On designing the titles for Smallman

Designer Kriston Chen writes about his process for making the titles for Smallman.

Screen Shot 2014-01-08 at 3.15.14 PM


Question, what do Trinidadian, J.K. Rawlins and architect Richard Neutra have in common?

Last September, I had the grand opportunity to design the titles for documentary filmmaker, Mariel Brown’s (Savant Ltd.) short film called Smallman — about Trinidadian toymaker Kenwyn Rawlins (aka J.K. Rawlins), as told by his son, Richard Mark Rawlins. The film debuted at the Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival in The Little Carib Theatre on 20th September 2013.

Another standout for me was a short directed by Mariel Brown. In just about ten minutes, I was nearly reduced to a blubbering mass of sentimentality. Based on the e-book written by Richard Rawlins, Smallman, The World My Father Made was a delightful story told (not narrated) by Richard about his father Kenwyn Rawlins. — Paolo Kernahan (Trinidad Guardian)

When Mariel sent me* the initial rough cut of the film, I immediately jumped at the chance to design the titles. Much of the film’s cinematography, by DP Sean Edghill, involved super close-up shots (shallow depth of field) of J.K. Rawlins’ hand-crafted toys collected in his basement workshop; along with warm dramatic lighting throughout each scene. These beautiful types of shots, lend themselves to an added bonus — an irresistible title treatment.


Read more of Kriston’s blog here: notsirk.com