Want your movie to have a professional movie poster?
Every “one sheet” movie poster has ONE thing in common. It’s called “the billing block.” To get it you’ll need a movie poster credits template.
If you made a movie poster then you simply have to get those movie poster credits right. Turns it out it’s a bit trickier to nail the credit ordering than you would think.
We’re going to help you out with a free movie poster credits template, and a quick rundown of how to use it.
Download your FREE Photoshop Movie Poster Credits Template
We've created two movie credit poster templates for light and dark backgrounds.
Download your free Photoshop movie poster credits template below.
Understanding the movie poster credits template
There are a few different kinds of movie posters. They have official names, and guidelines.
One-Sheet Movie Poster
The type of poster that must use the billing block we're referring to is called a One-Sheet.
The official Jurassic Park movie poster
This features the key poster art for the movie and lists the cast and crew. This is the bare minimum movie poster so you want to know how to make this one.
Teaser Movie Poster
Another type of movie posters is a teaser (posters where the movie title isn't always shown). Imagine walking through the theater and seeing a poster that only features a logo. Maybe also a "date", and something cryptic like “Coming Soon.”
Let’s take a look at the teaser for the same movie who’s one-sheet we just looked at.
This ad features no movie poster credits because it’s a “teaser”
Another movie poster type is "wild posting" (think poster art pasted on a construction site). Also billboards, taxi tops, online banners etc.
Most taxi cab tops don’t require full movie poster credits
You may end up with some of those other kinds of posters. At the very least though, you'll want the one sheet. So download the movie poster credits template, and then let's dive in.
Billing credits (aka the “billing block”)
The billing block is the name of the cluster of text at the bottom of the poster. It’s usually in that familiar, condensed-looking movie poster credit font.
The question now is, how should you fill it out?
Before we get to that, let's get to know the billing block itself a little bit better. The billing block exists because there are agreements in place throughout the industry that require it.
Putting movie poster font negotiations aside or a moment, let's keep in mind the purpose of the billing block:
It is meant to fairly represent who worked on the film in what capacity.
So it's not only important to get it right for the professional look, but also to be professional!
What goes at the bottom of a movie poster
We know the movie poster credits, or billing credits, go at the bottom of the movie poster.
But in what order? What about those specific titles, and specific rules? And what about that movie poster font? Let's go through the movie poster credits template piece by piece.
Before we get to the movie title there may be a few 'presented by' type credits. Note all the credits “presenting” the movie in this instance:
The billing block here features many companies in front of the title.
We’ve got Paramount, Warner Bros., Legendary, Syncopy, and Lynda Obst.
Let’s break this down part by part. The presentation credit would come first, and this would belong to the distributor. Think:
ABC Films Presents
Of course, this can get a bit more complicated. Say you have another company that helped put up some money for the movie. Then you'll get:
ABC Films Presents in Association With 123 Industries
Say one of the key producers who developed the film has a production company. Now it's:
ABC Films Presents in Association with 123 Industries a John Smith Production
There! Now we can get to the title.
Not so fast.
You might have a director who negotiated to have an additional credit here. Yep. You guessed it: "A film by" or "A so-and-so film."
ABC Films Presents in Association with 123 Industries
A John Smith Production of A Joe Jackson film
Now you can put the title of the movie in.
Does the film have a major star? Or two? OR THREE?!
Some actors and actresses will negotiate to have their names before the title. You've seen this manifest in other ways. It's called "top billing" and it'll come on top of the one-sheet before we even get to the billing block.
Some people roll their eyes at the notion that actors and their egos demand such placement. But it's not always the actor's benefit or even instance. One of the main reasons audiences will select a movie is their interest in its star. This has been true since the days of celluloid’s first worldwide star, Charlie Chaplin. Hopefully, for the film, this star will drive more viewership.
Down in the billing block, you'll put any big-name stars before the title as well.
An interesting instance of this was the 1978 Superman. The film starred Christopher Reeves as the titular character. It co-starred Margot Kidder as Lois Lane. Neither of them was credited before the title.
Gene Hackman and Marlon Brando come before the title in these movie poster credits.
So which actor was listed first?
Marlon Brando. Brando is not featured in the movie much. He plays Superman's alien father and dies in the first reel.
So why was he given the prime movie poster credit real estate?
Brando was a screen legend. He had not long ago come off his iconic role as Vito Corleone, His calculated box office draw, along with his negotiating power put him above everyone else.
Compare this to the modern advertising of a film, where the brand of a superhero character far outweighs the importance of any actor playing him. Times change.
Typically 2-3 other actors will be named after the title in the billing block. Rarely any more than that. They are listed in alphabetical order or negotiated order.
These spots are referred to as "first position", "second position" and "third position".
There are still more ways to list talent. Special negotiations or special talents may lead to a "with" or an "and" proceeding the name.
Note that among the other movie poster credits actor Jonathan Pryce received the highly desired ”and”
Sometimes you'll also see an "introducing" label. Getting sick of all this yet?
Blame the agents.
The standard crew order is as follows:
- Casting by…
- Costumes by…
- Production Designer…
Director of Photography is usually negotiated in placement.
Music by or Original Score by may also be negotiated and place prominently.
If you haven't negotiated anything with your cast or crew, then place the people who feel contributed the most to the project first. Place them in an order that is visually appealing, but also fair.
Note in these movie poster credits the order is as listed above, with the exception of ‘Music By’, which is negotiated.
Pro tip: Certain unions or societies mandate their mention after the crew member’s credits. For example, members of the American Cinema Editors society get "A.C.E.". Members of the American Society of Cinematographers get "ASC".
Make sure you find out about any such memberships and note them in your billing block.
As you've no doubt noticed; there are a lot of different Producers listed in movie credits.
In these movie poster credits for ‘Gravity’ there are five producers listed.
Your billing block may include Producer, Executive Producer, Co-Producer, and Associate Producer.
We’re starting to see limits on how many people can be credited as a Producer on feature films these days.
If you need to figure out what producers did what, check out our article “What does a Producer do?" That should help you get a sense of which ones you feel you need to include in your movie poster credits.And for even more info, head over to the Producers Guild site.
There are also often many writers on any given film. Sometimes there are many writers over the course of many years. Or decades.
Alien:Covenant had many writers and writing teams to credit on its poster
If your script is based on previously published material you may need:
From a novel by Sirach Pentab
Based on characters by Sirach Pentab
A "from a story by" credit can be used to credit any writing that wasn't done in screenplay form. Meaning, did you develop a treatment with someone else, and then go write the screenplay on your own?
Stating "Screenplay by" means this individual wrote the script.
"Written by" is when one writer has written the story and the script.
Treat a writing team like one individual. Say Steve Jones and Joe Stevens are a team that developed the story. Another writing team of Kirk Mitchell, Mike Johnson, & Richard Roberts wrote the screenplay. Your movie poster credits would read:
Story by Steve Jones & Joe Stevens
Screenplay by Kirk Mitchell, Mike Johnson & Richard Roberts
You can add more teams, and individuals in your movie poster credits template if necessary.
We're finally in the home stretch of filling out the movie poster credits template.
Directed by is the last movie poster credit in the billing block. In the case of a writer-director the credit will read:
Written and Directed by Bob Kensey
The important note here being that "Directed by" is the final credit.
What's that other stuff at the bottom?
There is some other stuff at the bottom of your movie poster credits. Logos often go down here, as well as the official rating from the M.P.A.A.
You’ve seen this logo on many movie posters.
This is also where you'll want to add in your website, social media accounts, hashtags, and release date.
Do I have to follow all these strange rules?
Some of these rules may not apply. It depends on your production.
The short answers, and smartest bet, would be to follow standards and have legal take a look at your movie poster credits. If you missed a union or society, or placed something in the wrong order they may catch it.
Movie poster font suggestions
So what is the deal with that weird movie poster font? Does it have to look this way?
There is no standard movie poster font, but many can be downloaded and approximate the look
It looks that way because the production has to cram so much required information in there. Nobody wants the movie poster credits to dominate the attempt to sell the movie.
There is cool artwork to look at! The face of a famous person (or two)! The movie poster credits font purposefully hides at the bottom there. Doing its job but not getting in the way.
After downloading our free movie poster credits template, you’ll see exactly what order the credits should be in. You may not have any legal reason to follow all these rules (or use the strange movie poster credits font). At the same time, what better way to appear as professional as possible?
You know the old saying, 'fake it til you make it'?
With these guidelines and you won't be faking it at all.
Curious about the end credits hierarchy at the end of your film? Then take a look at our free film credits order template.
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