Film & video

Fernando Domínguez Cózar: "J. A. Bayona Is the Most Perfectionist Director I Have Ever Worked With"

The creator of the closing credits for the Society of the Snow talks about his work career and his experience on this film.

You are in a movie theater and the movie ends. Are you one of those who get up right away, or one of those who remain looking at the screen and waiting for the closing credits to give you some additional information? Fernando Domínguez Cózar is one of the hundreds of workers who have a role in the shadows in the creation of a film, in his case, with the creation of opening and closing credits.

His latest work has been the great protagonist of the Goyas and the next representation of Spain at the Oscars. We are talking about Society of the Snow, the work of Juan Antonio Bayona that magnificently portrays the story of the well-known tragedy of the Andes, in which a plane crashed in the middle of a mountain range with a dozen young Uruguayans on board.

Domínguez Cózar was in charge of creating the final credits of this film and achieved that difficult job of not wanting to move from the theater seat or the sofa, without looking away from the screen, wanting to know more about the lives of the protagonists of this story.

We spoke with Domínguez Cózar, who, in addition to being a creative director, credits designer and musician, is also a teacher at Domestika, to tell us about his experience as a credits creator and, specifically, his work on this film with Juan Antonio Bayona.

How did your career as a credits' creator begin?

My first credits were for the OFFF festival in Barcelona back in 2006. At that time I was working in the animation department of VASAVA, but the opportunity to do them came up and it was a turning point.

How different is the execution of closing credits and title credits? Which one do you prefer to do?

One and the other have different purposes. From my point of view, in the opening credits, the function is to introduce the viewer in a very sensory way to something they don't know yet. In the closing credits, the audience has already gone through a story and the credits function more as a counterpoint, a sort of final conclusion. In the case of Society of the Snow, they gave complementary information to the viewer, they showed what the characters they had just seen and with whom they had empathized were really like. You want to know more, and in this case the credits served this purpose.

Trabajo de Domínguez Cózar para la saga de «El señor de los anillos»

There is no formula. In my case, I like to start with the music. The audio will give me clues about the tone, the speed of the cameras, the duration of the shots… Then, I start designing the style frames, static images with which I build an animatic just to see the duration of the shots. Then, I animate what I have previously designed. I render each shot, post-produce it and, finally, when I have the shots, I edit and create an animated version of the animatic. At the end, I match colors, give final touches of composition and polish transitions between shots.

At what point in the creation of the film do you start to work on them?

In the case of Society of the Snow, I was contacted about eight months before delivering the film. It was already shot, and they gave me a first cut without special effects. I was very impressed by how well the film worked, even without effects or post-production. With this first skeleton, I was able to get an idea of the proposal that could fit.

How do you choose the closing credits designer?

In my case, J.A. Bayona previously knew my work and thought I was the right person to do the credits for his film.

Who does the closing credits designer work with?

Usually you work directly with the director of the film or series, although sometimes I've worked with the showrunner. It depends a lot on the project.

What is the most important thing for you so that the final credits make us stay seated and not leave the movie theater or the couch?

That they offer new information, that they solve unknowns.

How long did it take you, from start to finish, to create the end credits for Society of the Snow?

I think it was about eight months.

What is it like to work with Juan Antonio Bayona? What is different from the other directors you have worked with?

Every director is different. Some directors, surprisingly, don't see the piece until almost the end. In Jota's case, it wasn't like that. He was very involved in the creative process, he was very clear about what he wanted to show in each shot. Almost daily, we adjusted things and looked for the best possible option. He is probably the most perfectionist director I have ever worked with, he has an energy and conviction that I have never seen in anyone. I learned so much working hand in hand with him.

Were you in contact with the main characters of the story?

I would have loved to. After seeing so much material, you get to know the names and surnames of all of them, and you feel like you know them somehow. I was especially surprised by Fernando Parrado, who was in a coma for three days after the accident, without medical attention or food, on the verge of death, and in the end becomes one of the two expedition members together with Roberto Canesa, who crossed the Andes Mountains.

Fernando Domínguez Cózar: "J. A. Bayona Is the Most Perfectionist Director I Have Ever Worked With" 9

Among all the closing credits you've seen in your life, which one is the best for you?

There are quite a few, but I really enjoyed the closing credits of Ratatouille. I thought they were super fun. It's a cool mix of 2D/3D illustration and beautiful synchronicity with the music.

And among those created by you, which one do you choose?

The ones from Society of the Snow.

Finally, a piece of advice for Domestika students who would like to dedicate themselves to this world

Don't stop being curious and persevere.

Do you feel like getting into the world of credits design and dream of being part of a movie? Join Animated credits titles with 3D cameras and After Effects, Domínguez Cózar's course, and learn from this expert.

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- Video editing classes
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