Q & A about movie credits?

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Matthew Prince, Jul 21, 2004.

  1. Matthew Prince

    Matthew Prince Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm bored, so I came up with a Few questions about movie credits and posters, I want to see if any one can help me...

    1. What does it mean on a movie poster when a person's name has a highlighted border around it? Does it mean it's their first picture?

    2. Why does America use a Vertical style of movie poster and Europe and rest of the world use a Landscape style of poster?

    3. What does a Second or Third Unit director do? Have there been cases where the Second or Third Unit direct ended up shooting a whole movie or the stunts?

    4. Who was 'Alan Smithee' and what is(are?) the name(s) mostly used instead of 'him'? [​IMG]

    I can't think of any more...
     
  2. Kevin Hewell

    Kevin Hewell Cinematographer

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    This is the name used when the director wants his name off the movie, ie David Lynch in the extended version of "Dune."
     
  3. Matthew Prince

    Matthew Prince Stunt Coordinator

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    I've heard that no one really uses Alan Smithee anymore. What other names do shy directors [​IMG] use?
     
  4. Andre Bijelic

    Andre Bijelic Stunt Coordinator

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    "1. What does it mean on a movie poster when a person's name has a highlighted border around it? Does it mean it's their first picture?"

    This has more to do with contract negotiations than anything else. Someone's agent/manager convinces the studio that their client is sufficiently important to have a border around their name.

    "3. What does a Second or Third Unit director do? Have there been cases where the Second or Third Unit direct ended up shooting a whole movie or the stunts?"

    Second unit, and additional unit, directors can shoot all kinds of footage. Usually, it's things like establishing shots - long shots of buildings, planes landing, etc. On larger productions, it can be stunt sequences, chases, effects scenes, and so on - basically, anything not involving the principal actors.

    "4. Who was 'Alan Smithee' and what is(are?) the name(s) mostly used instead of 'him'?"

    The Alan Smithee pseudonym has been retired because he had become too famous. As far as I know, Smithee hasn't been replaced by a single name.
     
  5. Brian Thibodeau

    Brian Thibodeau Supporting Actor

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    Walter Hill used Thomas Lee on SUPERNOVA. Maybe that's the start of something...
     
  6. DougFND

    DougFND Second Unit

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    It's the "with", "and" and "as" credits I've always wanted to know about. I can't think of any examples at the moment, so I'll make some up.

    A Movie
    Starring Actor A, Actor B, Actor C
    With Actor D

    Another Movie
    Starring Actor E, Actor F and Actor G

    Yet Another Movie
    Starring Actor H, Actor I, Actor J
    And/With Actor K as Character A
     
  7. Terry St

    Terry St Second Unit

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  8. EricSchulz

    EricSchulz Producer

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    Doug is correct, it's all contractual stuff. It's also like (and I find this annoying) when there is an ensemble cast and the poster show actors A, B, C and D but the listing of names over the picture is arranged actor C, A, B and D. Especially with big names, that placement is such an ego-thing. (I guess we "common-folk" could use the analogy of getting picked first in gym class...)
     
  9. Tarkin The Ewok

    Tarkin The Ewok Supporting Actor

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    When an actor/actress is listed in the credits with the word "with", "and", or "as," it is a fulfillment of the billing required by the contract.

    Typically, I have seen this for well-respected actors in smaller roles.
     
  10. Beau

    Beau Supporting Actor

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    I always say that if someone who is seemingly an important character in the movie and is credited as "and", that usually means that they're going to die before halfway through the movie.
     
  11. Nick Sievers

    Nick Sievers Producer

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    Well over here we have the same American One-Sheet posters as a standard.
     
  12. Ricardo C

    Ricardo C Producer

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    Same here in South America.
     
  13. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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    That was indeed the start of something: it was the start of the Director's Guild no longer using Alan Smithee, due to their belief that the name was too well-known. The point of the use of Smithee was to draw attention away from the problem that caused the director to remove his or her name in the first place (hence the DGA's requirement that, in order to have one's name removed, one must not speak publicly about the problem - see also American History X). Since Smithee's notoriety drew too much attention each time it was used, the DGA instituted a plan, beginning with Supernova, to apply pseudonyms on a film-by-film basis.

    DJ
     
  14. Lynda-Marie

    Lynda-Marie Supporting Actor

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    One question I would like to put to the studios with regards to credits is:

    WHY do you have to make some movie and TV credits virtually unreadable? Below is a partial list:
    1. Small or illegible fonts are used.
    2. Poor choice of colors that do not make the credits stand out.
    3. The credits roll by way too fast.
    4. What I have taken to calling the "flash card" effect, wherein a set number of credit lines appears onscreen, and flashes to the next set of credits before anyone has a chance to read them all. [​IMG]

    Thank you Andre for clearing up the box thing on the movie posters. I had no idea - proof that you can learn something new every day. An example I remember from the 1980s was in the movie Red Sonja. Arnold Schwarzenegger's name was in HUGE print, then came the title of the movie, then came Brigitte Nielsen's name, and she was the title character! I had some people snickering around me when I commented, "Arnold is the least likely person I would have chosen to play Sonja. Wouldn't he look weird in her scale mail bikini?" [​IMG]
     
  15. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

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    Movie credits are almost always legible on movie screens. When movies are shown on TV, they're smaller to begin with, then they get squished and sped up. There's practically no point in showing them at all. I wonder if there is just some contractual obligation to "show" them, but no obligation to make them actually readable.
     
  16. Rob Gardiner

    Rob Gardiner Cinematographer

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    For years, I thought Alan Smithee was the name of the Universal executive who made changes to Dune. [​IMG]
     
  17. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    You see use of the "with" in TV quite often as well. For instance, I remember Chicago Hope's opening credits had Hector Elizondo's name last, but after a "with". Later on it became "with Hector Elizondo", then "and Mark Harmon".

    Similarly, in Smallville, it starts with Tom Welling, goes through the other cast, then credits "with John Schneider" then "and Annette O'Toole". And in West Wing, the cast is listed alphabetically, save initially Rob Lowe's name was first, and Martin Sheen's name is right at the end with an "and".

    So the distinct impression I get is that anyone after the "with" is not the headline star, but is "important" enough to warrant something different, rather than just simply being the second star who's name appears.

    This reminds me of the piss-take in Ocean's Eleven, where Julia Roberts was credited last with "and introducing Julia Roberts", which is usually reserved for a new starlet making her much-anticipated debut. Her agent apparently was horrified at the suggestion, but JR liked the joke and it stuck.
     

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