Back to Frank Black speak to Ramsey McDaniel

We at BackToFrankBlack.com are fascinated and inspired by all aspects of our beloved franchise both in front of the cameras and behind them. We were delighted when Ramsey McDaniel, title sequence designer on almost all of 1013’s output, took the time not only to support the campaign but to speak exclusively to us about her time on Millennium and more besides. As always, our thanks and gratitude to her for affording us her friendship and time.

BACKTOFRANKBLACK.COM: When you began the process of designing the title sequence of ‘Millennium’ how much filming of the first season was completed? Is it essential that you have sufficient footage to view in order that you have a clear idea of the creative direction the show is taking?

RAMSEY MCDANIEL: First I had to get the job. I was a huge X Files fan and when I heard 1013 was coming out with Millennium I really wanted it. Chris had a less than perfect experience with his The X Files title and really wasn’t interested in hiring a title designer. So, without a clue of the shows content, I made an elaborately collaged hand bound book and sent it to him. That got me an interview. I was given the script, Mark Snow’s music, and had a discussion with Chris & Frank. At the next meeting I presented boards and a ripomatic (rough rendition composed of images borrowed (ripped off) from broadcast materials) that I had edited. That got me the job and we went into production about the same time the premiere episode began editing.

BTFB: Did you work independently of the production team, presenting your ideas for their critique or were you given a brief of their vision for the titles which you worked from? Was the evolution of the titles always linear or were a number of versions played with during the design process?

RM’D: I pretty much nailed it with the ripomatic. We worked in some more shots that were relevant to the show. The title covered lurking danger but Chris’s credit image (woman on the bridge) was added to include the element of danger from oneself and how precarious life is.

BTFB: The title sequence works particularly well set against Mark Snow’s Millennium Theme. Does the music inform the creative direction of the title sequence as much as any other consideration.

RM’D: Music first. It would be like editing a music video without the music.

BTFB: How long did it take from conception to completion to create the opening sequence and were there any particular problems that hadn’t been anticipated?

RM’D: It took about 5 weeks. I can’t recall any problems. My producers might disagree with that.

BTFB: The taglines that appeared during the various seasons have very much become part of the Lexicon of Millennium. Who was responsible for the creation of the ‘Wait’, ‘Worry’, ‘Who Cares’ tagline seen during the first season’s opening sequence and as its meaning is often discussed by members of the Millennium Fan Community could you enlighten us as to what it represents.

RM’D: Wait, Worry, & Who Cares are all from the shows creators. I would not want to presume their exact meaning.

BTFB: The opening titles underwent some minor revisions during the course of the three seasons. Was this to reflect the changing emphasis and mood of the show and at who’s behest were these changes made?

RM’D: Chris & Frank wanted to make the changes to match the storyline, as you said. The fun thing about the added shot is it’s my father’s hand with the little girl’s.

BTFB: Retrospectively do you still gain a sense of satisfaction from your work on the titles and is there any way you would improve upon your efforts given the chance?

RM’D: At the time I had wanted to add more graphics. Millennium was my first title. My background was broadcast design & graphics. But now I wouldn’t change anything.

BTFB: Do you continue to work in the industry and what have you been involved with since your time on Millennium?

RM’D: After Millennium I did the rest of 1013’s shows, some promos, and revisions to The X Files title, and The X Files film titles. Another title I did and was happy with is Roswell. I took a break recently to raise my two children, but was brought out of retirement for the most recent The X Files film.

BTFB: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us Ramsey and our very best wishes to you for the future.