Goofs In The Credits? Don’t Wreck Your Film!

I know, I know, this is a blog about post production problems, not necessarily about a film’s content. But content is king and I have seen more than a few times when bad judgment on content bleeds into the post sessions to wreck a film and unnecessarily break the budget.

Many times, I see indie filmmakers(of both shorts) and features fall into the trap of being so in love with their footage in the cutting room, that they just HAVE to put all the outtakes in the end credits. Ok, this is a bad, bad, bad, idea… unless your film is of the Will Farrell variety.

Here’s an example. I recently worked on this extremely powerful project about a woman’s struggle to tell authorities about being raped. It was a well-written and smart drama that had all the elements of a successful film festival hit. Cool.

But the director just could not bear the idea of leaving out the “hilarious” out-takes during the credit sequence.  Yeah, hilarious. This huge drama unfolds on screen and we are thinking the film is brilliant and moving… until the credits roll and we see all the gaffs and f-words that were supposed to be left on the proverbial cutting room floor (actually, these days there is no “cutting room floor”, just a delete button.)

Why would this director ruin my experience by making me sit through the absolute cliché of cliché bloopers. Everybody knows these bloopers and even if it’s Tom Cruise falling on a banana peel or Gweneth Paltrow having trouble yielding her whip in the dominatrix scene from Iron Man 2, it really isn’t funny or cute.

But after a filmmaker works so hard to achieve a certain tone, why torpedo it with a lame bit of outtakes that ruin the whole mood that was masterfully created by the film?

Whenever I see those bullshit outtakes, I see amateurs at work. People, outtakes are not funny. But what is funny is how the director’s credit card was declined for the EXACT amount of hours that were billed for making these hilarious outtakes. No joke. We spent about 4.5 hours making the most “knee-slappingly funny” credit sequence, using all kinds of software like After Effects and Photoshop. And when the bill was totaled, her card was past its limit for that exact amount. We held the master until she called in for reinforcements to help fund the genius credit sequence.

I’m only this bitter because I was really enjoying the movie. But I felt like an idiot for liking it once the underbelly of outtakes ripped the film out from under me.

And looking back, it is always the first time filmmakers and amateurs who love these bloopers. Like I said, if you are going for a Will Farrell tone for the whole movie, then knock yourself out in the credits with some crazy fart outtakes. Otherwise, rape just isn’t that funny.