Why You Should Stay for the Credits

20 Nov

I remember the Facebook post that changed it all for me.

It wasn’t a cat or a picture of someone’s dinner or an inspirational quote, life-altering as those can be. It was a miniature rant from a friend who had worked crew on a film and wrote how it was insulting to him that as text rolled after the movie giving credit to him and to his fellow coworkers who pulled long hours for months to make it happen, folks just gathered their coats, left their messes behind, and filtered out of the theater without paying them any mind. His bottom line? If you liked the movie, show respect for what and who it took to make it.

I’ll admit I wasn’t always a stay-for-the-credits kinda gal. I liked to get out the door and get to the next thing. I wanted to go get food (I always want to go get food) or talk about the movie, but I didn’t  want to sit there and read a bunch of nonsense about who did what when I didn’t know any of the people. And what the hell was a “Best Boy”, anyway?

After I read my friend’s Facebook comment, though, I started to feel kind of guilty. He had a point. If I liked the movie, I should show appreciation and look at what it took to get it made. So I forced myself to sit through them out of respect. And then, as often happens during the strange transition from being wholly against something to wholly for it, I found myself learning and taking interest in new aspects of the credits. I was starting to take note of actors who did their own stunts, and who required several personal assistants, hairstylists, and body guards. I could note how much of a movie required special effects and what locations it was shot in and how many people it employed. I noticed thank yous to local governments and organizations, information about underscoring, which actors also produced, and all sorts of tidbits that made my nerd cells shiver with excitement.

It’s actually kind of interesting when you know what you’re looking at.

Hey, I get it. It’s just words scrolling on a screen and you’re pretty sure you’re never going to care. Movie makers are pretty sure you’re never going to care, too, because they went from putting the titles at the beginning to mixing them in with establishing shots, to cutting them entirely and throwing them at the end. If you see a movie on television, they’ll shrink the screen the moments the credits roll, speed it up to four times its rate, and stick it up in a corner on the side of the screen so you can be entertained by commercials or get on to the next thing. They know you don’t care.

But I’m going to suggest you give it a try. Seriously. Sometimes it even pays off with a nice little cut scene at the end as a reward for your commitment. Sometimes you’ll learn that Industrial Light & Magic does the visual effects for basically everything always. Sometimes you’ll learn that someone who performs all the major dance moves for an Academy Award winning performer can be credited as a “stunt double” and “hand model”.

Sometimes you’ll realize how many jobs each movie brings to an area and that it’s important to pay attention to those details when you’re at the polls voting on whether or not to pass a film tax credit law in your state.

It helps, of course, to know what you’re looking at. If you’re using ignorance as a shield, please click here to acquaint yourself with some of the terms you face in the slow scroll.

Give it a try. Not just once, but a few times. You might like it. You might even get to see an extra scene. And in the event that someone in the audience worked on the film, you might even get to make someone proud. 


This post was written for and reposted from my  recent contribution to a geekier, more collaborative blog, VStheUniverse. You can find all sorts of nerdy bits there, from theories on time travel to weekly nerd moments to nerdical musings both great and small. If that gets you all hot and bothered, follow us on Facebook and on tumblr. 

21 Responses to “Why You Should Stay for the Credits”

  1. MikeW November 20, 2013 at 6:11 pm #

    Indy. Great movies.


    • Jackie December 5, 2013 at 1:12 am #

      Indeed! thanks for noticing. It took some work to dig up an easily recognizable one.


  2. donofalltrades November 20, 2013 at 6:29 pm #

    The day they parade the beer man at the ballpark out for a standing ovation for helping me enjoy my ballgame experience is the same day I’ll stay to watch the movie credits in their entirety. Probably. Lol. I can see your point, actually. But they really do need to give some props to the beer guy now that I read my words again.


    • Jackie December 5, 2013 at 1:11 am #

      ahah well to each his own. 😉


  3. Lucky Wreck November 20, 2013 at 6:48 pm #

    Great post! I worked on a couple of independent films, and watched the credits over and over again…mostly because I couldn’t believe my name was on the screen. But then, a funny thing happened. I started to watch them in other movies I wasn’t involved with…and enjoy them! As you mentioned, you can learn all sorts of new things by watching them. Things like “no animals were harmed during the making of this film”, or which actors had 3 personal assistants. It becomes good material for new stories…to imagine how each person interacted with each other and what went on behind the scenes. After a while, it’s almost more fun than the movie!


    • Jackie December 5, 2013 at 1:11 am #

      Yes! I’m so surprised to find people who actually agree. Where are all of you when I’m in the theater alone staring at credits?!


  4. Ice_Badger November 21, 2013 at 2:34 am #

    I agree with this 🙂 I have always stayed to watch the credits, often much to the annoyance of people who come with me. It always just seemed like the thing to do, and as you say there is often an extra bit at the end as I discovered in Wayne’s world 😀


    • Jackie December 5, 2013 at 1:09 am #

      Yeah it doesn’t usually go over too well with my company either but luckily when Dave is with me the sight of both of us planted there usually makes them wonder if they’re violating some social norm. 😉


      • Ice_Badger December 5, 2013 at 2:11 am #

        Hehe it is always good to make people question things like that 😀


  5. Mike Hickey November 21, 2013 at 9:10 am #

    Amen… Well said. I used to be one of those people who’s name may show up at the end. When I was living in Los Angeles I noticed that quite a few people stayed for credits. Occasionally you would here a bit applause for the person who was the grip etc…. All movies seen here in the Burgh and elsewhere I am left sitting alone in the theatre with the lights on…..


    • Jackie December 5, 2013 at 1:09 am #

      What?! I didn’t realize you did movie work. So cool that in some areas folks practice it and even applaud.


  6. knotrune November 21, 2013 at 7:22 pm #

    I always used to watch the credits if I was allowed to and not rushed out by whoever I was with. I haven’t been to a cinema for years though and I do find it annoying when the TV shrinks the credits and talks over the soundtrack. I wish that sort of thing could be optional. (I also wish it was possible to turn down the volume on background music.) I like to watch them on a DVD though.


    • Jackie December 5, 2013 at 1:06 am #

      Oh, now that I think of it I don’t really make this common practice for DVDs. I shall take my own challenge and try to be better about it. Nice call!


  7. Priceless Joy November 25, 2013 at 10:12 pm #

    I never thought of it that way before…hmm… I think I will stay and watch next time! 😀


    • Jackie December 5, 2013 at 1:04 am #

      It might take a while to get into it. And you might *never* get into it. But certainly try it 😉


  8. silkpurseproductions November 28, 2013 at 9:22 am #

    I am an avid credit reader. People know if they go to a theatre with me they remain seated until the credits are over. If they move an inch they get my lecture listing pretty much everything you did here. I always add, “What if my name was up there?”, “What if your name was?” “Wouldn’t you want people to notice.
    Probably, my biggest pet peeve is what they do to the credits on TV.


    • Jackie December 5, 2013 at 1:04 am #

      I can’t *stand* what they do to credits on tv. Fortunately I don’t experience it much anymore since I don’t have cable, but even worse than the lack of respect is that I’m often trying to remember where I know an actor or actress from and they shrink it and speed it up so quickly that I can’t get a name to look up easily.


  9. philosophermouseofthehedge December 1, 2013 at 6:10 pm #

    I watch some credits…all those people’s moms appreciate it. All the “support” staff needed is pretty amazing. Besides sometimes there’s extra tuff/scenes mixed in.


    • Jackie December 5, 2013 at 1:03 am #

      it’s my favorite when I get a surprise nugget for staying.


  10. chocobosrsexy December 3, 2013 at 12:27 pm #

    They get their appreciation with a paycheck.


    • Jackie December 5, 2013 at 1:02 am #

      Not all of them do, but ideally, yes – and it’s a fair point!


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