Giving credit when credits are due

Adel Gabot


I’ve pissed off a lot of friends in the past whenever we watched movies, because I insisted on sitting through the end credits. I used to flat out refuse to stand from my seat until the last few lines crawled up the screen and the logos faded out.

My friends or my date usually had no choice but to fume beside me, or leave me in the theater and just wait for me in the car. This would often make me/us the last stragglers out of the theater, sometimes a scary proposition if you’re at the last screening of the night (and especially if you were watching one of the Lord of The Rings movies, whose credits take up to ten minutes to finish). The janitors give you funny, irritated what-the-hell-are-you-still-doing-here-go-home-so-we-can-lock-up looks as they clean up around you.

My friends ask me why I did such a dumb thing, when I obviously can’t take in every single name. I couldn’t possibly individually reflect and ruminate over each person’s contribution to the movie I just watched. Who reads that crap, anyway? And who cares?

True. Most people stand up and start shuffling through the aisles the minute the words start crawling up the screen. Some of them are really inordinately and inconsiderably long—you know it’s too long when the theme song has finished and the editors segue in portions of the score for the remainder of the credits.

But I think I sit down and wait through them for the same reason I stand up when they play the national anthem: to show respect. Because if I were one of the people responsible for the movie, I’d want people to see my name up there. Get credit. As someone who creates things too, I understand how important getting that distinction is, however fleeting.

It’s the same as having my byline on an article getting edited out and no one caring to know I wrote it. (Not that I always write deathless prose, but you know what mean, those of you who work hard at your craft.) It’s kinda like leaving off J.K. Rowling‘s name off the book jacket, or Steven Spielberg‘s name off the poster. Credit is important. For some people, it’s part of why they do things. (The entire closing-credits thing even has a Wikipedia page devoted to it, and is fascinating, at least to this geek).

I write about this now because I had a depressing self-realization after watching the new House episode tonight.

I shut the player down as soon as the last scene faded out. But not quickly enough. I caught a flash of the first slide of credits, which I had cut off prematurely. I went back and was shocked to see that whoever encoded the episode left the end credits tacked on—which was a (pleasant) surprise to me. It was a sobering experience too. I realized with some sadness that, over the years, I had grown to not care.

Today, I switch channels as soon as the show is over. I now stand up with the crowd to shuffle through the aisles right away and leave the credits to play to an empty house. Shameful.

I realize that part of this is because the downloads I get routinely drop the credits, and I’ve actually gotten used to it. But I wonder why the rippers and encoders can’t even spare the five seconds to leave them in. Then again, the nature of the unregulated practice of file-sharing itself gives the concept of ‘credit’ short shrift anyway, so what do we expect? (Which is a big industrial-sized can of worms I’m not in the mood to open at the moment, so let’s leave that be for now.)

No joy anywhere, these days. Local broadcast networks (mine included) have no respect for credits either, even for their own shows. Even the big foreign networks regularly trash credits, overlaying promos for other shows during them, or cutting them out altogether. Look at HBO.

It’s no wonder credits get little credit from anyone anymore.

4 Responses to “Giving credit when credits are due”

  • stef juan Says:

    hehehe. i have a filmmaker friend who taught me to stay for the credits of movies… unfortunately, the boyfriend doesn’t really understand why, so he either whines or pokes fun of me whenever i stay until the credits are done. but at least he doesn’t leave. 😛

  • Adel Gabot Says:

    So you know how I feel. I’m glad you think the same way I do.

  • Artsypooh Says:

    Well, I’m glad a bunch’a movies have tossed in a post-credits scene or two, Marvel especially. Forces people to stay til the end, heheh.

    I always stay through the credits, and my dates have been “educated” to do so too when they watch with me, happy to report.

  • bulitas Says:

    the probability of a surprise scene or just the sheer joy of listening to the music or musing over the closing credits design have compelled me to stay till the screen totally fades away.

    “It’s no wonder credits get little credit from anyone anymore” -what a sad fact.

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