John Wells Productions
Showtime
Directed by Erin Sarofsky
Live Action
Editorial
Main Title Sequence

Shameless

Cram a family of six with one alcoholic father, several teens and a couple of spirited youngsters into ramshackle, Back-of-the-Yards house in Chicago, and it doesn’t take much to figure out there won’t be any privacy. Except, maybe, the bathroom. Throw that door open and who knows what you’ll find?

Adults Only
Play video
Shameless For Shameless

Cram a family of six with one alcoholic father, several teens and a couple of spirited youngsters into ramshackle, Back-of-the-Yards house in Chicago, and it doesn’t take much to figure out there won’t be any privacy. Except, maybe, the bathroom. Throw that door open and who knows what you’ll find?

It’s Shameless, John Wells Productions’ cult-hit comedy about the Gallagher family.  Taking you right to the guts of family matters, we shot the title sequence entirely in the bathroom.

There we find father Frank passed out on the grubby tile floor, to be dragged elsewhere by an unphased daughter.  Two littles wrap up in toilet paper. One drinks a leftover beer. Another plucks a water-soaked teddy out of the loo. Siblings smoke cigs, teens make love, and there are even more basic bodily functions on view.

Shocking? Yes, but a grungy bathroom was the perfect metaphor for this messily unique family with zero boundaries. Showing the characters in a distinctly humorous, yet slightly voyeuristic way allowed viewers to connect with the Gallaghers on a very human level. We get their dysfunctional challenging circumstances, yes–but also their closeness.

We showed Wells other title concepts to choose from, but the bathroom was the one he liked best. “John knew the minute he saw it that he wanted it,” says founder Erin Sarofsky, who directed the live action shoots for the title. “It was a very left-field idea, but Wells is a visionary and had the courage to put that at the front of his show.”

With the go-ahead, we wrote the scenarios, figured out props, and built the bathroom set to allow for the front-and-center camera positioning we wanted for the shots.

Directing actors who knew their characters so well allowed Erin to ad lib some of the scenes with them on the fly. The only challenge was making sure the actors’ pacing was fast enough to fit the sequence, set to a soundtrack of “The Luck you got” by The High Strung. “Main titles move fast, so there wasn’t time to let scenarios play out too slowly,” says Erin.

Out biggest takeaway from Shameless: If you understand the characters and tone of a show then no title-sequence idea is off the table.

Concept ♥

“Concept is king when it comes to all things memorable, and the most memorable thing about this show was the colorful characters. Honoring them in a distinctly different main title sequence—bathroom and all–was the way to do that best.”

Project Credits 
  • Director
    Erin Sarofsky
  • Co-Director
    Lindsay Daniels
  • Executive Producers
    Rachel Steele
  • Louise Krakower
  • Line Producer
    Brooke Hopkins
  • Director of Photography
  • Production Designer
    Naomi Slodki
  • Editor
    Lee Gardner
  • Compositor
    Matt Crnich
  • Designers
    Gene Park
  • Nik Braatz
  • Music
    The High Strung
Client Credits 
scroll
view
play
drag
swipe
let's go