I’ll admit it…I’m one of “those people” who likes to sit through the credits at the end of a movie. It’s sort of an obsession of mine. And no, it’s not because I’m hoping for mid or after-credit scenes (although they are fun to watch).
The reason I do it is because, well, I feel somewhat obligated. If I just sat through a ninety-minute or two-hour movie, I feel inclined to watch the credits and acknowledge all those people who worked to make it happen. I figure they probably spent upwards of a year (in some cases) of their lives working on this story, from pre-production to post, hundreds of hands were in there moving cameras, adjusting lighting, applying makeup, hair, costumes, catering, Foley work, editing, CGI, stunts…the list is incredibly long.
I’m not sure exactly what all these folks do. Best boy? Did he get straight A’s in school? But that doesn’t really matter too much. I may not know what all these people did on the film, but there were there, they did something to help bring this story to the big screen. And I appreciate that. The least I can do is read the names. Who knows? Maybe this was the only film one of these people worked on and this is their immortality. Their name will always be in this credit roll, even after they are dead and gone.
Which brings me to classic movies. I’m a fan of film noir, those gritty black and white films from the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. Detectives, mobsters, tough dames, and shady con men. The folks who worked on those films are mostly gone by now, but I sit through the credits and read the names and think about who they were, what they did. I mean, without them I wouldn’t have the Maltese Falcon, or Double Indemnity. Even sixty, seventy years later, these films are entertaining people, inspiring people. That’s a great memorial to the cast and crew.
I’m also not above being silly. My partner and I like to point out the unusual names, the funny names, and the unpronounceable names. If you’ve ever sat and watched the credits after a movie, you know what I mean. You’ll see the names scrolling by, the John Smiths, the Jane Johnsons, then suddenly you see a name that you can’t quite get your head around. You quickly try to sound it out before it disappears off the screen, but to no avail. I know, it’s childish, but it’s still fun.
I guess a part of me feels that the actors and directors get the bulk of the credit, while the crew and secondary actors sort of get overlooked. I think stunt people get the short end of the stick. They don’t get any awards, but they put their lives in danger on an almost daily basis. And for what? Maybe five seconds of action? I’m going to read all their names every time. It’s the least I can do.
While the director has a vision, and the actors have their characters, none of it would matter without the rest of the team. The writers, the animal wranglers, the lighting technicians, the drivers, the set designers…they all deserve some thought and appreciation. If it weren’t for them, the movie industry wouldn’t exist.