Feature Blogs

Who Are Those People In The Opening Credits?

Created on Tuesday, 15 July 2008 21:00
Written by Matthew Toomey


I had someone ask me during the week about all the different people who work on a film. When the opening credits roll on a movie, you seen a bunch of names on the screen. What do these people actually do? It’s an interesting question and I myself wasn’t 100% about some of the answers. After doing a bit of research on the internet, I thought I’d provide the answers for those who’ve always been curious but have been too lazy to find out. The information below has been taken from a few different websites and I’ve referenced where necessary. Whilst there are lots of different people involved in every movie, I’m only listing the one’s who are most commonly found in the opening credits…




Producers are entrepreneurs who make the business and financial decisions involving a motion picture. They select scripts, approve the development of ideas, arrange financing, and determine the size and cost of the endeavour. Producers hire or approve directors, principal cast members, and key production staff members. They also negotiate contracts with artistic and design personnel in accordance with collective bargaining agreements. They guarantee payment of salaries, rent, and other expenses. (U.S. Department of Labour)


Executive producer


An executive producer supervises one or more producers in the performance of all of his/her/their producer functions on single or multiple productions. In major productions, an executive producer is usually a representative or CEO of the film studio, although the title may be given as an honorarium to a major investor. In smaller companies or independent projects, the executive producer is often synonymous with the creator/writer. (Producers Guild Of America website and Wikipedia)




Directors are responsible for the creative decisions of a production. They interpret scripts, audition and select cast members, conduct rehearsals, and direct the work of cast and crew. They approve the design elements of a production, including the sets, costumes, choreography, and music. Assistant directors cue the performers and technicians, telling them when to make entrances or light, sound, or set changes. (U.S. Department of Labour)




The writer creates a screenplay for a film. Screenplays can be original works or adaptations from existing works such as novels. The major components of a screenplay are action and dialogue, with the "action" being "what we see happening" and "dialogue" being "what we hear" (i.e., what the characters utter). The characters, when first introduced in the screenplay, may also be described visually.




In the film industry, the cinematographer is responsible for the technical aspects of the images (lighting, lens choices, composition, exposure, filtration, film selection), but works closely with the director to ensure that the artistic aesthetics are supporting the director's vision of the story being told. The cinematographers are the heads of the camera, grip and lighting crew on a set, and for this reason they are often called directors of photography or DPs. (Wikipedia)




Film editors are the people who take the raw footage shot on a movie set, and select which shots, angles, performances and more to use, and then cut them together to form a cohesive and interesting story. The key to film editing is that there are a million choices of how to cut a scene, but a good editor will have a strong feel for pacing, rhythm, and storytelling. Editors also add music, visual effects, and sound effects to their cut sequences to add even more depth to a scene. Usually an editor will work closely with directors, writers, producers, and composers to finish a film to perfection. (Janelle Ashley Nielson)




The composer is the person who creates the music used in the film. This is more commonly referred to as the “score”. Film composers are presented with completed scenes that have been edited for maximum dramatic effect by the director and film editor. Their job is to compose a score that not only fits the length of those scenes, but also creates the appropriate mood while synchronizing with the action on the screen. (Pacific Northwest Film Scoring Program)


Production designer


The production designer is responsible for the overall look of a movie. They must select the settings and style to visually tell the story. The production designer collaborates with the director and the cinematographer to establish the visual feel and specific aesthetic needs of the project. The production designer guides key personnel in other departments such as the costume designer, the key hair and make-up stylists, the special effects director and the locations manager (among others) to establish a unified visual appearance to the film. (Wikipedia)


Costume designer


The costume designer is the person whose responsibility is to design costumes for a film. They will typically seek to enhance a character's persona, within the framework of the director's vision, through the way that character is dressed. At the same time, the designer must ensure that the designs allow the actor to move in a manner consistent with the historical period. The designer needs to possess strong artistic capabilities as well as a thorough knowledge of pattern development, draping, drafting, textiles and costume/fashion history. (Wikipedia)