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    Reference Guide for Credits
    #1
    Moderator Zak Forsman's Avatar
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    I've seen a few posts asking about credits and thought I'd post this guide for how credits are conventionally structured. A great way to put a professional polish on your short 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!
    Last edited by Zak Forsman; 10-15-2008 at 09:32 AM.
    DOWN AND DANGEROUS is now on iTunes :: A smuggler bleeds like anyone else. He just gets more chances to prove it.
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    #2
    More Cowbell Pictures Michael Anthony Horrigan's Avatar
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    Great post!

    Yah, I wear many hats so I just sum it up like this... a Film by Michael Anthony Horrigan

    That title includes; Writing, Gaffer, DOP, Directing, Editing, etc... I actually just sent off a PM earlier today asking about credits.
    I was wondering why we are not allotted 15 seconds solely for the purpose of credits.
    I'm under my six minute time limit but could use extra time for credits. Otherwise they will fly by in the six or so seconds I have left over.

    Cheers,

    Mike


    MONSTERFEST : 4th Place - Sustained Excellence Award - WESTFEST: 3rd Place - THRILLFEST: 3rd Place


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    #3
    Como's back. back again Robbie Comeau's Avatar
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    Thanks Zak.

    Robbie
    Rob Comeau - Film Director
    www.vimeo.com/comeauproductions (film)
    www.youtube.com/comeauproductions (film)
    www.facebook.com/robcomeaufilm
    Message me to check out my films!


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    Nosey Penguin
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    Great guide, Zak. I actually had a question about credits that I was going to pose, perhaps I should do it here:

    Robbie gave me a short opening scene that he had written and asked me if I had any ideas concerning where the plot should go. It could have gone anywhere, but I came up with an idea that he liked and he asked me to write it. I did some polishing up for the one scene he had done and finished the script. Now I have found someone to film it and I want to know how to credit Robbie. We feel he should get something but we can't figure out what. I was going to bill it as "Written By: Nick Lane and Robbie Comeau" but he thinks that is giving him too much credit (which it kind of is) and he wouldn't feel right about that. Any suggestions?


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    More Cowbell Pictures Michael Anthony Horrigan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ConspiracyPenguin View Post
    Great guide, Zak. I actually had a question about credits that I was going to pose, perhaps I should do it here:

    Robbie gave me a short opening scene that he had written and asked me if I had any ideas concerning where the plot should go. It could have gone anywhere, but I came up with an idea that he liked and he asked me to write it. I did some polishing up for the one scene he had done and finished the script. Now I have found someone to film it and I want to know how to credit Robbie. We feel he should get something but we can't figure out what. I was going to bill it as "Written By: Nick Lane and Robbie Comeau" but he thinks that is giving him too much credit (which it kind of is) and he wouldn't feel right about that. Any suggestions?
    How about... Story by Robbie and The Penguin. Written by The Penguin.


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    Moderator Zak Forsman's Avatar
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    I can tell you exactly what to do, but first i need to know what percentage of the screenplay is comprised of that scene Robbie wrote. less that 33%?
    DOWN AND DANGEROUS is now on iTunes :: A smuggler bleeds like anyone else. He just gets more chances to prove it.
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    Admin Luis Caffesse's Avatar
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    Good info, Zak.

    Here's a question though - in many cases we have entries where one or two people did everything.
    What would you do in those scenarios?

    I've always felt a bit cheesy listing my own name 10 times over.
    Thoug having credits that only credit a few major roles might make it seem as if we're not giving others their due (when in fact there are no 'others).

    Just curious how other people approach that situation.


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    More Cowbell Pictures Michael Anthony Horrigan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luis Caffesse View Post
    Good info, Zak.

    Here's a question though - in many cases we have entries where one or two people did everything.
    What would you do in those scenarios?

    I've always felt a bit cheesy listing my own name 10 times over.
    Thoug having credits that only credit a few major roles might make it seem as if we're not giving others their due (when in fact there are no 'others).

    Just curious how other people approach that situation.
    I think he covered that a bit here...
    Quote Originally Posted by Zak Forsman View Post

    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...". Or maybe "a film by..." is enough. Don't have a casting director? 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 go with "A Film by..."

    Cheers,

    Mike


    MONSTERFEST : 4th Place - Sustained Excellence Award - WESTFEST: 3rd Place - THRILLFEST: 3rd Place


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    Admin Luis Caffesse's Avatar
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    Doh!
    Thanks, Michael.


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    Senior Member stinkpot's Avatar
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    Just thinking about this very subject.

    Great post.... and yes, "move, baby, move!"
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