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Incorrect Credits

Ryan writes in:

My first feature film I ever worked on was recently released.

After seeing fellow friends and crew members post pictures of their name in the credits, I noticed mine was there, too. It was listed wrong on two accounts: my title was incorrect as well as my name.

They originally signed me on as an unpaid intern and quickly moved me up to a full-time, paid P.A. They credited me as my legal name (different last name that I only use on my tax forms) and as an intern. No one knew me by that name except the accountants.

Needless to say, I was disappointed and even embarrassed to claim credit on the film or bring it up. Now it is there for forever. What professional and personal experience do you have with dealing with incorrect credits?

First of all, don’t freak out. This happens to everyone at some time or another. I guarantee you, there is a movie out there somewhere with a credit that reads “Stephan Spellberg.”

Keep in mind, the end credits are among the last things to be created for the film. They were put together months after filming, probably by someone who never set foot on set. Most shows have a “credited as” line in your start work, but that could have gotten lost in the intervening months. And the fact that you were promoted is easy to overlook, considering your job probably didn’t change much after the promotion.

So, what can you do? Start with forgetting the end credits. The movie’s out, they’re done. There’s a line in your contract that says the producers can credit you however they like, or not at all, to cover their asses when mistakes like this happen.

But that doesn’t really matter, because no one watches the end credits, unless there’s a chance Samuel L. Jackson is going to come out at the end. Sure, it’s fun to see your name on the big screen, but that’s not the point.

The point is, you want a job. And the way to get a job is to say, “Hey, someone hired me before to do the same job.” That’s what your credits are for. They go on your resume.

Occasionally, someone will want to confirm that you’re not lying through your teeth on your resume. Do you think they’ll pull the DVD off their shelf, even if they happen to own the movie? No, they’ll check IMDb.

What you need to do is, sign up for an IMDb account. It doesn’t even have to be a pro account. Sign up, go to the page for the movie in question, and scroll to the bottom. There you’ll find an “edit page” button.

In Ryan’s case, I wouldn’t even bother changing the incorrect credits; just add a new one. Put yourself down as a PA. For everyone else, you’ll have to provide a reason for the correction. Something simple like, “incorrect job title” has always worked for me in the past.

While you’re tooling around IMDb, it’s a good idea to make sure all your credits are linking to the same name. You don’t want half your credits on Jane Smith’s page, and half on Jane Smith (IX)’s. Again, you have to give IMDb a “reason,” so just write something along the lines of, “They credited the wrong Jane Smith”.

And while you’re messing with IMDb, add Señor Spielbergo to the credits, just to see if anyone notices.

From A Burns for All Seasons
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3 Responses

  1. While we’re discussing IMDb, anyone got any advice for getting credits scrubbed from your page? I worked with an overzealous producer on a student film years ago, and she credited me for about eight jobs, seven of which I didn’t perform. I have tried over and over again to get these credits removed, but nothing’s taken. I was corresponding with someone from IMDb about it for a while, but they suddenly stopped responding to my emails. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    1. That sucks. IMDb is beholden to no one, so this story does not surprise me. The only advice I have is to just keep plugging away at them.

    2. I wish someone could figure out how to do this. I have two credits for films I didn’t work on. I looked up both, and they’re terrible terrible movies. Worst of all, they’re credits within my actual department, so they’re hidden among my actual credits.

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