When is an uncredited role not an uncredited role? In a documentary.

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Just finalising credits for a documentary series, A Very British Murder if you want to follow along on iPlayer:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/...

Now only Lucy Worsley is credited, as she is the presenter, but a number of people are brought in as experts (a lot listed on IMDB: Matthew Sweet and Kate Summerscale, for example). These are introduced by Lucy in voiceover as they bring them in, which seems to suggest this doesn't count as credited:

The word "Uncredited" next to a name means that the person did not receive an on-screen credit -- in other words, his/her name does not appear in the main or end titles of the film.


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

However, at the end, Ken Butler (a fingerprint expert) is brought in and he gets his name on screen with his area of expertise, which is a little odd as it goes against the format they'd established throughout the show and suggests they either only spotted he'd not been introduced just before introduction or they couldn't come up with a way to properly introduce him (which seems unlikely).

Now I have seen other people get a credit in a documentary because they were essentially given an onscreen credit like this (which is obviously a technique largely only available in documentaries, obviously mockumentaries can use this, but as they don't give the actor a credit at that point I doubt it'd count), although that doesn't necessarily mean they should be given a credit, as it doesn't fit the official definition (however, that is largely focused on fiction). It also occurs to me that a voiceover introduction is really the equivalent of the textual "credit", so should that count as a credit too?

I'm sure this has been covered before on the Contributor's Help forum but I'd struggle to find it, so thought it worth seeking input here.
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Posted 6 years ago

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cartman_1337

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Actually, Ken Butler in you're example, isn't credited either. Like the rule says: "in other words, his/her name does not appear in the main or end titles of the film." His name on the screen is not a credit, he hast to be listed in the main or end titles of the documentary for it to be a credit.

So your question gets turned into this: should something that isn't counted as a credit today be construed as a credit because of something else that isn't a counted as a credit? Answer: no, obviously.

They can all be given uncredited credits as him/herself, though, siting their various introductions in the documentary as source.
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I am going to disagree with Cartman in this case. At http://www.imdb.com/updates/guide/cas... it is stated: "For documentaries or talk shows where the people appearing on camera are generally not in a separate cast list, their first onscreen appearance where they are identified either by a caption or spoken name is used to determine the order. Any narrator/host listed in opening or closing credits would be treated as the first cast member, and would precede people identified only within the documentary."

This indicates that people in a documentary who are identified either by having their name announced or printed in a caption on screen are supposed to be treated as credited, even if their name does not appear in the opening or closing credit rolls of the program.
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cartman_1337

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I stand corrected. :) This also covers everything in the original question, as far as I can see. People who are presented by name, even if it's just spoken, can be construed as credited for the purposes of a documentary cast list.
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As gromit82 said: documentaries don't have a 'cast' per se, and usually don't have a cast credit listing at the end. So If a person appears in a documentary and is explicitly identified (via a caption, spoken narration or other mean) we consider them to be 'credited'.
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Thanks for the comments everyone - I did fill in the credits as "uncredited" based on the guidelines, but after submitting I was concerned there might be a more nuanced/common sense reading of what counts as a credit in documentaries (that aren't reenactments).

MayorDefacto also contacted me pointing out the information about the ordering of the cast:

For documentaries and other genre shows where real people are interviewed onscreen, crediting does not always occur in the opening titles or end credits. For these types of shows, credit by caption or introduction is equivalent to a listing in the titles or end credits and these persons are indeed considered credited. See the Order section of the cast update guide, mdb.com/updates/guide/cast#castorders, for this:

For documentaries or talk shows where the people appearing on camera are generally not in a separate cast list, their first onscreen appearance where they are identified either by a caption or spoken name is used to determine the order. Any narrator/host listed in opening or closing credits would be treated as the first cast member, and would precede people identified only within the documentary.


However, that doesn't quite say whether the order only applies to the credited role, although it would, technically have to I believe (as you couldn't really mix credited and uncredited ordering). So thanks to GC for the official line on this, as I was a little uncomfortable with trying to "lawyer" it through a possible ambiguity and precedents I'd dug up.

I'll wait for the credits to go live and then fix the attributes and add an order in, unless staff want to intercept it and get the "uncredited" attributes removed (I'll still need to sort the order out though, so it isn't really worth the effort - unless people without a credit would get their uncredited role rejected, rather than sitting on file until one came along):

131007-160226-675000

Would it be possible to update the guidelines here to cover things like documentaries (and quizzes, I assume, as I found one of the experts already had a credit for a University Challenge special)?

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

Granted this thread now already ranks highly for relevant searches, so anyone with a similar question should be able to find the answer, but the FAQs are the final word in cases of uncertainty.

Thanks again.
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Peter, Champion

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Also see this definition: "Documentary subjects are presumed to be credited if they are identified on screen or verbally during their appearance."

http://www.imdb.com/updates/guide/att...
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Ah ha, that is what I was looking for all along. Ironically, it is more helpful in this regard than the dedicated page it links to.
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Thanks, Peter.
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I just wanted to bump this to ask for input on a related issue - the ordering of credits.

In a few documentaries I've recently added you get:

  • Presenter and actors who are in the reconstructions listed in the credits.
  • Experts appearing as themselves either identified textually on screen or through the voiceover.
  • Actors appearing in the archive footage, usually just the star who is named and discussed by the expert and/or presenter.

I've tended to add the order for those in the actual credits at the end and leave the others unordered, but there are other options:

  • Order them all, with the actual credits first and then by the order of appearance in the documentary - this would be me second preferred route.
  • Purely ordered in the order the credits appear - which would be those experts (and archive actors?), then those from the credits (which is usually presenter first and then actors) - this might get a little confusing, as the presenter is usually the lynchpin and might be expected to come first.

So which is the best approach?