Order numbers are used to control the display of credits within a title. The order of credits for a particular person's filmography is determined automatically by the release dates of the titles, and cannot be changed.
- Most credits can only be displayed in alphabetical order. However, in certain lists, the credits can be forced to appear in the order in which they appear on screen.
- In general, the order is a simple sequence number, beginning at 1 and increasing by 1 for each entry. However, the rules for writing credits are complicated, and are explained in the writers guide.
- In the case of languages and countries, the order implies the relative prominence; in other words, the most used language will have the number 1, the next most prominent 2, and so forth.
- In the case of the various company lists, the order should reflect the onscreen credit order for the particular title (starting at 1). For distributors, where a given print will probably only show one, they should be ordered at least roughly by release date.
- Acting credits are ordered according to the most comprehensive cast list (the one listing the most actors); in most cases, this will be the list appearing in the end credits.
- In some cases (i.e., TV movies), the cast list is split between the opening credits and end credits; in those cases, the two portions should be treated as one long cast list that happens to be interrupted by the actual movie. This also applies to some movies from the 1950s, where a list of the main cast appeared at the beginning, and was then repeated in reverse order at the end, with pictures, followed by additional cast members.
- For documentaries or talk shows where the people appearing on camera are generally not in a separate cast list, their first onscreen appearance where they are identified either by a caption or spoken name is used to determine the order. Any narrator/host listed in opening or closing credits would be treated as the first cast member, and would precede people identified only within the documentary.
- Where credits are listed in more than one column, the order depends. If the list scrolls up the screen (rather than appearing as standalone cards), then the order goes across the rows. If there is an obvious order, such as alphabetic, appearance, or importance, then follow that. If there is no obvious order, then read across the rows before reading down the columns, the same as with scrolling credits.
- We are aware that casts in order of appearance or alphabetical order sometimes mean a lead actor is buried relatively deep in the cast list. This is somewhat unfortunate. We do have a separate system for indicating the lead actors via the "Stars" section, but this can only be amended internally by IMDb staff members.
- Do not enter an order number for someone who is uncredited.
- Please note that order numbers are not honored for projects before they have begun filming; such orders are far too subject to change. In addition, the order numbers will not affect the display of credits until a significant percentage of the credited cast has order numbers.
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