Elastic’s Opening Sequence for Sweeping Drama “Pachinko” Receives Widespread Acclaim
It is no longer common practice to have a title sequence scripted into a television series or film. However, Pachinko showrunner Soo Hugh knew from the beginning that the opening credits had to be special and ensured her vision was clear and executed in the script as well as production. The result is the perfect balance of optimistic grooving and archival footage colliding to create an effect that is synchronously forward-momentous and wistful. Set to the tune of The Grass Roots’ 1967 hippie hit “Let’s Live For Today,” the images move to the narrative of the song, echoing lyrics that find similar themes in the series such as “Chasing after money and dreams that can’t come true, I’m glad that we are different, we’ve better things to do. May others plan their future, I’m busy loving you.”
“This has always been Soo’s Vision,” recalled Nadia Tzuo, Design Director at Elastic. “It was meant to be uplifting as so much of the series revolves around the main family’s hardships. We wanted to connect to the audience by bringing back the nostalgic experience of wanting to hear the theme song and watch the opening sequence every episode.” Our team at Elastic worked closely with Soo, building the narrative of immigration, war, and heartbreak the show is based on into the opening, sure to emphasize the glimmers of hope that present themselves within the larger picture of these topics. To bring out a playfulness within the title sequence, these moments of rich history were stitched with joyous dancing from the main characters in recognizable settings from the show – celebrating their triumphs over life’s hardships and the courageous act of finding happiness in hard times. MakeMake founder Angus Wall also worked on the sequence, adding that stitching the archival and dancing footage was technique to “blend the generations together,” building on the idea of lineage the story is founded on.
Given the unique approach spearheaded by Hugh, the sequence took on a life of its own, as if it were an independent music video you can jam to before the show begins. This refreshing take, leading viewers to resist pushing the “skip intro” button on Apple TV where Pachinko is streaming, has garnered extensive acclaim. “The show’s title sequence is a glorious thing,” began Daniel Fienberg for The Hollywood Reporter. “Every dance move, every character placement is considered and, in keeping with the lyrics to the song, it’s a promise that every episode, no matter how bleak, will always have this slice of hope. It’s beautiful.” Fienberg is one of many including reference to the title sequence specifically when reviewing the show as a whole. Elastic’s work has now been praised in Collider, Vulture, Elle, Variety and more. “It’s been great to receive such positive feedback,” said Paul Makowski, Senior Producer at Elastic. “Usually when working on a project like this it can get tedious to watch the same footage over and over again, but I never get tired of watching this one. It’s great to see the audience feels the same.”
Pachinko began streaming on March 25th. Stream now and watch the title sequence below!