TV stars and constellations

Posted on November 9, 2010

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That list of people whom we don’t know at the end of a TV show  – should we do away with it? The team of a friend who works for a current affairs show has discarded the practice of running a credit roll. Her boss explains it as a trend even in the United States.

In the Philippines, most programs still run a credit roll – but how hastily! The pressure to quickly fill the gaps, one show after the other, has made the credit roll the easiest thing to drop or compromise. We fail to see how it educates the viewers and holds the people behind a show accountable.

The credit roll’s biggest contribution is to make all of us realize that a show is not the work of only one or a few on-cam stars. It is the work of a team that includes producers, production assistants, camera crew, graphics artists, and video editors. In a country where people, in poverty and despair, tend to cling to stars as their supermen and wonderwomen, credit rolls teach us that they aren’t. The work of a single star? More of a constellation.

The credit roll also reminds the production team of this. This will make them own the show – and boost their morale in more rewarding moments, hold themselves accountable in times of trouble, and pressure them to keep their names respectable at all times.

The credit roll is not an irrelevant appendage. As Malcolm Gladwell would put it in ‘The Tipping Point,’ it is one of the little things that can make a big difference.

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