Film Credits basics

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Anthony Hom, Jan 30, 2004.

  1. Anthony Hom

    Anthony Hom Supporting Actor

    Mar 24, 1999
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    Can someone give me the basics on how and when certain credits are used at the beginning and end of films (and even TV shows)?
    Here are some questions:

    Why is a director typcially the last in the opening credits and the first in the end credits? and what about "A Film", when do they do that or not?

    When do they decide to list the stars in lead order, alphabetical order, or appearance in film?

    Is the last person in the credits always listed with an "And", and why do some actors get an as "" and some do not?

    Is "Introducing" a designation as an actors first appearance in any film, or commercial film?

    (may apply to TV more) When do they use Guest Star, and Special Guest Star?

    Do some actors not get in the credits if they don't have spoken dialog (unless its intentional)?

    I'm sure there are more questions in this regard. I would welcome more in this vein, but the answers would be nice, too.
  2. EricSchulz

    EricSchulz Producer

    Jan 6, 2004
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    Almost everything you asked regarding how an actor is billed in the credits comes down to the same thing: the contract.

    A great example of the "guest starring" title can be found on Melrose Place. Despite the fact that Heather Locklear played "Amanda" for YEARS on that show, she was always billed as a "guest star". (And I seem to recall it was to keep her option open to leave the series with no notice if she wanted to.)

    When there is a movie with many stars (and their egos), the contract may have the names in different order for the trailers or posters than they appear in the opening credits.

    Unbilled actors (not appearing in the credits) sometimes do it as a favor to the director, esp. for a cameo role.

    Hope this helps!
  3. Quentin

    Quentin Cinematographer

    Feb 4, 2002
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    Los Angeles
    Real Name:
    Quentin H
    The answer to most of your questions is "guild rules" and/or "contractual".

    For instance, the DGA rules determine that the director's name is the last one you see in the opening titles.

    Things like "guest star" and "special guest star" can be contractually negotiated and (in TV) may be part of the guild contract held by the actor.

    "Introducing" IS used for first performances, but is something the producers choose to use to draw attention to the performance.

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