BUILDING YOUR CREDIT CRAWL
Credits are that golden opportunity to have your name float up the screen, announcing proudly that you worked on a project. Many crew take them very seriously - and so should you. As a Line Producer or UPM, you assembled your team to do great work and this is your chance to publicly display the appreciation.
...but, slow down - you cannot simply copy the crew list over and expect that to be sufficient - oh, no. Like everything, there are rules, considerations and contractual obligations to keep in mind. Size, screen placement, order and how the crew is attributed are very important aspects to watch closely. While many Line Producer and UPM’s leave the project a few weeks after principal photography, it’s important to turn over an accurate and annotated list of the crew to the Post Team.
This article will discuss a few easy steps to ensure you have everything in order. Included at the end, I have listed a typical credit list position order for you to use as a guide. As with everything here at LineProducing.com - it is only a guide, a helpful suggestion. Feel free to alter, add and change as you see fit.
WHEN TO START
Now. When you start a project, the moment you start the first draft of the crew list, you should have your Coordinator start a separate document which lists all the positions so he or she can fill them in as they go. I go one extra step and list contractual obligations along with the name and position. You can re-arrange the names into the proper order as you go too.
There are dozens of title houses who do this sort of work, so I recommend contacting the house you will be using to determine the format they need. Some like a PDF or simple word document, while others like it as an excel sheet. Some like tables, others do not.
What I do is open Pages (Word on the Mac) and create a three-columned table. In the first column is the contractual stipulations, second is the persons position and the third is, of course, the persons' name.
Who to Include
The rule of thumb I and others I have asked use is this: If the person has worked on 60% or more of the shooting days, then they get a credit, for sure. Day players or people who only worked a few weeks during prep then bailed should not automatically get a credit. Of course, exceptions like Storyboard Artists, Crane Operators and Camera Car Drivers (to name only a few) should be listed because even though they may have only worked one or three days, they contributed a significant portion of artistry to the project.
Be sure to ask the crew how they would like to be listed - if you choose to list them at all. I have on my standard Deal Memo, a line for the person to put the correct credit name. Some people will fill out their Deal Memos with shortened names or with no middle initial - but on the screen, they would like it to be their real name. I also include a box to check-mark if they choose to not want to be listed in the credits at all.
There are certain unions and guilds which request and require you to clear your credits with them. Listed below are the organizations you need to contact when finalizing the credit list. Chances are it will not be you who is doing the verifications, but as the Line Producer or UPM - you should know this information. Of course, if you are not a union show, or not signatory to a particular union or guild - then these are not rules, but rather guidelines. For a non-union project, you need no permissions on credits.
Directors Guild of America
The Director’s Guild requires review of the main & end titles. If you have no main titles, you must contact the Guild for a waiver to do so. Some of the key rules include no crew person other than the director may have a title that has the word “director” or “direction in it. Some positions are automatically waived, such as Art Director. Another guideline is the need to list the director on the last card before picture (or the first card in the end credits, if you don’t have main titles). The last one I will mention here is that of the UPM & AD card. It must be the located before any other technical credits. This means either before or after the cast, but before the rest of the crew. If you have a desire to put a technical credit in the main titles, you must request a waiver for that. Also, it’s the director’s choice, per the contract, to chose the form of the possesory credit, as in: “A Stephen Marinaccio Film” or “A Film by Stephen Marinaccio”. This approval process can take up to one week.
Writers Guild of America
The Writer’s Guild is VERY particular about credit afforded to the writer. In general, however, keep these points in mind: The writer’s billing must be placed just before the director’s card (or just after for main titles at the end). There is an issue the WGA has with anyone listed as “Creative Consultant”, so please consider using an alternate title. There are stipulations for multiple writers that goes something like this: If more than one writer is credited and they worked as a team, you must use the ampersand (&) between the names. If a writer was added to the project then that additional writer’s credit would be listed after with the word “and” preceding as in a team “Stephen Marinaccio & Allison Calleri” or one writer with an additional as “Stephen Marinaccio and Allison Calleri”. This approval process can take up to two weeks.
Producers Guild of America
The PGA currently has no credit review process for the films release. The only time they step in is when it comes time to determine Best Picture producers for the Academy Awards.
The teamsters do not require review of the credits, but if you signed with them -they do require their 399 Seal to be in the end credits. Contact Steve to get the file - or most title companies already have it.
Screen Actors Guild
There is no pre-release formal review process by SAG over your credits. However, there is one rule to follow - at least 50 of your SAG cast must be listed on screen. If you have less than 50 cast - then they all get listed. Oh, and don’t list non-SAG actors if at all possible, that can be messy of you are ever grieved and SAG then does have to review your credits.
IATSE - Art Director’s Guild
The Art Director’s Guild has a policy, and stipulations in the contract, that controls the Production Designers credit. You must ask permission in order to credit someone with that tile - yes, even if that person has been a Production Designer for 30 years. This process takes about three weeks.
At this time, there are no other guilds or unions which stipulate a review of the credits. If things change, I’ll post it here! If you see one missing, let me know.
Following are three parts: Front End Titles, Tail (End) credits and I threw in some legal language references for you too. Please use this as a guide and feel free to rearrange as your project needs. Of course, this is not an exhaustive list - so your project may require less or more positions. Good Luck!
FRONT END TITLES
[Production Company] presents
A [name of director] film (or) A Film by [name of director]
[Title of Project]
Costumes Designed by
Production Design by
Director of Photography
Line Producer (rarely given)
Based on a book by
Screenplay by (or) Written by (depends on the case)
NOTE: Your one-sheet billing block will most likely include the above credits. You will need to ensure tho following items are on there too, as per your projects:
- Company(ies) Logo(s)
- MPAA Rating
- Dolby Labs
- Copyright © [year] [production company name]
TAIL / END CREDITS
Unit Production Manager
First Assistant Director
Second Assistant Director
[Cast] - Usually ordered alphabetically or in order of appearance
Operator “A” Camera
First Assistant “A” Camera
Second Assistant “A” Camera
First Assistant “B” Camera
Second Assistant “B” Camera
Data Capture Engineer
Data Capture Assistant
Art Department Coordinator
Art Department Intern
On Set Dresser
Assistant Prop Master
Lighting and Grip Equipment provided by
Best Boy Electric
Best Boy Grip
Make Up Department Head
Make Up Artist
Hair Department Head
Key Textile Artist
Picture Car Coordinator
Assistant Production Accountant
3rd Assistant Director
Assistant Production Coordinator
Key Set Production Assistant
Set Production Assistants
Office Production Assistants
Assistant Construction Coordinator
Scenic Charge Painter
Catering provided by
Behind the Scenes Video
International Travel Services provided by
Post Production Services
Makeup Effects Created and Designed by
Visual Effects by
Digital Film services
Digital Intermediate and Color Timing
Post Production Sound
Foley work provided by
Music Score Coordinator
Score Production Supervisor
Music Editing by
Supervising Music Editor
Performed by Goudarzi
Performed by Goudarzi
Performed by Goudarzi
Promotional Trailer House
Clearances provided by
Music Clearances provided by
Title Clearance provided by
Dolby Sound Consultant
Digital Film System provided by
Offline Editing Systems provided by
Payroll Services provided by
Insurance provided by
Optical Soundtrack Negative provided by
Laser Etched Localizations provided by
Based on the book “Title”
Photographed on location in [location(s)]
THIS FILM IS BASED ON ACTUAL EVENTS. IN CERTAIN CASES, INCIDENTS, CHARACTERS AND/OR TIMELINES HAVE BEEN CHANGED FOR DRAMATIC PURPOSES. CERTAIN CHARACTERS MAY BE COMPOSITES, OR ENTIRELY FICTITIOUS AND IN SUCH EVENT, ANY RESEMBLANCE OR SIMILARITY TO PERSONS, LIVING OR DEAD, IS ENTIRELY COINCIDENTAL.
THIS MOTION PICTURE PHOTOPLAY IS PROTECTED PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND OTHER COUNTRIES. ANY UNAUTHORIZED DUPLICATION AND/OR DISTRIBUTION OF THIS PHOTOPLAY MAY RESULT IN CIVIL LIABILITY AND CRIMINAL PROSECUTION.
THIS MOTION PICTURE IS BEING EXHIBITED UNDER SPECIFIC LICENSE AND IS NOT FOR SALE.
COPYRIGHT © [year]
All Rights Reserved
Country of First Publication: United States of America
[company name] is the author of this motion picture for purposes of the Berne Convention
and all national laws giving effect thereto.