Filmmaking Dilemma, Suggestions needed

Right. This is a complicated little situation. I made a short film last semester, from February until May called 'Forced Labour' with the intention of submitting it to film festivals and the like. Now, the first version I edited during the end of April (early May) was 18 minute long, which is way TOO long for a short film with such a simple story, besides, more than half of this is dedicated to the fighting scenes, which feature characters not originally in the script.

Realizing that the fighting scenes are way too long, and take too much attention away from the main plot and the theme. I decided to re-edit the whole damned thing (I've already mentioned that few weeks ago, actually). And re-edit, or remade the film I did, snipping it down to nearly a third of its original length (ideally, this new short film will be between 5-6 minutes, I think), lots of scenes were sped up, most of the fighting scenes were removed, and the characters not originally in the script did not make it past this version either (thus any scene with them in it are gone).

The results thus far had been stellar, and it's totally something that can be sent to film festivals (if they look past the fact that I'm using a cheap-ass camera, and that the film's sooooo low budget). I've reached near the ending, all I have to do is reshoot one more scene with my main actress and things will be completely done.

Now, I feel pretty guilty that the five characters didn't make it past the final cut, and wanted to make it up to them by including them in the credits. For example, I shall do what the Farrelly brothers did with 'Me, Myself and Irene', and inform viewers that 'some characters and scenes were removed due to time constraints', and then show snippets of scenes featuring these characters and then give them credit.

Wonderful solution, right?

HOWEVER, this is best used for a jolly little comedy... what if the ending of my short film is meant to be pretty dark and angsty (bittersweet, kinda), and I try to toss that in during the credits? Wouldn't that mess things up?

So, what do you guys think? Any suggestions? It was suggested to me that I shall put them in the 'Special Thanks' section during the credits, which is something I will most likely do.

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