emmy Award winner, as “One of the most sought-after designers in the entertainment business.”
In addition to its work in the overall development, creation and production of motion picture and television main and end titles, title sequences, and animated motion graphics logos for entertainment production companies, Nina Saxon Design also acts to oversee title design budgets, art direction, and the postproduction process behind those titles and sequences. The company also serves as liaison between the title design process and each project’s producers, directors and editors, as well as between studio postproduction supervisors, executives and legal departments.
Historically, Nina Saxon Design has contributed feature film main titles to such hit movies as Dear John, Music and Lyrics, Cider House Rules, The Fugitive, Forrest Gump, Beauty and the Beast, The Princess Diaries, Stepmom, The Little Mermaid, The Hunt for Red October, Primary Colors, Mrs. Doubtfire, Contact, Die Hard 2, Rush Hour, Romancing the Stone, Snakes on a Plane, Scooby Doo, Big Momma’s House 1 & 2, and the entire Back to the Future trilogy.
In the area of television programs, Nina Saxon Design has produced main titles for such hits as Notes from the Underbelly, Life With Bonnie, Picket Fences, HBO’s Something the Lord Made, HBO’s 61*, Early Edition, Fantasy Island, and Wings, among others.
For its entertainment production company clients, Nina Saxon Design first produces corporate logos for print, and then translates these new logos into motion graphics for the screen. The company’s corporate clients have included Stephen Bochco, Alcon Entertainment, Interscope/Polygram Entertainment, Josephson Entertainment, Grub Street Productions, and HSI Entertainment, to name some.
Nina Saxon Design is located at 930 20th St, # 5, Santa Monica, CA, 90302, and the phone is 310/453-7044.
# # #
The Asbury PR Agency
Beverly Hills, CA