What is Behind the Opening of Orange is the New Black

By Evil Jenji

What moves me most about Orange is the New Black is the richness of details and how everything fits perfectly. Nothing is random. If you’re an Orange fan you’ve heard that the images of the women in the opening were made with real fangs! Besides this story there are others about the song written by Regina Spektor – You’ve got Time. Go out on the internet investigating even more details and stories about this. I found several interesting articles and interviews. My function was to gather all the best there is to show you. I hope you have as much fun as I do! Thank you Rolling Stone, Starcasm, Popsugar, Soundazed and Bastle for the information and texts on this article. I promise not to disappoint you, these are really cool stories.

The Faces Behind the Opening of Orange is the New Black

The Orange is the New Black opening credits are one of the most frequently lauded aspects of the show’s aesthetic and overall M.O. What they’re made up of, plainly speaking, is a collage of 52 different silent women’s faces, juxtaposed with empty shots of the place we’re about to come to know as Litchfield Correctional Facility, set to the antsy jingle of Regina Spektor’s now-ubiquitous “You’ve Got Time.” Chances are, if you’ve seen the Orange is the New Black opening credits even once, you’ve either gotten the song stuck in your head or had the faces of those women–some smiling, some smirking, most of them pained–stuck there, or been unable to shake the whole jarring, effective presentation.

Possibly the most common question regarding the Orange is the New Black opening credits, though, is who the faces are: who are the people the faces belong to. One of them looks a little bit like Red; a couple look somewhat like Piper; the woman above, with the heart tattoos around her right eye, kind of looks like Daya, if you want it bad enough. But it’s clear that none of the main cast is included in the minute and fifteen seconds that make up the Orange is the New Black opening credits. That’s because each of the 52 different women is a real-life convicted criminal.

The main creative reason that none of the cast features in the credits is because show creator Jenji Kohan wanted to let viewers know right away that Orange is the New Black isn’t just a show about Taylor Schilling’s character Piper Chapman. Kohan has long admitted that Piper is the “Trojan horse” through which she can access an audience and tell a bevy of other, non-white stories.

According to Gary Byrman, executive director of Thomas Cobb Group, the advertising agency who produced the credits, the initial idea was “a semi-surreal main title sequence of images from Piper’s point of view that would starkly contrast the hard, cold reality of her new imprisoned life against the imagined luxuries of her previous life.”

When Kohan stressed that the show needed to be about many different women’s stories, TCG changed strategies. To Byrman, the simplest possible strategy worked best where Kohan’s requirements were concerned:

[We] directed each woman to visualize in their mind three emotive thoughts: Think of a peaceful place, think of a person who makes you laugh, and think of something that you want to forget. [Our director] apologized ahead of time for the last question but found it was incredibly effective in evoking a wide range of unfortunate memories….[We] found this really interesting sweet spot of cropped compositions that would not necessarily reveal who the person was, but at the same time provide a portal into their soul through their eyes….Authenticity was the driving force behind showing our subjects as they are.

Thomas Cobb Group, perhaps unsurprisingly, is responsible for the award-winning Homeland opening credits, as well as those of Weeds, Kohan’s previous show.

There is one nod to the popularity of the show’s source material, though. The real Piper Chapman, the one who wrote the book on which the television show is based, is one of the 52 women featured in the Orange is the New Black opening credits. She’s the fifth face from the end–the blue-eyed woman who blinks.


What is Behind the Music of Orange is the New Black

One asset of the show is Regina Spektor’s original theme song “You’ve Got Time,” which she wrote exclusively for the show’s creator, Jenji Kohan (who also created Weeds). This isn’t the first time the two have collaborated: Spektor covered the Weeds theme song “Little Boxes,” and a few of her other tracks were used in the show. However, this was the first time that Spektor had ever written a theme song from scratch.

Spektor – says Kohan approached her to write the song. “When she [Kohan] said she wanted to meet and talk about this new show that she was writing, I was very excited because I really love her work. I think she’s a hilarious and a super-bright, really great person.” She also appreciated that Kohan understood her songwriting process. “She sort of gave me [an attitude] like, ‘If it works, it works, and if it doesn’t, don’t worry, because I know you write songs when you write songs and you’re not a machine. So just do it if you can.’”

MORE ABOUT OITNB

To craft the song, Kohan explained OITNB‘s premise to Spektor and discussed some of the narratives in the show. “I started to get some ideas and then as they were shooting, she would send me some rough, unfinished episodes, and so I got to really experience the world of the show and got to see what the characters were really like and it kind of helped me finish the song,” Spektor says. She recorded the track in Los Angeles over the winter and then nervously brought it to Kohan.

REGINA SPEKTOR

“She was listening on headphones,” Spektor recalls, “and then she just turned to me: ‘This kicks ass! I love it! This is awesome! This is perfect.’ She played it to the title sequence and then I saw the photos of all the prisoners and it just made sense. I was like, whoa, this really fits.”

It’s obvious as to why she’s a fellow, hardcore OITNB stan. “I love Orange Is the New Black, I watched it since the beginning,” she says. “It’s worthy of obsession.” She gets us, and more so, the purpose of the show. “I love all of the respect and care that is shown to all these different women, that a lot of the time, their stories wouldn’t be told and they’re very marginalized in society,” she explains.

While the show has moved entertainment lightyears ahead in diversity, strong female voices, and body positivity, Spektor points out how it has also affected real-life prison systems by showcasing the harshness of what happens. “I think it’s actually doing great things for prison reform,” she says. “It’s kind of cool when art starts from that place and then branches out.”


In the last episode, a new arrangement for You’ve Got Time

Since season one, Regina Spektor’s powerful, anthemic “You’ve Got Time” has kicked off every episode of the series. Its lyrics about animals trapped in cages and how “taking steps is easy, standing still is hard” go hand-in-hand with the thesis of OITNB. And now, with the final season upon us, Spektor has shared a brand new version of the catchy track, titled “You’ve Got Time (Chamber Version).”

“What a special world Jenji created and invited us all into,” Spektor said in a statement of working with the show’s creator. “Over the years it was a privilege to see the Orange Family grow and expand and experiment. Making a new interpretation of the song felt like a fitting way to say goodbye.” Along with Rob Moose and Jack Dishel, Spektor created “an intimate chamber music arrangement” for the song, which now has “a more hushed and eerie feeling to it.”

Listen to Spektor’s new version of “You’ve Got Time” and then be sure to stream Orange Is the New Black‘s seventh season over on Netflix. Listen below.

Here are the materials I used as a reference, if you want to read them in full. Have a nice week and a nice day! Today is my birthday. I’m a Libra in love with everything I do. Orange is the New Black entered my life at a very difficult time, and served to help me in several aspects, one of the most important to give even more value to sorority. No matter where we are from, or what culture we have, together we are stronger.

ROLLING STONES

STARCASM

POPSUGAR

SOUNDAZED

BUSTLE


YOU’VE GOT TIME

The animals, the animals
Trap, trap, trap ’til the cage is full
The cage is full
Stay awake
In the dark, count mistakesThe light was off but now it’s on
Searching underground for a bit of sun
The sun is out, the day is new
And everyone is waiting, waiting on you
And you’ve got time
And you’ve got timeThink of all the roads
Think of all their crossings
Taking steps is easy
Standing still is hard
Remember all their faces
Remember all their voices
Everything is different
The second time aroundThe animals, the animals
Trap, trap, trap ’til the cage is full
The cage is full
Stay awake
In the dark, count mistakesThe light was off but now it’s on
Searching underground for a bit of sun
The sun is out, the day is new
And everyone is waiting, waiting on you
And you’ve got time
And you’ve got time
And you’ve got time

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