Credit where it’s due

An interesting piece about film credits aired on Marketplace last week, discussing why the in- and out- credits on films have gotten so much longer than previously. It explained why this has occurred and started with a look at the closing scroll on Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

The credits last a whopping nine minutes and thirty seconds, that’s an addition of more than three minutes over the original 1993 Jurassic Park…

“There’s no question that there are more company credits and more individual credits on movies these days.” Tom Noonan is a producer and lecturer at UCLA’s film school. He says it’s always been common to see a lot of companies attached to independent films because indie filmmakers typically cobble together funding from a number of sources but that’s increasingly how major movie studios get made too.

“The risk of movies has never been higher, so studios, production companies, distribution companies, are sharing risk in ways that they never agreed to before.”

These days it’s visual effects making those extra-long credits so long. Not just for giant dinosaurs but even tiny details like water droplets or realistic fur, may be highly specialised work that’s compensated with both money and a screen credit.

“People have gotten addicted to doing whatever they want to do storytelling-wise,” Mark Maccora is a visual effects producer for movies like Twilight and Night of Cups. He says with the increasing number and complexity of visual effects in many films, it’s not uncommon for ten or more visual effect companies to work on a project. That last Jurassic World lists fifteen, and the latest Star Wars, more than twenty.

“You’ll have a specialist company that’s doing just a couple of the elements for certain shots.”

That adds up to more than a thousand individual effects credits on many blockbusters.

The piece is mostly explanatory but does seem to fall on the side that isn’t a fan of the change towards longer credits. I’m not sure I agree, I may be in a minority but I really quite enjoy them. The idents at the beginning of a piece always give just a hint of what you might be in for (lots of idents indicates more independent films, Chinese idents suggest where some of the money has come from, etc). Also, the rolling credits at the end of a movie are a fascinating insight into what went down.

Of course, there’s the list of actors, but go beyond that and there’s all sorts of fun. It entertains me greatly looking at some of the odder job titles (that dinosaur supervisor meme springs to mind), the filming locations are always interesting, and the list of additional thanks can offer up some great surprises. It’s testament to how much I love the credits is that perhaps the only thing I dislike about the Netflix user experience is how they disappear off into a small corner whilst the service tries to sell you on the next stream.

Also, you need nice long credits to reward those Marvel die-hards for getting to the extra tantalising scenes. Maybe they do go on a long time but as the business of film making starts to employ more and more people, everyone deserves a thanks for the joy we get from watching.