Created By: unknownthingamabob on March 15, 2016 Last Edited By: eroock on October 29, 2017
Troped

Onscreen Chapter Titles

A work displays chapter titles onscreen throughout the course of the story.

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Chapters are convenient. They divide stories into bite-sized chunks. They might tell readers what to expect next. They can set the atmosphere with a neat font. It's a shame there are only chapters in books. Right?

A writer decides to include chapters, regardless of the work's medium.

Chapters may or may not be numbered. If they are numbered, some numbers may be skipped. Sometimes this is done similar to a Storybook Opening, displaying an open book with literal chapter titles. Sometimes the movie preserves the original chapter titles from its source material (if it is an adaptation). Some chapter titles indicate a progression of time, such as days of the week or months of the year. In other cases, the chapter titles merely serve to separate and foreshadow different plot arcs or bring Idiosyncratic Episode Naming to a film. This may be done in the style of a Title Card.

Sub-Trope of Title In.


Examples:

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     Anime 
  • Tekkonkinkreet is split into five chapters (Summer/Fall/Winter/Spring/Summer), each introduced by a title card.

     Film 
  • In Clerks, there are frequent chapter titles which appear in white font on a plain black screen briefly. Most of the chapter titles are single obscure vocabulary words, like "Perspicacity" or "Dénouement."
  • Not only do many Quentin Tarantino films have chapter titles—they even share the same style: Title In with white font on a black screen.
    • In Pulp Fiction, there are several chapter titles throughout the movie shown in underlined white font on a black screen, such as "THE BONNIE SITUATION" and "THE GOLD WATCH."
    • In Kill Bill, there are ten numbered and titled chapters throughout Vol. 1 & 2 (five in each), appearing in white font on a black screen, such as "Chapter Nine: ELLE and I."
    • In Inglourious Basterds, there are five numbered and titled chapters, appearing in white font on a black screen, such as "Chapter Four: OPERATION KINO."
    • In The Hateful 8, there are six numbered and titled chapters, appearing in white font on a black screen, such as "Chapter Four: Domergue's Got a Secret."
  • Director Lars von Trier loves this trope:
  • Wes Anderson favors chaptering.
    • Rushmore is broken down into chapters for each month passing. Opening curtains are used to get into each new chapter.
    • The Grand Budapest Hotel has chapter screens for each of the five parts.
    • The Royal Tenenbaums is split into many chapter numbers, including a prologue.
  • Donnie Darko creates suspense by counting down the time to Donnie's death with the use of title cards throughout the movie, e.g. "October 10 1988 (Twenty Days Remain)".
  • Kubrick's The Shining is loosely divided by chapter screens for each new day of the week.
  • Each new day in Se7en gets its own Title In with the name of the weekday.
  • Gus Van Sant's Elephant comes in twelve chapters each named after and focusing on a different character.
  • Argentinian movie The Aura is broken down in chapters for each weekday, displayed as as Title In.
  • Gone Girl has the days counting up on screen as the search for the missing wife progresses, e.g. "July 9th (four days gone)"
  • Ugly chapters each new the day of the week.
  • Each day in Jeepers Creepers 2 gets its own Title In.
  • The Hunt has a Title In for each new month as the story progresses.
  • The Number 23 labels each new day on screen.
Community Feedback Replies: 32
  • March 15, 2016
    DAN004
    So this is a movie-only convention?
  • March 15, 2016
    unknownthingamabob
    I have only seen this in movies, but I imagine it could also be used in other visual media. I've never seen an episode of a TV show divided into onscreen chapter titles. Of course, most books are divided into named chapters, but that isn't worth listing here.
  • October 3, 2016
    eroock
    • Director Lars Von Trier loves this trope:
    • Wes Anderson favors chaptering.
      • Rushmore is broken down into chapters for each month passing. Opening curtains are used to get into each new chapter.
      • The Grand Budapest Hotel has chapter screens for each of the five parts.
    • Donnie Darko creates suspense by counting down the time to Donnie's death with the use of title cards throughout the movie, e.g. "October 10 1988 (Twenty Days Remain)".
    • Kubrick's The Shining is loosely divided by chapter screens for each new day of the week.
    • Each new day in Se7en gets its own Title In with the name of the weekday.
    • Gus Van Sant's Elephant comes in twelve chapters each named after and focusing on a different character.
    • Argentinian movie The Aura is broken down in chapters for each weekday, displayed as as Title In.
    • Gone Girl has the days counting up on screen as the search for the missing wife progresses, e.g. "July 9th (four days gone)"
    • Ugly chapters each new the day of the week.
    • Each day in Jeepers Creepers 2 gets its own Title In.
    • The Hunt has a Title In for each new month as the story progresses.
    • The Number 23 labels each new day on screen.

  • March 16, 2016
    Alucard
    In Devil May Cry 3's cutscenes shown before the start of each level, the player can notice the mission's number hidden somewhere as a part of the architecture or as one of the props. Mission 3, for instance, has Lady burning some demons whose bodies fall over to spell the number 3, and in mission 8 the number 8 can be seen engraved on the moon.
  • March 16, 2016
    Arivne
    Sub Trope of Title In, for when words appear on the screen.
  • March 16, 2016
    DAN004
    • Blaz Blue: the game's Arcade and Story modes have this. In the arcade mode, after each character completes their arcade run, a "story name" will appear in their ending. Same goes for the Story Mode for each characters, at least in first two games; in the third game, the Story Mode's episode names are instead shown at the start of each.
  • March 16, 2016
    HeraldAlberich
    • Each episode of Life In Pieces is divided into four short stories, introduced by a white-text-on-black Title Card in the format "Story 1: Title" in a typewriter font. The episodes themselves are named by taking one word from the title of each story and stringing them together.
  • March 16, 2016
    eroock
    I wouldn't say it's a subtrope of Title In. The display can either be a Title Card or a Title In depending on the creator's preference.
  • March 16, 2016
    Chernoskill
    Half-Life alsp displays the chapter title at the start of each chapter (duh). Notably, HL has no levels in the traditional sense, the environemnts are seamlessly connected (apart from the one time that Freeman gets captured and wakes up in a garbage compressor).
  • March 16, 2016
    poptartspower
    • The Paper Mario games have chapters complete with title cards.

    • Portal and/or Portal 2 (maybe both or one of them) is split into chapters.
  • March 16, 2016
    TonyG
    • Frasier used title cards to introduce acts. These were usually witty comments on the action, such as "The Clot Thickens" before a scene where a guilt-ridden Niles gets a nosebleed.
    • Just Shoot Me has headlines on the cover of Blush (the fashion magazine in whose offices the show takes place) serving the purpose of chapter titles.
    • Babe uses chapter titles, which are read by the Greek Chorus of singing mice.
  • March 17, 2016
    henke37
    To add onto Portal 2, one of the chapters is announced as if the Department Of Redundancy Department did it for a joke.
  • March 17, 2016
    Kartoonkid95
    The 2012 film adaptation of The Three Stooges has its three acts given separate names and title cards, akin to the original shorts.
  • March 21, 2016
    eroock
    Film:
    • Juno is told over four seasons (autumn, winter, spring, summer), each introduced via creative Title In.
  • March 20, 2016
    DAN004
    Please add examples
  • May 12, 2016
    eroock
    Film:

  • May 12, 2016
    SquirrelGuy
    The Sting (1973) does this, with 1930-era title cards.
  • May 13, 2016
    klausbaudelaire
    Hitman Absolution and Mafia II also does this on starting a new chapter.
  • October 1, 2016
    mariovsonic999
    Avatar The Last Airbender and it's Sequel Series The Legend Of Korra starts the episode with Book (the season of the series) and the chapter.
  • October 2, 2016
    triassicranger
    Live Action Television
    • There was a French television adaptation of Alices Adventures In Wonderland where the chapter titles from the novel appeared on screen whenever the film got to where a new chapter from the book started.
  • May 28, 2017
    Getta
    I thought this happens often in RP Gs?
  • May 28, 2017
    Getta
    I thought this happens often in RP Gs?
  • May 28, 2017
    Malady
    ^ I think VideoGame.Golden Sun does it, calling The Lost Ages, Book 2...

    VideoGame.Iji might do it? I think. Each level is a sector, and the names pop up when you start them...

    Is this Up For Grabs 'cause OP isn't adding examples?

    How is this a Sub Trope of Title In? It provides no location data!

    Folderized
  • May 29, 2017
    Arivne
    ^ The OP unknownthingamabob left TV Tropes back in 2016.

    This proposal became Up For Grabs on May 16th 2016, two months after their last edit here (see this proposal's history)..
  • May 29, 2017
    Kartoonkid95
    • The 2012 version of The Three Stooges has each act introduced by a title card in the vein of the original shorts; each act is titled More Orphan Than Not,The Bananas Split and No Moe Mr. Nice Guy.

    • The Simpsons: Parodied in "Separate Vocations"; as the first act ends with Snake cornering Bart in an alley ready to run him down with his car, the second act opens like a cop drama with the caption "Act II: Death Drives a Stick".
  • July 27, 2017
    eroock
    I was wondering if this could be covered under Episode Title Card.
  • July 28, 2017
    Antigone3
    Very common in film serials, because when those were originally shown it was one chapter at a time — the chapter title let everyone know where they were in the story.
  • September 2, 2017
    eroock
    Video Games:
    • Thimbleweed Park is told in nine parts where each new chapter opens with an onscreen- title card.
  • September 2, 2017
    Folamh3
  • September 2, 2017
    MetaFour
    Music example, for realz:
    • Joy Electric's EP Montgolfier and the Romantic Balloon is divided into two halves: "Montgolfier and the Romantic Balloons" and "Other Archers". Each half starts with a narrator reading the title aloud.
  • October 28, 2017
    eroock
    Film:
    • Incendies consists of several chapters named after characters and locations, each of which are announced with big red letters on screen.
    • The story of La La Land is separated into seasons appearing as Title In text on screen. The chapters cover the life cycle of the the protagonists' love relationship: Spring (meeting), Summer (full-on love), Fall (fading passion) and Winter (the end).
  • October 29, 2017
    AmourMitts
    Would Star Wars count?
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