The film at the movie theatre is over; those of us who played a part in its making stay in our seats, moving our heads side to side as we try to read the names of the people who worked on the film as others get up from their seats and leave. Really, people? What’s an extra five minutes of showing your appreciation of a film by staying to see who the many, many people were that worked on it?
When we made Skeleton Girl and were desperately trying to complete it in time for its world premiere, I wanted to do the credits in a standard white on black rolling format for the sake of expediency. “Let’s just get this done” I thought. My partner and co-producer/co-director Leo wanted to animate the gravestones with the credits on them instead. Now, I think it’s one of the highlights of the movie. Why? Because we went the extra mile to make something better and we took the time to create a look and feel that was in sync with the rest of the film (3D, stop motion, and re-using props from the film). From a visual and creative standpoint, this was the right decision. To change the look to something 2D and flat would have diluted the whole experience we were trying to achieve. We also had some powerful music created by composer Tomasz Opalka to accompany the credits. We would not have risen to the occasion of trying to match his outstanding musical score had we cut corners and not animated the credits. The two work together to create a lovely way of wrapping up the film and the audience’s experience of it.
So, here we are two years later having the same discussion. Should we do a standard menu for the Skeleton Girl Collector’s Edition Blu-Ray + DVD Combo Pack or should we animate the menu? Although I hesitated, I should have learned my lesson the first time. Yes it will take longer, but the whole experience for the viewer will be better. We’ve dusted off the skeleton hand and the gravestones. They’re back, and will get their animated groove on just like in the film’s credits.
So, when you’re getting up and leaving the theatre when the credits start to roll, sit back down. You just might be in for a special, unexpected treat. And even if you’re not, imagine you’re one of the people who worked really hard on that film. Would you want everyone leaving the theatre? Probably not.
Check out this piece with Eugene Levy, “Eugene Levy and a Golden Retriever Defuse a Bomb” in which he addresses exactly this issue.