Opening Credits Order:

The important structure of opening credits in a film

Opening credits are a functional creative part of movies. Telling the audience who is in the movie, as well as other known talent such as writers, directors and composers, sets the mood and scenes for what’s to come. Each movie is its own unique project and each film marker may have their own preferred organisational structure. The opening credits proceed through a list of the most important contributors to the film, starting from the least important, ending with the most important.

On a movies budget top sheet there is two divided categories Above the line and below the line. Above the line are the people that get paid a set rate as well as a percentage of gross no matter how many shooting days or scenes that are required for the project, the people who operate above the line are the producer, the director, the writers and actors along with actresses. Meanwhile everyone else’s role is below the line are contracted out depending on the wants and needs of production i.e if the script needs adjusting.

Cast is listed in order of importance of the characters to the story with the leads first then supporting roles follow. An ensemble piece is in alphabetical order or by order of appearance. In this case stars a known to negotiate to be the final listing by getting a with credit…  or and as… these credits go to parts for a character with status or a character that has become a fan favourite especially if it’s a television show.

These leads and actors/actresses are considered above the line. Below the line includes background actors who are non-speaking extras, uncredited. Whereas day performers are special skill, stunt or dialogue the sagafra (Screen Actors Guild Of America) rules explain that if the whole production is under fifty performers then all performers must be credited. Unless there is more then fifty then it’s up to the producer which fifty will get on-screen credit, the order of the credit starts with the major film studio companies that are involved to give respect and gratitude for the help and support in making the film.

A more complete opening film credits order:

This resembles the most usual movie opening credits order:

  1. PRODUCTION COMPANY presents (distributor)
  2. A PRODUCTION COMPANY production (producer)
  3. A FILMMAKER film
  4. Film Title
  5. Lead Cast
  6. Supporting Cast
  7. Casting Director
  8. Music Composer
  9. Costume Designer
  10. Associate Producers
  11. Editors
  12. Production Designer
  13. Director of Photography
  14. Executive Producer
  15. Producer
  16. Writers
  17. Director

Also, the genre of the movie can also be different on the order of the credits since actors/actresses roles may be regarded more significant than they possibly would in another genre an example for a war movie, the fine detail would be.

Closing credits have a different common order for above-the-line films as shown below…

  1. Director
  2. Writers
  3. Producer
  4. Executive Producer
  5. Lead Cast
  6. Supporting Cast
  7. Director of Photography
  8. Production Designer
  9. Editor
  10. Associate Producers
  11. Costume Designer
  12. Music Composer
  13. Casting Director

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