Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Some snark about on-screen credits and Web Video

Having been someone who was pummeled into submission (I'll tell my story about Volcano later) by never having received an on-screen credit that I could actually go to a movie theater and watch on, as we say, the BIG screen, I fully understand, all too well (to be extra redundant) the allure of seeing your name in white font. HOWEVER, as you may have noticed - if you're reading this - and if you're watching my current extra-small-screen epic, Grande Con Carne over at Funny or Die (please vote (click on the FUNNY tab)) you will notice that I have NO on-screen credits even for my Orson Wellsian-like contributions to that project.

See the thing is, when you have two and one half to three minutes to set up your story, tell a few jokes and get out (which, from my work at an actual website where money was paid for this kind of thing, seems to be the industry standard) - and create an enjoyable experience for your audience - most of whom are taking a quick break from either work or porn - 30 to 45 seconds of screentime (that's 20 to 30 PERCENT) devoted to credits is, as we say in the business, dumb. Especially at a site like Funny or Die (where I have  Grande Con Carne posted) (please click FUNNY) and they give you space - right next to the frame to include credits so that any viewer, can, at any time during viewing, easily refresh their minds as the identity of who provided craft service.

As promised - the VOLCANO story. A number of years ago, in my Camera Assisting days, I was hired to do work on the visual effects unit of "Volcano." I was part of a relatively large camera crew devoted to shooting miniature lava flowing down the streets of miniature Los Angeles that could then be composited into shots of Tommy Lee Jones and Anne Heche running around trying to save each other's (as well as the rest of the city's) cookies.

Anyway, I worked on it for a few MONTHS and as the freelance lifestyle goes we finished and I was off onto something else. I did get called back for one more week, but having already found gainful employment elsewhere, I declined and another Camera Assistant was hired to fill in for that WEEK. Later, I was invited to a cast and crew screening at Mann's Chinese theater - which was pretty cool. The Producer (one of them) got on stage before the show and thanked everyone for the working on this and told everyone how they'd made this giant effort to include everyone in credits - even people who had only worked on the project for one or two DAYS.

So - stoked that I was going to get my first ON-SCREEN credit in a MAJOR motion picture, I sat with bated breath watching and reading at the end. Along came the VFX credits and there were the names of my compatriots including the name of the fellow who filled in for that last week I could not be there, but NOT including mine.

I ask for no sympathy, only understanding.

And maybe some cash if anyone feels like sending any.

Oh - and VOTE Grande Con Carne  

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