As you already know, your Feature Actor’s Agreement (FAA) is a complex document, and after four weeks (check out our blog posts here!) on this topic we have tackled many of the nuts and bolts that make up your contract. You may be wondering if there possibly can be more—absolutely! Your FAA is a single document made up of different parts which we have been covering in these posts. With that in mind, this week we will discuss the “Credit” section of your FAA.
Overview of Credit Under Your FAA
Your credit is your official recognition for your work on the production. Even though your fans know you and appreciate your presence in the production, when you are given credit your fans see your name attached to the production. It’s like the final seal. While SAG-AFTRA does not regulate specifically how individual credit shall be given, it does mandate that the entire cast must receive credit if there are 50 or fewer performers. Otherwise, it is up to your counsel to negotiate specifics such as the placement, size, or nature of the credit.
A primary area regarding credit to be negotiated under your FAA is placement. Because SAG-AFTRA does not regulate placement, the ball is in your court here. Actors often request that their credit appear in the main titles as opposed to the end titles as many viewers leave the theater before the end titles. What’s also common is that the actress’s credit appears on a separate card such that her name is the only name on the screen at that time. With regards to negotiating credit, keep these points in mind:
1) Some directors or studios do not grant main title credit for visual purposes so all credit appears at the end of the film,
2) Many producers decline on granting single card credit for smaller roles,
3) If the role is very minor, only end title credit is likely.
Still, if end title credit becomes your only option there is still room for negotiation. You may request that your name appear first on the card, and moreover, that your card have a maximum number of names—two for instance.
Another area of negotiation for credit is the position of your name on the screen. Position relates to the order that your name appears in the cast credits. Naturally the more roles in the film, the more likely it is that the first few positions have been filled. If this is the case, many
will request that their client’s name appears on the last card following the word “and” or “with.” Clearly this brings more attention to the actor’s name. Keep in mind, though, that some directors prefer to list the credits in alphabetical order.
Other areas of credit that your attorney may negotiate on your behalf regarding credit include among others: 1) the size of your credit, and 2) paid advertisements such as billboards or posters.
Join us next week as we continue our examination on the various parts your FAA.
Source: Hollywood Dealmaking: Negotiating Talent Agreements for Film, TV, and New Media by Dina Appleton, Esq. and Daniel Yankelevits, Esq., Copyright 2010.
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