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#1
Old 10-28-2009, 08:09 AM
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Why are the credits on movie posters always in the same standard format?

At the bottom of just about every movie poster, and on the back of DVDs etc, you'll see the credits of main cast, producer, director and so on. It's always in the same layout and the same tall skinny font. Why is that? Is it some kind of union requirement or something?


COLOPHON POSTS PRESENTS JOHN DOE JOE Q. PUBLIC A. N. OTHER 'WHY ARE THE CREDITS ON MOVIE POSTERS ALWAYS IN THE SAME STANDARD FORMAT?' AN SDMB PRODUCTION IN ASSOCIATION WITH CECIL ADAMS MUSIC BY A. MUSICIAN DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY Z. LENSMANN EXECUTIVE PRODUCER COLOPHON WRITTEN BY A. COMMITTEE CATERING BY TESCO AND COSTA COFFEE DIRECTED BY CAFE SOCIETY AND THE STRAIGHT DOPE
#2
Old 10-28-2009, 08:30 AM
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Yes, it is a union requirement. Here is a good explanation. There are many different unions and guilds involved, so it is very complicated.
#3
Old 10-28-2009, 08:59 AM
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Credit format/order/size/etc. are probably more meticulously negotiated and standardized than pay scales in the movie industry.
#4
Old 10-28-2009, 10:34 AM
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Two director credits? The DGA will run you out of town.
#5
Old 10-28-2009, 10:57 AM
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How were the Coens credited in No Country for Old Men? The DGA didn't seem to have a problem with that film.

Last edited by KneadToKnow; 10-28-2009 at 10:57 AM.
#6
Old 10-28-2009, 11:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KneadToKnow View Post
How were the Coens credited in No Country for Old Men? The DGA didn't seem to have a problem with that film.
On their movie posters they're credited as the Coen Brothers, which would get rid of that who-comes-first problem. I don't know about the end-movie credits, though.
#7
Old 10-28-2009, 11:07 AM
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I always assumed the lettering was tall and narrow so that you could read it if the poster was mounted up high. Sort of like the elongated STOP lettering on streets as you approach a stop sign.
#8
Old 10-28-2009, 11:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bosstone View Post
On their movie posters they're credited as the Coen Brothers, which would get rid of that who-comes-first problem. I don't know about the end-movie credits, though.
They used to give Joel the directing credit and Ethan a producer's credit, but now they are allowed to share the directing credit because of their history of working together. Ladykillers was the first movie where they shared the directing credit.
#9
Old 10-28-2009, 11:17 AM
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Two directors is unusual, but not unheard of.
From the Wikipedia article on the DCA:
Quote:
The rule that a film can only have one single director, adopted to avoid producers and actors lobbying for a director's credit, is strongly defended by the DGA and is only waived for recognized directorial teams (as determined by the DGA) such as the Wachowski brothers, Hughes brothers, Brothers Strause, and the Coen brothers. The Coens for years divided credit, with Ethan taking producing credit, Joel taking directing credit, and both of them sharing the writing credit (even though the two of them shared all three duties between themselves) until The Ladykillers. For instance, the DGA would not recognize Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller as a directorial "team" for Sin City, which resulted in Rodriguez quitting the DGA so that Miller would receive director's credit.
In addition, animated films almost always seem have two or more directors.

The director credit is the last credit shown in the opening credits, and the very first one shown in the closing credits*. Credits on movie posters are arranged like opening credits.

*: I was shocked by how sloppy some teams in my local 48-Hour Film Project were about this.

Last edited by garygnu; 10-28-2009 at 11:19 AM.
#10
Old 10-28-2009, 12:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim R. Mortiss View Post
I always assumed the lettering was tall and narrow so that you could read it if the poster was mounted up high. Sort of like the elongated STOP lettering on streets as you approach a stop sign.
I've looked into this a bit further now, and it seems that it's used because of the requirement to have people's names a certain proportion of the size of the movie title (or whatever). The "size" refers to the height only, so by using a very skinny font they can still fit it all on the poster.

I didn't know about the "one director" requirement, though.

Last edited by Colophon; 10-28-2009 at 12:05 PM.
#11
Old 10-29-2009, 10:36 AM
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There are even three-director credits: Airplane had director credits for Jim Abrahams, Jerry Zucker, and David Zucker. They had to work hard to prove to the DGA that they did indeed direct the film as a team, but ultimately the DGA accepted it.

For Sin City, Miller was never actually in the director's chair; Rodriguez wanted to credit him because he used his advice and stuck closely to Miller's visuals.
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#12
Old 05-15-2012, 10:14 AM
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The billing block has various interesting designer quirks.

A few definitions of the billing placements themselves are here: http://billing-block.com/last-billing.html
#13
Old 05-15-2012, 10:34 AM
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The recent 21 Jump Street had two directors credited.
#14
Old 05-15-2012, 12:21 PM
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Also, when there is a picture of the stars of the movie, say 3 of them, the names are sometimes above the wrong person. I noticed it when I was a kid and wondered why.
#15
Old 05-15-2012, 02:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soylent Juicy View Post
Also, when there is a picture of the stars of the movie, say 3 of them, the names are sometimes above the wrong person. I noticed it when I was a kid and wondered why.
Because the billing order is decided by contracts long before the poster art is chosen. I always think it's funny when this happens. I particularly liked when Harrison Ford and Rachel McAdams were billed as each other in the posters for Morning Glory.
#16
Old 05-16-2012, 01:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Marley23 View Post
Because the billing order is decided by contracts long before the poster art is chosen. I always think it's funny when this happens. I particularly liked when Harrison Ford and Rachel McAdams were billed as each other in the posters for Morning Glory.
That doesn't quite make sense, but I'll take it to mean that the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing. If billing was decided long before the artwork was constructed, then the artists should know where to place the bodies correctly. I know billing can be a contentious point, is it possible that one actor agrees to give up top billing in return for a larger image at the center of focus on the poster?
#17
Old 05-16-2012, 02:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nunzio Tavulari View Post
If billing was decided long before the artwork was constructed, then the artists should know where to place the bodies correctly.
Your mistake is assuming 'placing the bodies correctly' involves placing them under the matching names, not placing them as works best for the poster design. If those two points agree, great, if not, the poster design being eyecatching, attractive, and, hopefully, giving some idea of the feel of the flick, is more important for getting butts in seats, and thus the priority.
#18
Old 05-16-2012, 02:54 AM
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The defunct movie magazine Premiere, when they weren't publishing worthless crap about studio executives, had some really fascinating articles about actual movies. One of the most enlightening was explaining credits. One bit that stuck with me was that in writing credits an ampersand indicates a team, while an "and" is a re-write.

Screenplay by Schmuck & Goniff AND Hack AND Megahack.
#19
Old 05-16-2012, 07:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garygnu View Post
The director credit is the last credit shown in the opening credits, and the very first one shown in the closing credits*.
If there are rules about the closing credits, they're constantly broken. I can't think of specific titles, but I know I've seen ones where the director wasn't credited first.
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