eboy's profile

1.9K Messages

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63K Points

Wed, Jun 6, 2018 7:04 PM

Question about narrator

Just to clarify. I came across with a documentary that doesn't include any interviews or "talking heads" (pretty common approach, actually). Instead, there's a voice of the narrator and some segments where the actors are narrating the letters/thoughts (etc) of certain real-life people. So basically there's a narrator (being "herself"), and some actors. In the end credits the actors are only credited as "voice" (no characters).

Since this is a documentary, I assume that the main narrator is credited as:
"Herself - Narrator"

But how the other (voice) actors are credited? The documentary identifies the "characters" (not by captions, but but the main narrator), so should I use (fictional example):

a) Doe, John --- --- Abraham Lincoln (voice)

OR, are they also credited as:

b) Doe. John --- --- Narrator (voice)

OR, should I use "Reader" like e.g. "The War" mini-series ( https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0996994/fullcredits?ref_=tt_cl_sm#cast ). If I recall correctly, there are some similar segments in The War.

Thanks.

Responses

2.4K Messages

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81.1K Points

3 y ago

My 2 cents: I do not see why a narrator or a reader should be credited as himself or herself. Their parts are just being narrator or reader. So unless "himself/herself" is stated in the credits, there is no reason to have it displayed this way in IMDb.

1.9K Messages

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63K Points

3 y ago

 I do not see why a narrator or a reader should be credited as himself or herself. Their parts are just being narrator or reader. 
To my understanding, it mostly depends on the program (genre). In fictional films etc, the narrator is listed (in IMDB) without "him/herself", but in the documentaries etc they're listed with "him/herself". Like e.g. Keith David (I) is listed as "Himself - Narrator" in "The War" (2007).

Usually narrator (at least the main one, if there are multiple "voices") is credited as "narrator" in the end credits when it comes to documentaries. I would say that if the end credits list "him/herself", it refers to the fictional films where some person is playing him/herself.

Champion

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3.7K Messages

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77.2K Points

3 y ago

Hi Eboy,

Narrator's shouldn't be listed as himself/herself unless they authored the script - this is just an actor/actress role and they should just be credited as narrator.
For those actorsembodying a person and talking over the top - as in the Abraham Lincoln case, listing them as Abraham Lincoln (voice) would seem like thesensible approach.

I hope this helps.


Regards,
Will

148 Messages

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6.3K Points

If I recall right, we've had trouble before when an actor in a non-fiction or documentary-type title doesn't have the "Himself/Herself" used because then he doesn't end up in the Self section, but in his regular titles section. Conversely, when he/she is in a fiction title and "himself/herself" is used (contrary to IMDb rules), that portrayal ends up in the Self section instead of the regular films. I don't see why this shoiuldn't apply to narrators as well. FWIW, I think narrators in documentaries should be given the "Himself/Herself - Narrator" character. As per IMDb help, they should also be given credit order #1. If there is a narrator role in a fiction title, then 'self' shouldn't be used, imho.

251 Messages

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5.5K Points

Fake documentaries aka mockumentaries the narrator would be listed as Narrator or The Narrator. Such as in Woody Allen's Zelig.... https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086637/  No self needed.

(edited)

1.9K Messages

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63K Points

3 y ago

Thank you for the comments. I'm slightly surprised by Will's reply, since narrators are widely used in movies, documentaries, reality television, animations, etc etc. To me they're not all the same. So the official stance by IMDb is that "narrator" is basically "acting" every time and in every production? I have to assume that currently many "Narrator" credits (in IMDb) in documentaries (and such) are listed with "Himself/Herself" (like The War example).

What "unless they authored the script" exactly means, btw?
For those actorsembodying a person and talking over the top - as in the Abraham Lincoln case, listing them as Abraham Lincoln (voice) would seem like thesensible approach.
Yes, this kinda was my original question. Many times when the reader/narrator is embodying a person, he/she is also "acting" (at least more than the "main narrator"). But there are also many cases where he/she is (kinda) monotonically reading letters or diaries of a person (more like simply "reading" them rather than "acting" or trying to be the person).

Champion

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3.7K Messages

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77.2K Points

3 y ago

Just to clarify the narrator is not being "themselves" per se - in most cases they are reading from a written script. Therefore this aligns more with an actor credit than a himself/herself performance such as that on a talk show for example. There are certain cases where somebody may be acting as a narrator but is also clearly reading their own words or speaking as they would in an interview for example, in those cases then the himself/herself would be a valid addition.

I hope this helps.

62 Messages

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1.8K Points

2 m ago

Please note that almost every documentary I’ve come across in the database has the narrator listed as “Self - Narrator” and my submissions to add or correct a handful that were missing one half or the other were approved.  On the other hand, fictional titles always have this role listed as “Narrator” only.  Considering this, I’d have to agree with eboy.  It also seems logical b/c I don’t see a difference in acting vs. non-acting between the narrator stating facts off-screen and a person being interviewed stating facts on-screen.  Both are maintaining their real-life persona while speaking about real-life subject matter and are not playing a fictional character.  Also, on-screen cast for documentaries may have memorized lines from a script.  Contrarily, with fictional films the narrator plays a fictional character, taking on a role outside of his real-life persona that integrates into the tone and feel of the story, sometimes to the same extent of an on-screen actor.

Regarding the voice attribute, for documentaries I’ve seen narrators listed both with and without this, but most of the time without it.  I don’t see this specifically addressed in the Help guide here.  Am I correct to assume that this is not needed for narrators?

7.9K Messages

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181K Points

I also agree with eboy. I think all filmography items for documentaries should be "self" credits, except for the ones whereby an on-screen performer or voice performer serves solely as a cast member for a reenactment role. Sometimes narrators of documentaries are actors therein, and that is the case only when the actor is portraying a historical figure reciting textual memoirs. I do see a gray/ambiguous area only in the question of what to do about skit-based documentaries, where one moment, folks are portraying themselves absent a fictional context and the next, they are portraying fictional characters. Technically these wouldn't be cases of reenactment, since the skits would be fictional.

251 Messages

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5.5K Points

2 m ago

In my experience 'Self' always needs to be including or the system will assume it's a portrayal. I've always put Self - Narrator (voice). You know how in a search and under the names it will say 'actor' or 'director' or 'editor'? If someone is listed in a documentary and 'Self' is not listed the person then shows up as 'Actor'.    As far as when the end credits just list the actors who read the letters as the historical figures I would list them as Doe, John --- --- Abraham Lincoln (voice). I did that for Hemingway (see below). It was accepted. You just have to be 100% sure which actor is doing the reading.

7.9K Messages

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181K Points

Just to note, there is a special keyword that affects whether a filmography item will displayed under the "actor" heading or the "self" heading on an IMDb name page: https://help.imdb.com/article/contribution/titles/keywords/GXQ22G5Y72TH8MJ5#special.

daniel_francis_gardecki

582 Messages

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11.5K Points

2 m ago

I will keep ignoring Will's advice, as like everyone else, I believe that narrator's in factual shows or films should be credited as Self - Narrator.

There's also the complete opposite to Eboy's original problem with films like this docudrama film (from 1-2 miles South-West of me) where most, if not all of the actors don't speak at all (I can't remember if any of them actually use their own voices), as the voices used are those of the real people they're portraying.

The Arbor (2010) - Full Cast & Crew - IMDb

251 Messages

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5.5K Points

Hmmmm.... I need to watch The Arbor and have a think on this one.

582 Messages

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11.5K Points

@ben_hampel You need to watch Rita, Sue and Bob Too (1987) first if you haven't already, as it's one of the funniest, most-underrated, and most-offensive films of all time.

Yet still like most Yorkshire based films which aren't based in or around Sheffield with their stereotypical Yorkshire accent which most people outside Yorkshire believe is how everyone in Yorkshire sounds, in other words the Sean Bean Sheffield accent or the living-in-the-past Barnsley accent, it gets ignored by the majority of people down South.

Rita, Sue and Bob Too (1987) - IMDb

Rita, Sue and Bob Too: watch the original 1987 trailer - YouTube

Rita, Sue and Bob Too (1987) Trailer - YouTube

The Arbor (2010) - IMDb

The Arbor - Official Trailer - YouTube

The Arbor | trailer US (2011) - YouTube

Rita, Sue and Bob Too was written by 16yo Bradford playwright Andrea Dunbar from a rough White council estate, based on what she saw and heard in her own neighbourhood. It has the excellent George Costigan, Michelle Holmes, and Siobhan Finneran as the leads, all of which coincidentally have appeared in many more Bradford based productions (not that anyone realises)

The Arbor is based on Andrea Dunbars own life, with Bradford actress Natalie Gavin playing Andrea, and Manjinder Virk playing Lorraine Dunbar who is Andrea's daughter. Again both of these have appeared in at least 3 Bradford based productions each (again not that anyone realises).

Both were filmed on the same street Andrea grew up on, along with the rest of the neighbourhood, and other areas of the city, although most of the neighbourhood has largely been demolished and redeveloped so is practically impossible to recognise today.