Credit Where Credit is Due

Elizabeth Martinez, Arts and Entertainment Writer

Credits have existed since the initial introduction of film all the way back in 1888 with the Roundhay Garden Scene, which only has a two second runtime but is considered to be the oldest surviving film in human history. This 24 frame film had no credit sequence, as the five names that were involved would likely take up more screen time that the film itself. Big budget feature films in the current age seem to also shove the names of those involved aside to the very end but not for any similar reason. 

Constant entertainment and stimulation is key in the modern film scene, so it does stand out in a strange way when most movies shove all the content before the credits, leaving the audience with a black screen and scrolling letters. An argument could be provided given that most of these films are the type you’d see in theatres, and once the movie itself is over, the credits are only seen by those exiting the show. Contrary to the norm, the need for film crews to push their recognition to the end of the entire film has never been nessicary. In older films like Quentin Tarentino’s Pulp Fiction (1994), the movie begins with credits, after a short prologue. Real attempts at ingaging the audience can lead to an iconic scene in a film. Napoleon Dynamite (2004), Resivoir Dogs (1992), and Enter the Void (2009), are also incredible examples of stunning opening sequences that cater to the audience’s hunger for interesting visuals. 

In recent years, the rise of superhero movies (specifically the Marvel Cinematic Universe) has lead to people viewing credits in a whole new way. With their infamous post-credit sequences, it encourages the audience to stick around to watch the credits for just a few minutes of more content after the film. The credits themselves are just the standard scrolled text, but it does bring joy when watching credits. 

The process of creating a credit sequence, let alone an entire film is a task that takes a village. Integrating a visually appealing credits sequence to honor the hundreds of people to work on a single film is commendable and can even add to the storytelling aspect of a film.

 Director and screenwriter Greta Gerwig once said, “I feel like movies are presents, and credits amd fonts are bows and wrapping paper. I like everything to feel like it was given a lot of time. I hate when I watch movies, and it seems like they just went and picked a font and called it a day.” This quote sums up most of what the issue is for a plethora of modern movie credits. The black screen and white letters appear as a blank slate for most, no substance and no reason to continue watching. 

Noteworthy credit sequences have taken a nosedive in recent years, which does make it special when a film goes above and beyond for it. It’s showing signs of becoming a dead art form but for as of now theres hope it can make a comeback.