Sarofsky’s main titles for Netflix’s Friends from College capture six friends coming together at a table where time passes from their college days to the present. The credits start with dinner in the cafeteria and transition through adulthood, demonstrating the lasting bond between the characters.
“First, we decided that in the college years, there would be more disorganization; smoking, bad posture and in general, cheap eats,” said Erin Sarofsky, owner and executive creative director of the studio. “Moving into our twenties, the food gets a bit more refined and features some home cooking. Toward the end, the meals become more restaurant-focused, high-end cuisine, better wine and impeccable lighting. We even snuck in some key life events like a wedding and a baby shower.”
Documenting shared meals over a long period of time also conveys a strong family feel, said Executive Producer Steven Anderson.
The comedy series follows a group of friends from Harvard who reconnect in their forties and discover that love hasn’t gotten easier with age. The well-known cast includes Keegan-Michael Key (Ethan), Cobie Smulders (Lisa), Annie Parisse (Sam), Nat Faxon (Nick), Fred Savage (Max) and Jae Suh Park (Marianne).
Sarofsky created the opening credits to mirror the quality production tone of the series.
“The show’s look is quite pristine and high-end,” Sarofsky said. “We wanted to make sure the title sequence fit into the world they created… which meant we had to match that with our art direction and production design decisions.”
The studio didn’t have access to the show’s actual cast, so instead used body doubles and focused on the details, shooting 18 different setups where each of the actors were styled individually to represent a span of 20 years.
“If you look closely, we even have Keegan-Michael’s character’s hair go from a little afro to receding, and eventually to bald,” Sarofsky said.
The 45-second sequence introduced viewers to the series, which premiered July 14. Subsequent episodes will feature customized versions pared down to 10 seconds, where each one uses the framework of the full-length opening but adds something specific to that episode’s narrative.
Executive Producers: Nicholas Stoller & Francesca Delbanco
Production Company: Sarofsky
Creative Direction: Erin Sarofsky
Concept Development: Erin Sarofsky & Madeline Miller
Executive Producer: Steven Anderson
Director of Photography: Michael Bove
Producer: Madeline Miller
Line Producer: Becky Werve
Lead Designer / Animator: Tnaya Witmer
Designer / Animator: Josh Smiertka
Finish: Cory Davis
Production Designer: Lena Rush
Wardrobe Stylist: Tinna Sullivan
Editorial Company: The Colonie
Editor: Tom Pastorelle
Editorial Producer: Anne Siwek
Final Color: Filmworkers Club Chicago
Colorist: Fred Keller
Casting: O’Connor Casting Company