movie credits

Understanding Movie Credits (with Template)


In the early 1900s, there were hardly any movie credits. Some movies had just opening credits, while some had just the end credits. Nonetheless, just the title was enough to start the movie. However, once the ’70s came, the statement ‘give honor to whom it is due’ begun to apply to both opening and closing credits in Hollywood.

At first, closing credits were not so long, just like in the 1964 movie, Fail Safe. Over the years, the length of end credits has increased with some even as long as fifteen minutes. Time-consuming end credits have caused a lot of movie fans around the world to ask several questions. Who decides these names? Why do we even need to know their names? These are all relevant questions that will be answered as you read on.

Why are the movie credits so important?

There was a time when fans could not identify their beloved actors. However, with time, that changed. Not only could fans now identify them, but they can also now put a name to those faces. This made actors more famous, and it made other producers contact them for new productions.

The statement, ‘it takes a village’ is not a farce. The actors are not the only ones who make the film. There are other important people who make it possible. As these people do not feature on-screen, it is important to acknowledge them in another unique way.

Therefore, the introduction of the closing credits was made as an avenue to acknowledge the members of the film crew it took to create the movie. The length of the end credits depends on the number of people on the production team. The length of some end credits will make you wonder, who are all these people and what do they do?

Who is in the end credits and in what order do they appear?

Most end credits are typed in white characters on a black background, and it can be displayed in different orders. Some display the movie characters and production team in no particular order, some in order of appearance and according to their popularity.

However, in most cases, end credit begins with ‘above-the-line’ (ATL) individuals. These individuals most times have their names standing alone before the lengthy credits start. Either way, the actors and production team members are acknowledged in their different disciplines.

This is how a standard above-the-line (ATL) closing credit order is arranged;

Several movies follow this order. However, the order is tweaked in some other movies. Other movies might even have the credits displayed at the beginning and also at the end of the movie. Whichever way, the closing credits have come to stay.

Also, the genre of the movie affects the order. Some movies are dance-based, and the choreographer or dance company involved is also credited. Some movies with stunts also add the stuntmen or stunt company to their credits and so on.

Although these credits are significant, there are still a series of steps to be taken to draft one. Several people have to decide how the credits are displayed and whose name comes up in the end credit.

Credit: Filmmaker IQ

Who decides on the names displayed in movie credits?

The opening credits are strictly done decided by the film unions. Some of these unions are the Writers Guild of America, Screen Actors Guild of America, Producers Guild of America, and a few more. However, closing credits are mostly decided upon by the producer or the production company in support of the unions.

Aside from the producer, several actors have it stated in their contract, how and where they want their names to appear in the credit. This is also considered, so as not to breach the contract. After all, these are considered, the closing credit is decided, and the order and template to be used are also considered.

At times, some people do not have their names on credit even with how long it could be. Some of these uncredited people appear in the movie database IMDB.com, and they always have attached to their names in bracket ‘uncredited.’ This happens once in a while and there are several complaints passed. However, these conflicts are settled privately.

How do producers get people to sit through the end credit?

Opening credits are very easy to watch, as they make you anticipate the movie, especially when they have captivating soundtracks. Fans hardly sit through the end credits because they have already enjoyed the movie and they know the key players. However, Hollywood producers have discovered different ways to get fans glued to their seats for the end credits.

Some movie credits feature some fun animation which keeps fan eyes on the screen waiting for more. A great example is the Marvel Action’s Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2. The animation was also quite hilarious, and it makes you want to even go through the end credit more than once. The soundtrack played along with the credit is also captivating and still, connects fans to the movie.

The most interesting credits are the ones that include out-plays. These out-plays are edited into the credits as partying scenes which are most times very humorous or sometimes a scene from a follow-up movie. Another Marvel Action Movie with an out-play is the ‘Ant-Man’ movie. The scene in the middle of the credit gave fans an idea of an upcoming Marvel movie and fans are still anticipating.

Out-plays, animation, music, and humorous scenes are the tricks producers adapt to make end credits appealing, and these tricks work. More fans are beginning to anticipate closing credits. Although they are cumbersome, closing credits are necessary to the movie crew, and now they are now important to fans.

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