Proper heirarchy for screen credits?

Assuming no one in the crew asks for a special kind of credit in their contract, what would be the "standard" order of positions to appear in the beginning of a film? At the end?

Thanks...
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
Not really but generally above the line before below the line, then song credits, unions, thanks.... etc.
 
I thought I'd post this guide for how credits are conventionally structured. A great way to put a professional polish on your film is to do as the pros do. And so...

OPENING CREDITS
The order of credits is determined by guild rules -- SAG, the DGA, WGA and other unions. the list that follows is for opening credits.

The order in which credits are billed generally follows their importance to the film, just not linearly. First is usually the motion picture company, followed by the producer, then the 'a film by' credit. Then we see the Title followed by the cast. from there we reverse gears on the whole "order of importance" guideline and work backwards to the director...

PRODUCTION COMPANY presents
a NAME LASTNAME production
a NAME LASTNAME film
"TITLE"
Lead Cast
Supporting Cast
Casting Director
Music Composer
Costume Designer
Associate Producers
Editor(s)
Production Designer
Director of Photography
Executive Producer
Producer
Writer(s)
Director​

if the writer and director are the same person, or the director was also a producer, hold his earlier credit and pair it with the more prestigious one (in this case "director"). so you would place "Written and Directed by" or "Produced and Directed by" or "Edited and Directed by" where the Director's credit goes. if your Dp was also your editor, you'd have "Editor and Director of Photography..." falling in the position where the DP credit goes. et cetera.

CLOSING CREDITS
Closing credits do not have any hard and fast rules that dictate how they need to be ordered. But there are conventions that have been established. If you intend to have no opening credits (something George Lucas left the DGA over) you basically put the Director, Writer and Producer credits first, then go down the line for the closing credits:

Director
Writer(s)
Producer
Executive Producer
Lead Cast
Supporting Cast
Director of Photography
Production Designer
Editor(s)
Associate Producers
Costume Designer
Music Composer
Casting Director​


***if you credited the above in the opening, closing credits begin here ***

Unit Production Manager
First Assistant Director
Second Assistant Director
Full Cast / Character List
Stunt Dept
Production Departments (Grip, Electric, Camera, Sound, Wardrobe, etc)
Post-Production Departments (Assistant Editors, Visual Effects, Colorist, etc)
Song Credits
Caterer
Title Designer
Special Thanks
Camera, Lenses and Equipment Makers
Location of Final Sound Mix ("Recorded at...")
Copyright ©
Disclaimer


special consideration is given for "name" actors, often they are credited just before the title comes up. and again, you have a lot of wiggle room with closing credits. some films credit the entire cast first, before the director. you have options here.

THE DISCLAIMER
Here is a standard motion picture disclaimer...

"PERSON'S NAME OR PRODUCTION COMPANY" is the author of this motion picture for the purpose of copyrght and other laws.

This motion picture is protected pursuant to the provisions of the laws of the United States of America and other countries. Any unauthorized duplication, distribution and/or exhibition of this motion picture may result in civil liability and criminal prosecution.

Characters and incidents portrayed and the names herein are fictitious, and any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.

No animals were harmed in the making of this film.



PRODUCTION LOGO
if you have an Animated Production Company Logo, place that at the very beginning, before your credits. it's the first thing we see. some studios/production companies will tag the logo on at the very end too.

BREVITY
Now, it's important to note that on a short film, many of the roles you see above were handled by one person. I've been to a few film festivals and there is nothing more likely to induce a collective groan, and lose a few fans in the process, than a tedious string of credits on a five minute film... especially if the same names keep popping up. and I'll tell you why. at festivals, shorts are programmed in blocks of 90 to 120 minutes. no one in the audience cares who did what. so waiting thru two minutes of white test scrolling against black is pretty miserable for everyone. it also does a disservice to your fellow filmmaker. shorts blocks thrive on momentum. I've seen people leave the theater over because of long credits. in particular, I sat through a 22 minute film followed by 6 minutes of very detailed credits. HALF the theater left before my film screened. half.

The best advice I can give here is that if you were the writer, director, producer, cinematographer and editer... just go with the most important titles (in this case... "written and directed by...", dropping any credit for your editing or cinematography. Or maybe "a film by..." is enough. Didn't have a casting director and held scheduled the auditions yourself? skip it. And even if you had a crew of 20-30 people, move through those credits as quickly as possible. When you are watching a short film, a minute worth of credits feels like an eternity. move, baby, move!
 
I'd be interested to use a stand-alone rolling credit software... no plug-in.
Anyone has info where to get one?

Am just amazed for such a simple program and I can't find one!
Nothing fancy, just allow me to enter the names and roll it.

I'd really appreciate your advice.

Cheers
 
I'd be interested to use a stand-alone rolling credit software... no plug-in.
Anyone has info where to get one?

Am just amazed for such a simple program and I can't find one!
Nothing fancy, just allow me to enter the names and roll it.

I'd really appreciate your advice.

Cheers

It's not built into your editing software....
I know it's in Premiere and I think it's even in Vegas.
 
Assuming no one in the crew asks for a special kind of credit in their contract, what would be the "standard" order of positions to appear in the beginning of a film? At the end?

Thanks...

My rule for credits:

Opening . . .

Logo: (if you must, I suggest you don't) :00 to :02
Film Title card: :03 to :06
Film Begins at :07

Closing (for shorts) . . .

Film fades to black.
ONE title card with everyone's name: :05 seconds (no one cares! at home there's "pause".)
Title card with your films website: :04
Cut to black.

Closing (for features) . . .
I'd suggest splitting the screen in half and run a gag reel or other production footage with the credits rolling on the other side. 1:30 max.
Title card with your film's website url :04

Good luck.
 
@G.A.

Heheh
It's a good advice!
The only people cares about credits are the actors/crew to be shown. The audience is long gone by the time it gets to the end.
 
I'm curious about all the little details at the end of the end credits in most films.

Are they crediting the camera companies and editing software companies because they have to or because they want to? There's always a bunch of little corporate logos at the end of the film.

Is all of the "copyright" stuff and "no animals harmed" and "based on fictitious characters" stuff necessary? I seems to me it's implied or assumed (at least for modern audiences) and I doubt you need to state that you own the copyright to actually own it. Right?

Is it all just tradition or is there actually some legal formality?

Basically I made a feature film on my own without help from any companies or locations or organizations or guilds, so I'm trying to figure out the bare minimum I NEED to put in my credits.

Thanks
 

jax_rox

Staff Member
Moderator
Are they crediting the camera companies and editing software companies because they have to or because they want to? There's always a bunch of little corporate logos at the end of the film.
Sometimes both, more often than not it would be part of the contract. On low budget features where equipment hire places and post houses and colour labs are doing you incredible deals, they expect to get at least a credit.

Is all of the "copyright" stuff and "no animals harmed" and "based on fictitious characters" stuff necessary? I seems to me it's implied or assumed (at least for modern audiences) and I doubt you need to state that you own the copyright to actually own it. Right?
The 'no animals harmed' statement can only be used if the RSPCA (I assume the equivalent would be the ASPCA in the US) is actually present on set.
I can't offer much legal advice on the statements, only to say that they're there so people don't sue (or think about suing) for different aspects - i.e. animal harming, relation to their own story (and therefore a percentage of the profits) etc. etc.

Never assume that something is simply implied.

Basically I made a feature film on my own without help from any companies or locations or organizations or guilds, so I'm trying to figure out the bare minimum I NEED to put in my credits.
There's no reason to thank people you didn't work with.
 

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
What is it about November that brings this thread up again? First
in Nov 2008 then dead for four years to be revived in Nov 2012
and once again revived this month.

Is it all just tradition or is there actually some legal formality?
jax is correct. Company credits and logos are contractual. Companies
like Kodak, Arri, Panavision and the guilds and unions require it.
That doesn’t mean if you use RED or the Canon 5d you are required
to credit them.

The “copyright stuff” is simply good practice - not necessary but
a good idea to include in credits.

The ASPCA card is considered a badge of honor by many filmmakers.
As jax mentions the producer is required to have monitors on the
set in order to use that card.

If you made a movie without help from any companies or locations
or organizations or guilds you are not required to credit the companies,
locations, organizations or guilds that did not help you.
 
Heh, it's rare that I ever get to use my formal education in discussions on IT. This is one of those rare moments. :)

The American Humane Association is the organization that supervises Hollywood productions and officially endorses them with the "No animals were harmed..." (with their logo attached) in the credits.

The American Humane Association should not be confused with the American Humane Society (aka - ASPCA). The American Humane Society is a non-profit organization that shelters and finds homes for animals that have been abused and/or injured (they're awesome). The American Humane Association is a completely different group, and they exist solely to monitor the use of animals in TV and film productions.

It's worth noting, however, that the American Humane Association does not require their field supervisors to possess any expertise in animal husbandry, or any education that would give them insight into species-specific behaviors. In other words, they're a bunch of schmucks who have no way of telling whether or not a chimpanzee, for example, is showing signs of emotional distress. They also have been shown to have some very questionable definitions of what exactly it means for an animal to be harmed.

Furthermore, the American Humane Association receives 100% of its funding from the Director's Guild of America. Uhh... conflict of interest much?

Anyway, I personally reject the AHA, and I feel like if you want to say that no animals were harmed, you absolutely have the legal right to do so. You just can't use their logo, but they suck anyway, so F them!

On the question of opening credits, I feel like that's more of an artistic decision. Even without any big names, I feel like there are many reasons why one might want to use them, and I think it's entirely up to you to choose the order in which people appear (and which people appear).
 
I thought I'd post this guide for how credits are conventionally structured. A great way to put a professional polish on your film is to do as the pros do. And so...

OPENING CREDITS
The order of credits is determined by guild rules -- SAG, the DGA, WGA and other unions. the list that follows is for opening credits.

The order in which credits are billed generally follows their importance to the film, just not linearly. First is usually the motion picture company, followed by the producer, then the 'a film by' credit. Then we see the Title followed by the cast. from there we reverse gears on the whole "order of importance" guideline and work backwards to the director...


PRODUCTION COMPANY presents
a NAME LASTNAME production
a NAME LASTNAME film
"TITLE"
Lead Cast
Supporting Cast
Casting Director
Music Composer
Costume Designer
Associate Producers
Editor(s)
Production Designer
Director of Photography
Executive Producer
Producer
Writer(s)
Director


if the writer and director are the same person, or the director was also a producer, hold his earlier credit and pair it with the more prestigious one (in this case "director"). so you would place "Written and Directed by" or "Produced and Directed by" or "Edited and Directed by" where the Director's credit goes. if your Dp was also your editor, you'd have "Editor and Director of Photography..." falling in the position where the DP credit goes. et cetera.

CLOSING CREDITS
Closing credits do not have any hard and fast rules that dictate how they need to be ordered. But there are conventions that have been established. If you intend to have no opening credits (something George Lucas left the DGA over) you basically put the Director, Writer and Producer credits first, then go down the line for the closing credits:


Director
Writer(s)
Producer
Executive Producer
Lead Cast
Supporting Cast
Director of Photography
Production Designer
Editor(s)
Associate Producers
Costume Designer
Music Composer
Casting Director


***if you credited the above in the opening, closing credits begin here ***

Unit Production Manager
First Assistant Director
Second Assistant Director
Full Cast / Character List
Stunt Dept
Production Departments (Grip, Electric, Camera, Sound, Wardrobe, etc)
Post-Production Departments (Assistant Editors, Visual Effects, Colorist, etc)
Song Credits
Caterer
Title Designer
Special Thanks
Camera, Lenses and Equipment Makers
Location of Final Sound Mix ("Recorded at...")
Copyright ©
Disclaimer


special consideration is given for "name" actors, often they are credited just before the title comes up. and again, you have a lot of wiggle room with closing credits. some films credit the entire cast first, before the director. you have options here.

THE DISCLAIMER
Here is a standard motion picture disclaimer...

"PERSON'S NAME OR PRODUCTION COMPANY" is the author of this motion picture for the purpose of copyrght and other laws.

This motion picture is protected pursuant to the provisions of the laws of the United States of America and other countries. Any unauthorized duplication, distribution and/or exhibition of this motion picture may result in civil liability and criminal prosecution.

Characters and incidents portrayed and the names herein are fictitious, and any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.

No animals were harmed in the making of this film.


PRODUCTION LOGO
if you have an Animated Production Company Logo, place that at the very beginning, before your credits. it's the first thing we see. some studios/production companies will tag the logo on at the very end too.

BREVITY
Now, it's important to note that on a short film, many of the roles you see above were handled by one person. I've been to a few film festivals and there is nothing more likely to induce a collective groan, and lose a few fans in the process, than a tedious string of credits on a five minute film... especially if the same names keep popping up. and I'll tell you why. at festivals, shorts are programmed in blocks of 90 to 120 minutes. no one in the audience cares who did what. so waiting thru two minutes of white test scrolling against black is pretty miserable for everyone. it also does a disservice to your fellow filmmaker. shorts blocks thrive on momentum. I've seen people leave the theater over because of long credits. in particular, I sat through a 22 minute film followed by 6 minutes of very detailed credits. HALF the theater left before my film screened. half.

The best advice I can give here is that if you were the writer, director, producer, cinematographer and editer... just go with the most important titles (in this case... "written and directed by...", dropping any credit for your editing or cinematography. Or maybe "a film by..." is enough. Didn't have a casting director and held scheduled the auditions yourself? skip it. And even if you had a crew of 20-30 people, move through those credits as quickly as possible. When you are watching a short film, a minute worth of credits feels like an eternity. move, baby, move!

I know this sounds like a weird question, but are the various conventions you just listed different in Europe? Because I noticed that a lot of French movies have kind of an odd way of listing writing credits ("screenplay" and "dialogue" are separate things), and sometimes credit directors in a roundabout way (for example, Amelie was "a film by jean-Pierre jeunet" not "directed by jean-Pierre jeunet") or simply don't credit them at all (He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not). Oh, and by the way, my French is very poor, so correct me if I made any mistakes.
 

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
I know this sounds like a weird question, but are the various conventions you just listed different in Europe? Because I noticed that a lot of French movies have kind of an odd way of listing writing credits ("screenplay" and "dialogue" are separate things), and sometimes credit directors in a roundabout way (for example, Amelie was "a film by jean-Pierre jeunet" not "directed by jean-Pierre jeunet") or simply don't credit them at all (He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not). Oh, and by the way, my French is very poor, so correct me if I made any mistakes.
In the US you will see "Story by" and "Screenplay by". In France the "story by"
equivalent is often "screenplay by" and the "dialogue by" is often the US equivalent
of "screenplay by". Many US films pre 1960 listed "dialogue by" in addition to
"screenplay by". That credit has fallen out of favor.

"Amelie" does list "Directed by" in addition to "A film by". Many American films
give both credits. It's been a long time since I've seen "À la folie... pas du tout"
but i remember seeing the "réalisateur" credit which translates to director.
 
What is it about November that brings this thread up again? First
in Nov 2008 then dead for four years to be revived in Nov 2012
and once again revived this month.

Here we are again in late October of 2015, we were so close!

Also I thought this was a new thread so it took me by surprise to see my name come up in asking questions from a couple years ago that I now know the answer to. Glad to see I've at least learned something about filmmaking!

QUICK NOTES for anyone else with questions on this topic:

I'm making a short based on written materials right now so I put "Based on the short story xxxxx by xxxxx" in my opening titles which was something not listed on this thread.

I also did something kind of unique since I did so many jobs on this film... I put "A Film by Josh Beck" in the opening titles, then in the end credits I put "Post Production by Josh Beck" as the last crew credit. Saved TONS of time and redundant credits. and put more of the focus on the crew members who helped on set.

As a technical note for someone looking to make scrolling credits, I have always been annoyed by the lack of customizability I've seen with some of those plugins or programs. What I always end up doing is making a really long PNG image file in Photoshop so it looks exactly the way I want with the spacing and font and then I automate it in my editing software so it just moves across the screen vertically. Pretty simple.
 
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