Giving Credits Where They’re Due

by Stephanie M. Casey and Paul Covington

Over the years, members of the editorial staff have seen their credits migrate from up near the head of the crawl to down toward the bottom, appearing often times after personnel who may have been involved with the film for only a matter of days. For people who are hired before shooting begins, travel to location shoots, wrangle dailies to be viewed during production, communicate and work with the production crew on a daily basis, and perform all manner of other duties before the “official” post-production begins, it’s now time to correct this credit misunderstanding.

Historically, the assistant editors were listed directly after the camera crew. In recent years there has been a trend to divide the movie into “production” and “post-production” halves. This would make sense if it affected only the persons who are not even hired until well after production has wrapped––those working in sound departments, as well as negative cutters, color timers and all the myriad positions who do, in fact, exist totally in the post-production world. Placing assistant editors in the post-production portion of the crawl is inaccurate and a disservice.

We would like to call for the re-establishment of the correct placement of assistant editor credits. Namely, the editorial crew should fall behind the camera crew, which mirrors the editor and cinematographer main title credits. This should apply to only those members of creative editorial who are actually picture editorial crew and not to various runners, PAs, supervisors and so on.

For people who are hired before shooting begins, travel to location shoots, wrangle dailies, communicate and work with the production crew on a daily basis, it’s now time to correct this credit misunderstanding.

It is really important that we all stand together in this matter. It absolutely affects respect, pay and status within the industry. For those who think credit placement in the crawl doesn’t matter, we’re here to say––it matters! Editors, we ask you to stand up for your crew and fight for this, as much as you can. It is very simple to accomplish and is a great way to show appreciation and support for your crew.

When credit placement is decided by whomever happens to be left at the end of the show, it is too easy for the assistants’ hard work to be denigrated by placing their credits at the far end of the tail crawl. Prestige is associated with the placement in the crawl and we want to stand up for the assistants who work so hard for their editors, directors, producers and studios that count on them during all phases of feature film production.

A letter concerning this matter will soon be sent out by the American Cinema Editors (ACE) to both its membership and to the post-production community at large, with full support of the Motion Picture Editors Guild.

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