Netflix is putting out a four-part video series entitled “Snyder School,” a sort of masterclass in which director Zack Snyder takes us through a quick yet up-close tour of his creative process in bringing his recent film Army of the Dead to life, as well as looking at it in relation to the rest of his filmography.
The first episode dives into an aspect of Snyder’s films that has defined his entire filmmaking career: Notoriously long, extravagant title sequences set to the length of a song.
Take a look:
He refers to his title sequences as a “six-minute silent film,” and the video focuses on the director’s approach to the creation of these little mini-films. He breaks down everything from special effects, to storyboard sketches, to the software he likes to use for these storyboards, to changes made during the filmmaking process and the reasoning for the style and coloring of the credits font. For Snyder, title sequences are an exciting opportunity to tell another story within a story, operating like an extra canvas within the larger framework of the film.
This is something that can be clearly seen in Army of the Dead—which takes us through the self-contained zombie epidemic of Las Vegas and gives background on some of our main characters—as well as in his past films like Watchmen, Dawn of the Dead, Sucker Punch and 300. Watchmen’s title sequence in particular goes to great lengths to wordlessly detail the entire evolution of the titular vigilante group in only the length of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” creating a singularly affecting visual feast that plays with both history and fiction. In 300, another graphic novel adaptation, Snyder directly played off the source material to try emulating comic visuals for the title sequence.
All of Snyder’s films are distinct but nonetheless distinctly his, linked by repeated stylistic choices, visual motifs, filmmaking practices, themes and more. Netflix has given the director an apt opportunity to allow fans of his work to get an intimate look at what makes a Zack Snyder film a Zack Snyder film.