Why do cinematographers have their credentials listed in movie credits?
February 24, 2008 5:39 AM   Subscribe

In movie credits, why is it that only the cinematographer or perhaps film editor have their credentials listed?

I can't even remember the acronyms, although I think one is A.C.E..
Is this just a tradition or a legal requirement or......am I mistaken??
posted by peacay to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
You also sometimes see members of the Motion Picture Sound Editors adding MPSE and members of the Casting Society of America adding CSA after their names.
posted by grouse at 6:01 AM on February 24, 2008

I suspect that certain unions have negotiated protocol re credits listings that the studio is obligated to follow.
posted by HuronBob at 6:14 AM on February 24, 2008

"Credentials" is probably the wrong term - the letters identify the person as a union member.
posted by gwenzel at 6:25 AM on February 24, 2008

Sorry, gwenzel, that is not correct. The ACE, MPSE, and CSA are all honorary societies. To join each of these, you need to have a certain amount of experience and be sponsored by existing members of the society.

As far as unions go, editors are represented by IATSE, and casting directors by the Teamsters.
posted by grouse at 6:35 AM on February 24, 2008

In movie credits, why is it that only the cinematographer or perhaps film editor have their credentials listed?

The answer's sorta been said here in...

1) You were probably thinking ACE was a union and wondering why the WGA isn't next to writers' names in credits. It's not a union, so that answers this question.

2) You then would logically ask why the honorary society that writers and all other film workers belong to don't list theirs. Well, they do... unless, like the writers, they don't have such a society. If they did, I don't doubt you'd see it listed.

3) This leads one to ask why they bother to list such things... the same reason someone puts MBA on their business card. It's a sign of status.

Off topic, but here's a nice article on editing from the NYT.
posted by dobbs at 6:54 AM on February 26, 2008

While cinematography, editing, and casting are important parts of film production, they are decidedly lower-profile than positions such as directing or writing. The very best directors don't need recognition by an honorary society; everyone knows who they are. And because of that it, it might be seen as somewhat stuck-up if they started adding letters after their names.
posted by grouse at 7:16 AM on February 26, 2008

Thanks. I remain a little perplexed. I had no thoughts of unions versus society accreditation; I was more interested in the history of the phenomenon: what caused it to become something of a tradition. And yeah, it is a bit wider than just cinematography (my original thought): I do recall seeing casting and sound people having credentials listed at times. You're probably right grouse, in terms of why it is the "2nd tier" professions have listings as opposed to the high flyers. Maybe the best boys and drivers should agitate to have their qualifications and/or affiliations listed too.
(people might disagree but to me "credentials" could include union and society memberships as well as educational qualifications. Semantics.)
posted by peacay at 8:41 PM on February 26, 2008

peacay, just FYI, in film the tiers are two: "Above the line" (producer, director, writer, stars) and "Below the line" (everyone else).
posted by dobbs at 8:32 AM on February 27, 2008

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