The notion of "auteur theory" maintains that the film should be the result of the director's creative vision, and that the final film should represent a voice "distinct enough to shine through all kinds of studio interference and through the collective process."
The auteur touches everything from the set and costume design to the music and, among the best (or most obsessive?), the typefaces used in the title sequence.
There have been several make-your-own-handwriting-into-a-font apps that have popped up over the last few years, but none have actually convinced me to try it until this new solution from Pilot. See, I actually like my handwriting...when I take the time to do it well. Most of the time, if I find myself actually needing to use pencil and paper, I just end up getting whatever down as quickly as I can. So, it's pretty inconsistent, and I always figured it'd take me twenty-five tries and lots of white-out to come up with a complete alphabet worthy of digitizing.
But, Pilot Handwriting's approach is a bit different. The template looks easy to use, and then you can capture it with your built in webcam, and then edit each letter digitally, within the software itself, so no need for the whole scanner and photoshop song-and-dance.
There must be tens of thousands of free typefaces online - everything from schoolteacher cursive to graffiti scripts to famous movie fonts can be downloaded for use in personal projects. But, as usual, you get what you pay for, and the majority of these don't have staying power, and only work in specific settings.
Not so, however, with this great collection assembled by Smashing magazine. It's a list of fine free typefaces (outside the free standards, Arial, Verdana, Calibri) that look mighty fine and would fit in a variety of applications.
Having a bit of trouble distinguishing the personalities of various typefaces? Perhaps this will help a bit - "FontStaches" (which should really be typefacestache, but we'll forgive).
It's amazing how much a simple 90-degree rotate gives a character we rarely use so much vibrance and distinctiveness.