Puppetry Credits on IMDB

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There is a huge problem with credits for Puppeteers on IMDB.
They can be placed in any category it seems.
Puppeteers in any capacity should be added to the performers category and not lumped in with catering or added on to Art dept etc.

It is completely undermining the role of puppeteers who may be the creators and performers of some of the most loved characters you know. Some puppeteers are not as readily known as others but there is no difference between the two technically so Frank Oz gets credited as cast but Ronnie Le Drew and David Rudman are in other crew as "puppeteer" for Muppet Christmas Carol - Not even in "Cast" as undcredited.
Their roles are not the same weight within the film but in Star Wars ep 4 I don't see Carrie Fisher and Malcolm Tierney being separated etc despite being at opposite ends of the spectrum.

There should be some equality of crediting on imdb.

I am sure I will get told that this is up to the people uploading the info. NO!
There is no specific title for puppeteers so they will get dotted all over the place and it is not the uploaders fault trying to find the space for them.

Equity in the UK are only just getting to grips with credits for puppeteers and how they are being chucked into ancillary depts so producers don't have to negotiate rights etc purely from a monetary point of view. IMDB could be ahead of the game and start by collating all Puppeteer credits and making sure they are not sidelined or misaligned.
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Tim Sykes

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Posted 2 years ago

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Rebecca, Employee

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Hi Tim,

We are aware that credits are grouped in categories that sometimes don't accurately reflect how they are displayed and organized in film credits or production listings. 

While we try, whenever possible, to follow standard industry conventions, our organization is also based on internal technical requirements, which in some cases necessitate grouping together credits for unrelated jobs. 

Some of these categories are very narrow and only include credits that belong to a single specific profession (cinematographers, producers, editors, set decorators etc.). Others are more generic and may include a larger number of credits per film (art department, sound department, visual effects). All credits that don't belong to a specific list are grouped into a generic miscellaneous crew section. 

This categorization is not meant to imply anything about the relative importance of a credit, or to give a higher profile to one job at the expense of another: it's solely dictated by our internal data management restrictions. 

That's why assistant directors and second unit directors are grouped together (even though they perform different functions) and why there's a separate list for production managers and one for sound department crew members but not one for the catering department or for colorists or many other post-production departments. 

Our long term plan is to create more specific lists and move credits across them; however, since this is dictated by our internal data management priorities, we can't predict exactly how or when this will take place. 

Motion capture performances in a film, TV show or videogame can be credited in the database as Cast or Other Crew credits (or not at all), depending on the type of motion capture work and how the actor was credited. Such credits are signified by the (motion capture) attribute.

In order to be listed in the Cast section of the credits, actors performing motion capture work on a film need to fulfill these four eligibility rules:


  1. They must have received an on-screen credit (i.e. no uncredited performances) 
  2. They must have been credited in the cast section of the end titles (i.e. no 'other motion capture' included elsewhere in the end credits or 3D modelling work). 
  3. Unspecific motion capture/3D modelling work must be submitted as Miscellaneous (Other) Crew credits. When in doubt, send it as a Miscellaneous (Other) Crew credit.
  4. Their work must be featured in the original version of the title (i.e. no digital remasters)
Please see guide here

Thank you for your understanding.
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Tim Sykes

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Thank you for the reply, The trouble is there is no consistency in your handling of Puppeteers.
As shown in the comment below your own "Help" pages suggest placing puppeteers in Miscellaneous.
Puppetry is about bringing an inanimate object to life and giving it a character, It is a performance and as such should be part of cast, Otherwise voice artists should be consigned to "Miscellaneous".

I am having trouble understanding your "internal technical requirements" that have to group Assistant Directors and Second Unit Directors together because their jobs are from a similar root yet Puppeteers can be shoved in any criteria dependent on the personal views of those uploading the info. I dare to suggest if you did it to any other department there would be outrage.

I seem to recall your offices are based in Bristol, Go along to the current festival of Puppetry in Bristol and ask them as performers how it feels to be shoved in the miscellaneous section. A lot of those performers have worked on major projects, If their faces were shown instead of the puppets they would be household names....
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Ed Jones (XLIX)

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Ed Jones (XLIX)

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Sesame Street



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Glenn Williams

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Thank you!!
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Ed Jones (XLIX)

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Except for Oz and Henson, none of these people are seen.
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Tim Sykes

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I am sorry but the people listed (For what I presume is The Muppet Show) Are not credited as puppeteers - Just "voice"

The cast for Thunderbirds are just the actors supplying the voices they are NOT puppeteers.

Sesame Street does not credit them as puppeteers

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Ed Jones (XLIX)

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My point should have been obvious. You are being treated as the man who resides at the back end of a two man horse costume!
(Edited)
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Ed Jones (XLIX)

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The front of the horse talks. The person in the front gets credit because the mouth is there. The only way you would be credited would be if  The Horses *** spoke!
(Edited)
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Tim Sykes

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Ah so Buster Keaton should not be credited as an actor for the majority of his films then...
Nor Mary Pickford.... etc etc

And oh yeah Kenny Baker why does he get a credit for R2 D2?

Isn't he just a horses ar se in your criteria?
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Ed Jones (XLIX)

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I'm on your side. Wake up!
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Ed Jones (XLIX)

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I'm pointing the absurdity. The actor has no credit without your single effort. Several people make a CGI character. A puppeteer is in charge of one thing THE CHARACTER. I know that Lambchop is just a hand. But the hand acts.

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Tim Sykes

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Sorry, thank you - But having just been to a meeting which this very point was discussed this evening it feels like a year on nothing has changed and still puppeteers are treated as prop hands on IMDB.
(Edited)
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Peter, Champion

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The help pages also include this rule:

voiceovers, looping, adr work, stand-ins, photo doubles and puppeteers belong to the Miscellaneous Crew

http://www.imdb.com/help/search?domai...
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Tim Sykes

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This is exactly the sort of "help" I am talking about.
Why are they being placed in Miscellaneous Crew ?
Puppeteers are performers not something else.

So the entire cast of the Muppets should be in Miscellaneous crew?
No. I don't think anyone would expect that.
Just as I wouldn't expect puppeteers to be in anything other than cast.
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Steve Crook, Champion

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Cast members are seen on screen.
When are puppeteers seen on screen?

    Steve
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Tim Sykes

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Their performance is seen on screen, Otherwise Yoda without Frank Oz is just a lump of latex, So you're logic means he is NOT a cast member?

Or if we follow your logic, remove all voice artists from cast member listing then because they are not seen, If a puppeteer is supplying a voice as well as puppeteering then they surely deserve to be more of a cast member than just a voice artist.
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Steve Crook, Champion

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> So you're logic means he is NOT a cast member?
Correct, by the IMDb rules he is NOT a cast member

> If a puppeteer is supplying a voice as well as puppeteering then they surely deserve to be more of a cast member than just a voice artist.

Not if the puppeteer isn't seen on screen

    Steve
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Tim Sykes

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So who are your cast in Team America then?
And all of the voice cast from every animated project need to be moved?
Tom Hanks in Polar Express is not a cast member?


Your criteria is severely limited if you say you have to see the person to be part of the cast.
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Steve Crook, Champion

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Them's the IMDb's rules. If you want to use the site then you have to play by their rules  :)

    Steve
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Glenn Williams

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Puppeteers (union)are paid CAST, treated as CAST on set (Trailers, hours, pay...) My Taxes are done that as an ACTOR/CAST, We are performing from a script, often giving dialogue, in character but threw a puppet, Still performing.  I also perform opposite ACTORS, the leads, star ect...
Steve ( with a trophy) So don't try to tell me that we are misc. that's ridiculous and you are not qualified for that kind of opinion.  Except if it is your personal opinion, that's where You  think we belong.

IMDB SHOULD make the change and add Puppeteers to the CAST LIST when we are accredited.  
That is what we are asking for them to CORRECT. We think it does Not reflect Union Performers, 'Puppeteers' accurately. 
I hope they are listening to this discussion.
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Eboy

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Not fully sure why the old thread is resurrected, but ”puppeteers” belong to ”Other Crew”. Voice work (voice of the puppets) obviously belongs to ”Acting”. The person designing/making the actual puppets belong to ”Art Department”. I have some older (still relatively recent) threads about the subject.

In many cases the person voicing AND puppeteering the character receives two credits: one in acting (with ”voice” attribute) and one in Other crew (”puppeteer”). Perhaps not ideal (since it’s hard to argue that skillful puppeteering is NOT ”acting”), but that’s the way IMDb prefers to handle these credits.

( It’s also good to remember that several puppeteering techniques are used in different programs - and even within the same program. There can be traditional hand puppets, puppets with rods and strings - or other similar ways to ”move” the puppets, marionette style with wires, etc) )
(Edited)
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Tim Sykes

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"belong to ”Other Crew”. Voice work (voice of the puppets) obviously belongs to ”Acting”

Why obviously? It is not obvious at all, It is a bogus theory just the same as the Puppeteer is not seen argument.

Puppeteers create a character whether it has a voice or not and that character can be just as much a cast member as anyone else.

And why you feel the techniques matter is beyond me, May as well start separating actors who come from the Stanislavsky school or the Brechtian style. You still get a performance and it moves people or tells a story.