How to organise your Film Titles/Credits
We were having problems deciding the best practice for adding titles and credits to our films. Some of our films were of very short duration and so adding extensive credits did not make sense. Therefore in the final edits and for most cases we decided not to add any credits in the actual videos but to just add them into the more information section in YouTube. However I did find this while researching for guidelines on how to structure opening and end credits for short films – it’s from a forum so its un-attributed but my personal thankyou to the guys that contributed to this and that posted this up.
The rules and guides for opening and end credits for film:-
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…
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
Director of Photography
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. etcetera.
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 of Photography
***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
Production Departments (Grip, Electric, Camera, Sound, Wardrobe, etc)
Post-Production Departments (Assistant Editors, Visual Effects, Colorist, etc)
Camera, Lenses and Equipment Makers
Location of Final Sound Mix (“Recorded at…”)
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.
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.
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.
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 through 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 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 editor… 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.