Visual Effects artists are upset after the recent blockbuster Oppenheimer missed dozens of DNEG artists in the final credits. The production of Oppenheimer stated not to have any CGI in the film. It still has a considerable number of invisible Visual Effects in the form of retouch, integration and compositing.
"DNEG, which is one of the leading global VFX production companies and collaborated with Nolan for the film, has said that over 160 VFX artists worked on the film, accounting for at least 80% of artists not being credited." - Koimoi
It's not the first time that Visual Effects artists are not fully credited in blockbuster productions as seen in recent Marvel, DC and Star Wars films. The big question is:
Does it matter if your name is in the end credits?
Before we dive deeper into the topic we need to clarify the difference between credit and end credit. The credit is about the official recognition of the work while the end credit only refers to the credits running at the end of the film or game.
Why are end credits even limited? One of the reasons for missing end credits is that film and games productions are often set with credit quotes for the studios. That means the production studio (Disney, Warner Bros., ...) tells the Visual Effects studio (DNEG, Weta Fx, ..) they've a limited number of names for the end credits independent of how many Visual Effects artists actually worked on the project. This way the production studios can control the credit size, length and appearance. In the past an important reason to limit the credits was to shorten the film stock since each second of physical film makes the film more expensive. In modern times an argument would be to shorten the end credits for the post end credit sequences. A counter argument would be streaming where the end credit length doesn't matter and doesn't produce more costs.
As we established which credits and why let's dive into the professional and personal side of the matter:
When it comes to a professional career in Visual Effects, Animation and Games credits are extremely important. Credits are important since they communicate an experience in a position, project and studio. This allows us to add them to our resume, showreel, IMDb page and social media accounts for our next job application.
Credits are important for our profession but what about the end credits at the end of the film or game?
The simple answer is: The end credits are nice but not always a necessity when it comes to our career. They don't affect our career chances since they're not part of the hiring process. No recruiter will ever go out of their way to check the end credits for a valid claim. What they might do is to check with the studio if a claim is true when in doubt. Though they can have an effect on your IMdB page especially when added as "uncredited".
US immigration: Public influence is one of the many factors to help with immigration. A screenshot of the end credits is the only proof accepted for a O1B visa since IMdB or other sources are not strong enough evidence to make a case.
[The US is infamous for its extremely harsh immigration laws. I'm not familiar with any other country having the same requirement.]
▶️ How I got a surprise credit at Weta FX (21 Artist Show):
Besides the professional side there is also a personal side. Visual Effects, Animation and Games are full of passionate people wanting to create cool projects and see their names connected to them.
Avatar - The Way of Water was the 1st film I worked on and that I went to see in the cinemas. When the credits started to roll I unsuccessfully tried to find my name in the wall of artists. It was a proud and uncanny moment being officially part of such a huge project. So being upset when left out of the end credits is understandable.
While credit is important, the end credit has no professional effect on our careers. However in times when janitors, 5th level accountants and set babies are credited it's questionable not to credit all the artists who actually participated on the project.
It's understandable to be upset when not getting into the end credits. At least in most cases it has not a tragic effect on your career and it's often not even the fault of the Visual Effects studio that hired you. Reach out to the studio to be considered in future productions even though it's not something that they can guarantee at the moment. Or include the end credit in your contract so it becomes enforceable.
⭐ Like to find your own name in the credits of a big Hollywood production?
A strong application is often what separates you from your next career step.
Thanks for reading,
PS. Feel free to share more behind the scenes of credits and I'll update the article.
I'm Alexander, an Award-Winning Technical Director & Coach in Visual Effects, Animation and Games. My skills are solving technical problems, simplifying workflows and mentoring career goals.