Digital Kitchen goes to The Big Easy for Alan Ball’s latest series, “True Blood”

Digital Kitchen goes to The Big Easy for Alan Ball’s latest series, “True Blood” (Thanks for the tip, Steve!)

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About the author

Justin Cone

Together with Carlos El Asmar, Justin co-founded Motionographer, F5 and The Motion Awards. He currently lives in Austin, Texas with is wife, son and fluffball of a dog. Before taking on Motionographer full-time, Justin worked in various capacities at Psyop, NBC-Universal, Apple, Adobe and SCAD.



Damn, thats good….


Not so creative after all! Surely you folks haven’t run out of original ideas…..I think you owe someone an Emmy.


Look, DK is a great studio. Don’t get me wrong. But this piece is based on someone’s work that doesn’t work for DK. Inspiration is one thing, but they failed to credit the original creators of this concept. Please watch the original and tell me I’m wrong.

Even a solid shop can come up short once in a while. They need not be credited for something they simply remade.


Saw this last night and really dug the editing and tone. Definitely has a Mark Romanek (especially 99 Problems) feel. The type uses those awkward Pablo Ferro (Dr. Strangelove) justified blocks. Regarding slappersilly13’s comment, in addition to the overall aesthetic, the baptism scene in particular bears an uncanny resemblance to Wrong Eyed Jesus. Good eyes.


It seems someone else agrees with my assessment…


Dom Payote

someone compiled a list of more plagiarism, beyond the obvious baptism scene. looks like the digital kitchen has run fresh out of ideas or direction. too bad, some of the older work was really fresh.


I really enjoyed this title sequence. It s has the beautiful cinematography we associate with an amazing DK sequence. Yet, more than that, I was completely intrigued. I’ve never heard of this show but after viewing the title sequence I desperately wanted to watch it. In my interpretation (not having seen the show) it combines the complicated emotions of human relationships and sexual behavior with the even more complex (and sometimes bizarre) aspects of the culture of the deep south. When I’m not a motion graphics artist I spend my time exploring documentary photography. I really love learning about cultures that are different than my own. In the beginning after seeing the shot of the house on stilts in the marshes I was hooked. A good show takes you into a different world and this title sequence is visual eye candy of this world.

The documentary feel of it is fabulous. I want to spend time in these locations and absorb it all. As far as the idea that it was “stolen” from Searching for the Wrong Eyed Jesus… Albert Einstein said “The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.” While the source isn’t hidden in this case I only have to point you to Picasso’s Young Ladies of Avignon. He wasn’t stealing the look of the African masks but was inspired by them. I appreciate the interpretation from the documentary to what I saw in the title sequence.


I don’t believe DK is to blame here, but rather the person who’s name appears at the last frame in the article.


Dear Enthusiasts –

DK chiming in. Thank you for the mostly kind words, heated dialogue and too harsh accusations. The accusations are not at all unfounded insofar as “Wrong Eyed Jesus” was one a myriad of other influences – features, docs, material found online, in print, somewhere in the deep recesses of our collective cobwebbed psyches. That’s how creativity works – we put these pieces in the blender, press the eviscerate button and then see what comes out in the pour. Everyone in this forum knows that. So our remaining peace goes something like this:

You’re picking on 5 shots. Out of over 65.
The tone of the “True Blood” title – in audio, coloration, dynamics, editorial style, etc – is so obviously different from the WEJ trailer as to make accusations of plagiarism obviously nitpicking. It’s tantamount to claiming the opening of “The Sopranos” is ripped from “Night Court” – look it’s New York!
3 of the 5 shots called out are standard southern bayou fare – car in the woods, evangelical church, honky tonk bar.
Chris Cunningham doesn’t own nor did he invent undercranked nudes.
On the 5th shot we have to say good catch. There was no specific intent to match the shot from WEJ specifically. We knew we wanted a midnight baptism shot b/c the concept was so perfect for “True Blood” – midnight+baptism+vampires? Holla! It’s like bacon+lettuce+tomato. We researched the midnight baptism subject quite a bit and in this case one of several shots in that scene came out remarkably like the one in WEJ. A subconscious homage? Apparently. Plagiarism? Absolutely not. We’re influenced by the work that’s come before us. Everyone in this forum is, and sometimes elements share striking similarities because of it. This is fairly described as one of those cases.

Lastly, DK has received 10 of the last 36 Emmy nominations in the Outstanding Main Title category and been nominated therein 6 of the last 7 years. DK’s made a name in main titles and beyond based on our originality and execution. We don’t need to steal from anybody. Then, now, or ever.

Thanks for paying attention to our work and this thread and feel free to get in touch directly anytime. And by all means please have fun continuing to argue these points but if you do so try to mix in a little more humor. With all the election banter in the air this too serious tone is too much – design should be fun, people!

Dave Skaff
Executive Producer


Word, Dave! :-D


Yes, yes, it’s a blender, press high, this is what we get. we’re all living in a remix culture, we know that. That’s not the point. Other people, other studios will be straight up when they’ve used reference or were in love with someone else’s work. Maybe the whole “Wrong Eyed Jesus” was just someone watching the doc the night before they got the assingment and then it played a part in their work. They could say that. In articles and interviews so much of what DK has to say is all about them and how orginal they were, or where the idea came from and there’s no mention of these sources. That’s what’s at the heart of all this controversy. This isn’t art it’s commerce and artists should get paid for their work.

As for this comment: “Chris Cunningham doesn’t own nor did he invent undercranked nudes.” You should add the following similarities between these scenes and then still say this line with a straight face. Nude couple fighting, flash frames, Cunningham style editing, and cg blood droplets. All major players in his Flex short. If you wanted to be honest just say, “we steal from the best” and all would be forgiven.

If DK doesn’t need to steal from anybody then why feel the need to justify your actions? Design should be fun, but it’s never fun for any artist to see their work with someone else’s name on it.


True Blood Main Title Sequence
Client: HBO

DK Credits:
Creative Directors: Matt Mulder, Rama Allen. Live Action Direction: Rama Allen, Morgan Henry, Matthew Mulder, Matt Clark, Tevor Fife; Designers: Rama Allen, Shawn Fedorchuck, Ryan Gagnier, Matthew Mulder, Camm Rowland, Ryan Rothermel, Jacques Broquard; Compositor: Ryan Gagnier; Editor: Shawn Fedorchuck; Producers: Morgan Henry, Kipp Christiansen, Keir Moreano; ECDL Paul Mattheaus; EP: Mark Bayshore

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