Opening Credits

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  • Opening Credits

    I just had a conversation with my wife regarding my new screenplay, and she felt that the amount of pages I have written is far too many before the opening credits appear.

    I find that it's not at all too many. I have 9 pages before the credits.

    What do you guys think? What is a comfortable amount of pages before the credits should appear?

  • #2
    Re: Opening Credits

    Whatever works. Dawn of the Dead (2004) went on for about 10 minutes. Write it as you see fit, make it as compelling as you can, and you will always be "just right". If you're really captivating no one will wonder "hey, this is a long pre-credits seqeunce, where the hell are they?"

    And if someone disagrees with the length, but the writing is strong enough, they'll still sign you, regardless.

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    • #3
      Re: Opening Credits

      Originally posted by damienjoseph View Post
      I just had a conversation with my wife regarding my new screenplay, and she felt that the amount of pages I have written is far too many before the opening credits appear.

      I find that it's not at all too many. I have 9 pages before the credits.

      What do you guys think? What is a comfortable amount of pages before the credits should appear?
      It doesn't matter what you write or where you locate for opening credits. Do what you want. It's not the writer's job. If its sold, the director will put them where he/she wants anyway. Relax. If it works for you, leave it. Me? I never put any credits in because I realize it's not my job. But again, that's personal for each writer.

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      • #4
        Re: Opening Credits

        Are the credits necessary for the exposition of the story? If so, SunDown is right, write it well and it will be fine.
        Not necessary? Edfury is correct, don't bother.
        SL35
        Potent dreamer. Newb disclaimer.

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        • #5
          Re: Opening Credits

          I've never indicated "opening credits" in a screenplay, and I've rarely seen it in the pro screenplays I've read. But, and I apologize for my vague recollection, I recall that in a somewhat recent-ish one of their podcasts, John August and Craig Mazin briefly discussed indicating opening credits when writing a screenplay, and one, or both, said that they liked to do it, and/or had started doing it. Although I don't think they discussed how many pages in. But it got me to thinking about it. Do what feels right to you. I know I've seen films where the opening credits start pretty far into the beginning, to the point where I was already so engrossed in the film that I thought, oh yeah, opening credits, once they showed up.
          "The Hollywood film business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." Hunter S Thompson

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          • #6
            Re: Opening Credits

            At the spec level, just don't see where writing/inserting credits would be that relevant, though if you did, I also don't see where it'd be fatal to the story.
            " Don't really like writing. But I do like having written." Vince Gilligan, Breaking Bad.

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            • #7
              Re: Opening Credits

              I'm doing it in my current spec script because in my view it accomplishes a few things:

              1) It absolutely helps me visualize the thing as a movie, and I believe it will for the reader too
              2) It will (I hope!) signal to the reader that I have vision, and can write well enough to get that vision across
              3) The visual sequence I have behind the credits is very relevant to the premise of the script; it "riffs on the motif," if you will.

              But what I really hope it will do is make a reader say "hold on... wow, I rarely see someone do this and do it artfully. Maybe I'd better stay awake during this one."

              My credits sequence is one page dead even, even though I realize that the actual running length of such a credits sequence is bound to be longer than one minute. No matter. I'm pretty sure this one will end up as a nice writing sample (provided I'm not too terribly delusional about its ultimate quality).

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              • #8
                Re: Opening Credits

                Sorry to seem naive, but what would you even put in the credits that would last a page if at the spec level you don't have the info on who's in it or producing the same?
                " Don't really like writing. But I do like having written." Vince Gilligan, Breaking Bad.

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                • #9
                  Re: Opening Credits

                  Originally posted by MJ Scribe View Post
                  Sorry to seem naive, but what would you even put in the credits that would last a page if at the spec level you don't have the info on who's in it or producing the same?
                  I imagine he's talking about writing a stylized credit sequence, a la Bond, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Lord of War, Fight Club, etc.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Opening Credits

                    Originally posted by Eric Boellner View Post
                    I imagine he's talking about writing a stylized credit sequence, a la Bond, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Lord of War, Fight Club, etc.
                    Thank you, Eric. And for the link to Terry Elliot's Wordplayer co-writing article in the other thread...
                    " Don't really like writing. But I do like having written." Vince Gilligan, Breaking Bad.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Opening Credits

                      Originally posted by MJ Scribe View Post
                      Sorry to seem naive, but what would you even put in the credits that would last a page if at the spec level you don't have the info on who's in it or producing the same?
                      You don't actually put the credits in. You indicate a section in the opening where they would start and end, for example, during an opening description scene, or after a big action opening, etc. BEGIN CREDITS, END CREDITS.
                      "The Hollywood film business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." Hunter S Thompson

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                      • #12
                        Re: Opening Credits

                        Thank you Cshel, that's what I had thought-- just got confused is all when he mentioned one page in.

                        I, remain the quintessential dufus.
                        " Don't really like writing. But I do like having written." Vince Gilligan, Breaking Bad.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Opening Credits

                          Originally posted by MJ Scribe View Post
                          Thank you Cshel, that's what I had thought-- just got confused is all when he mentioned one page in.

                          I, remain the quintessential dufus.
                          You and me both. It just cracked me up.
                          "The Hollywood film business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." Hunter S Thompson

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Opening Credits

                            Originally posted by cshel View Post
                            You don't actually put the credits in. You indicate a section in the opening where they would start and end, for example, during an opening description scene, or after a big action opening, etc. BEGIN CREDITS, END CREDITS.
                            Making up credits sounds like something Shane Black would do in a script. <grin>

                            (No problem, MJ!)

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                            • #15
                              Re: Opening Credits

                              Thank You everyone for the great replies.

                              What I was doing was implementing where the credits would be, for example CREDITS BEGIN (not directly including the cast and crew ), a story or Voice Over, where that credit scene explains the background of the story. The scene would be just dialogue.

                              I'm definitely going to keep the opening scene at 9 pages.

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