Film Industry Jobs
So you want a job in the film industry? While a lot of the business has changed quite a bit in recent decades, one aspect hasn't: there are movies with a lot of money and there are movies made from sheer will.
Let's break down film production jobs in terms of budgets. If working in a bigger system where you might do less but are exposed to fancier sets, expensive technology and the accompanying toys, then a big studio film is more of your atmosphere.Big Moolah
If you want to work on a bigger budgeted film, and we're talking nine-figures, you're looking at predominantly franchise movies. Recent films that are in this price range (200-300 million) include: Jurassic World, Star Wars Ep. VII The Force Awakens, and Batman vs. Superman. As you can see, these are movies with recognizable characters set in a world where people get eaten and things blow up. Films of this magnitude can employ thousands of people in mostly film crew jobs. For example, Iron Man had a credited list of 3,310 crew members. This is a lot - films average around 1,000 crew members to give you an idea. This means bigger budgeted films have departments that include assistants, assistants to assistants and so on.
Depending on the film, certain departments will be more stacked than others. Over half of the crew members in Iron Man were in visual effects. In contrast, Peter Jackson hires more people in special effects than in visual effects for his films. In other films, the art department might be fuller if a certain aesthetic requires that kind of demand.
Because films with large budgets employ so many people, the wages are not significantly higher than lower budgeted films. Production assistants get paid anywhere from $80-$300 depending on overtime. A bigger army doesn't mean larger slices of the pie; there are just more of them. Above-the-line costs including directors, producers, cast and writers can take up a big percentage of the budget, sometimes over 50%, leaving the rest to be divided by a heavy arsenal of people to make sure the film looks, sounds, and feels good.Middle Class
Mid-tier budget films operate similarly to the bigger studio films but with less money. So the people doing the work are often wearing multiple hats and expected to output more. Some examples of films in this budget are The Ridiculous Six, American Sniper and Deadpool. Their bottom lines all came in just shy of $60 million according to IMDB. Most consider this budget level to start around $5 million.
Movies in this budget range have vastly decreased in production as studios seem to have forgotten how to make films such as Juno, Slumdog Millionaire and The King's Speech. This is the auteur's dream budget range which is why we haven't seen David Lynch make a movie since Inland Empire. The arthouse directors of the '80s and '90s can now be found making content for the silver screen.Shoestring
If guerilla warfare is your style, then you're looking to work in low-budget indies. You wear all the hats and are paid the least. These are often passion projects that involve everyone making sacrifices at every stage. Top level acting and directing talent that get involved take a big pay cut because it's a role they don't normally get to play or a subject matter they don't usually get to direct. Writers might be looking to break out of more commercial genres and therefore are willing to write for a big pay decrease.
Filmmakers in this budget range are usually gunning for festival screenings to get their name out there as being able to do what it takes to get a good film made. Shooting days are long, sometimes 16-18 hours, but it can feel "worth it" and that you are really "making a movie," as everyone is more utilized and involved in the process.Rates
Something to consider if you are looking for work designated as below-the-line are day rates. Producers on small budget films will often ask for flat day rates from their crew. Sometimes you will be asked to work for free. We strongly advise against working for free (particularly for below-the-line) so be informed of state labor laws. Whether it's a day rate or a request of free labor, know what the labor laws state pertaining to your specific position.
When a producer on a low-budget indie offers you a flat rate, it means they don't have the budget to pay you the film industry standard and are asking you to make a compromise on behalf of the project. If the film you're working on is a piece of art that you believe in and might propel you to the next level in the film industry, working for grueling hours might be the right move. Unions of course help with enforcement of your hours and pay but there are exceptions made for ultra low and low budget projects that can result in flat rates.Back End Points
So we have talked rates in film production but you're thinking what about back end points? This is profit participation in a film. See: above-the-line. See further: producers. This is why you see more and more actors that are producers on films they are in. A trend in recent years is for actors to take a pay cut on their filming fee in hopes of getting a better return on the back end. But they need that producer credit.
Producers are the ones that stand to gain the most on back end points of a film. But still, this is after studios, domestic and foreign distributers, producer reps and investors have been paid back their money and percentage. Depending on the deal, writers and directors will also get back end points but it's usually after everyone has been paid out and there's no money left. Ten percent of 0 equals you're doing it for the passion.
Passion is the currency of film production in general. It will remind why you are working a 14-hour day on a Sunday and keep you warm on overnight shoots. Not to say you can't make a living in the film industry, but it takes a lot of "paying your dues" or hitting an unseen home run before you start seeing substantial income. But instead of printing TPS reports, you'd be making the movie about TPS reports.Union vs. Non-Union
Unions are put into place to protect the people working in production whether it be the actor or the makeup artist or the director of photography. If you decide to work on a non-union project, just remember the producers don't have to adhere to the strict labor guidelines of union projects such as: paying within a set timely manner, specific safety standards, enforced meals after a certain amount of time (6 hours,) and many other rules that are fineable if broken. Non-union productions are still subject to state labor laws however. Getting into unions vary from union to union and in some cases can require upwards of thousands of hours on union productions and adequate recommendations from existing union members.
Here's a look at what Hot Jobs in Production for 2016 were according to Mandy.com:
- Production Assistant, 0-2 years experience, $25K+
- Production Coordinator, 2-3 years experience, $30K+
- 1st Assistant Director, 2-3 years experience, $75K+
- 2nd Assistant Director, 1-2 years experience, $55K+
- Development Executive, 1-2 years experience, $50K
- Producer, 3-5 years experience, $65K+
- ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement) is often referred to as looping or dubbing. This part of filmmaking happens after a film has been shot and a recordist needs to record new dialogue because one of a few scenarios: the recorded location sound is not usable either for technical reasons (perhaps because location sound was noisy or low quality) or editorial changes (lines of dialogue have been modified); or to add voice-over (which can either be planned in the script or added later to help clarify a confusing plot.)
- An aerial specialist operates the aircraft that carries the aerial camera crew (aerial director of photography (DP) and aerial camera assistant). This crew shoots the aerial sequences that become scenes in the finished film. Camera pilots are also responsible for manning any kind of aircraft, such as helicopters, planes, hot air balloons, etc., that serve as action props. This job often requires high-level stunt experience.
- This person is in charge of all animal actors and trains these actors to perform on cue.
- This person oversees all of the art department on a film which means working right under the production designer and art director, they execute and ensure the visual artistry in the film, honoring the vision set forth in pre-production.
- Commonly referred to as the leadman: this person is the lead of art department and oversees set dressers and swing gangs and is directly under the set decorator.
- This person is a set dresser who dresses and strikes sets, and also picks up and returns the dressing. They usually are prepping a shoot or striking a set so they often are not working when the main production crew is.
- Art Directors oversee all art direction for the film and manage what is often one of the largest divisions of a film set. They manage the execution of the production designer's vision for sets and locations that serve the overall vision of the film in regard to visual artistry. This position also oversees the department's budget, schedule and collaborates with the production designer on making miracles happen with the money given.
- Most commonly referred to as the AD, this person is the director's right hand person, overseeing the logistics and schedule of shooting so the director can focus on executing their creative vision. AD's go through the entire script in pre-production (pre-pro) in what is called a shot-by-shot storyboard, so they can determine with the director the order in which scenes will be shot and how long those scenes will take to film. The AD then takes all this information to then create a shooting schedule for the entire film shoot.
- Most commonly referred to as The 2nd AD is the AD's point person and right hand. The 2nd AD's main role is to support the AD. The main functions of the 2nd AD are to draw up the call sheet (which breaks down all information regarding the following day of shooting) and to make sure principal actors are in hair and makeup and then on set according to schedule.
- Most commonly referred to as The 2nd 2nd, this person supports the 2nd AD and is in charge of wrangling all extras and directing those extras in a scene.
- This person assists the director and editor in organizing all the elements of the film so the film can be edited. They are often responsible for laying down the rough timeline of the film that will then go into the main edit.
- This person is the middleman between production and the writers and prints and disseminates scripts to production. The assistant script coordinator also manages clearances.
- This assistant helps the lead stereographer with their interactive relationship between interaxial, convergence and focal length.
- This role is an administrative person who assists the producers throughout pre-production, production, post production, marketing and distribution with whatever they need. They must be able to understand the entire production process. They have to provide a ton of organization and be able to adapt to a changing schedule. Coverage, phone calls, emails, drafting letters are just a few examples of the communication responsibilities of this role.
- Commonly referred to as the AP, the associate producer's role is similar to a producer's assistant, in that they are assisting a producer with whatever they need but their work is more directly related to the producing of the actual film. Responsibilities can include writing, editing, script organization, and assisting the editor with smaller editorial choices.
- This person is the legal representative and advisor of the film.
- This person in the sound crew mans the audio recording equipment on set, minimizing the background noise in sound and need for ADR.
- This person mans equipment that creates audio and visual images. The audio visual technician is often responsible for synching audio and visual images.
- This person is the lead electrician on the gaffer's team, which is in charge of lighting and electric work associated with that. The best boy manages all the lighting technicians, including paperwork, scheduling and logistics. The best boy coordinates between the production office and the lighting company, and reports directly to the gaffer. This person is also responsible for ordering equipment, handling any damaged or malfunctioning equipment, returns and exchanges.
- This person supports on set sound mixer as well as operates the boom microphone whether it be handheld or on a dolly mounted moving platform. The boom operator places any clip or radio microphones on actors or around the set if needed. These portable mics are used to collect the best dialogue for the sound mixer. Boom operators have to find the balance of collecting the best sound without the boom microphone visually creeping into the visual appearance of the shot.
- This person is in charge of cables on a production. A cable puller often follows roaming cameras to ensure that the cables stay attached without being a safety hazard.
- Commonly referred to as the 1st AC, this person's main responsibility is focus pulling on the camera - this means adjusting the camera's focus depending on the motion of the actors in a scene. The 1st AC reports directly to the DP and is usually hired by the DP.
- Commonly referred to as the 2nd AC, this person holds a pivotal role in the camera department, responsible for making sure everything runs smoothly in regard to camera work. They report to the 1st AC and support the 1st AC to ensure the DP gets what she/he needs as far as picture is concerned. For films that are actually shot on film, the 2nd AC is responsible for anticipating when the magazine of unexposed film is about to run out so they can feed a new roll of film in the camera, to create a seamless workflow.
- This person does exactly what the job title suggests, operates the camera. This can be a film camera, a digital camera or on a studio camera. On a studio camera, the camera operator is generally following a specific camera script, meaning a predetermined shot list. On location shoots using film or digital cameras are more likely to deviate from the shot list.
- This person supports the casting director in selecting all speaking roles on a film through the auditioning process. The casting associate assists the casting director in realizing the vision of talent as seen by the director and writers of the film.
- This person handles all the logistics for auditions and callback sessions for an upcoming shoot. The casting coordinator reports to the casting director.
- Similar to the casting associate, this person supports the casting director. A casting director assistant provides administrative and logistical work in the casting office. Casting offices usually are small in terms of their staff.
- Commonly referred to as the CD, this person is in charge of casting all the roles for a film, with the exception of lead attachments that have been predetermined to the casting process. The CD oversees all audition and callback sessions. They work with the producers and director to figure out who exactly fits the overall vision of the film in regard to casting.
- This person communicates with various talent agencies in order to get referrals for roles in an upcoming film.
- This person provides the big meals on a film set. Catering companies provide hot meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and they often serve their food via huge trucks. They often provide equipment such as fridges, ovens, gas, water and extraction fans to each unit base of a film. The other snacks on a film are usually provided by craft service.
- This person is hired when there is dancing in a scene that requires specific choreography. A choreographer has to have a strong background in dance and an ability to teach choreography quickly to non-dancers.
- This person provides the color of the film, in realizing the overall vision of the director. This part of the process happens in post-production once the editor and assistant editors have locked down the timeline of the film.
- This person writes the music of the film and creates this based on the overall vision of the production as set forth by the writer and director. They not only compose the music but also often have to perform it and arrange it. The producers and director then work with the composer to rearrange as necessary in the post-production process.
- This person works in post-production and provides additional layering to an image in the editing process. Compositors are highly used in animation, mostly 2D animation. But compositors need to understand CGI and 3D world building as they often have to work in tandem with those artists.
- This person works in tandem with the writer and art director to create drawings the give the film its visual backbone. The concept artist sketches images that reflect the ideas discussed for the film and often has to re-sketch new ideas on short deadlines.
- This person oversees the construction of sets and stages for a film. They report to the production designer and provide the execution of the set design, from planning, ordering, building, and finalization. Construction managers have riggers, carpenters, and plasterers working for them to make this happen on schedule, on budget and true to the vision of the production designer.
- This person is in charge of costuming the entire film. In pre-production, the costume designer works with the director and producers in planning the overall look of the costuming as part of the overall vision of the film. If the film is set in an older time period (a period piece) the costume designer has to bring an expertise of the clothing of that time. They have to work within the film's budget and timeline to achieve the look they need and provide a sense of continuity. They often have to design their own clothes or purchase or acquire clothing from various vendors and sources. Costume designers staff their own department with assistants, seamsters and tailors.
- Commonly referred to as a costumer, this person reports to the costume designer and assists with the designing process whether it be researching wardrobe, ordering materials or full costumes, and making alterations. The costumer often fits and dresses the actors. This person assists the costume designer in maintaining the continuity of the wardrobe of the film.
- This person is available to all departments on set to ensure the personnel are adequately fed with snacks in-between hot meals and also help out with cleaning the set.
- This person makes body parts, masks, and full practical creatures in a film.
- This person transfers the raw footage from a camera or digital data from a digital camera to the editor, ensuring there is no data loss or damage. With digital data, the data wrangler transfers the data onto a hard drive. This person also tracks who has received copies of the footage/data.
- This person sources the material or develops the concept with the writers of the film. They push the concept at pre-production, looking to persuade interested parties to get involved with the film, whether it be financiers, producers, co-producers, talent, or directors. They are often responsible for securing the rights on the film. Development executives sometimes take a producing role once the film goes into production.
- This person works with actors on their diction, accent or any inflections they need to authenticate their roles.
- Commonly referred to as the HD technician, this person supports the DP in ensuring quality control of the visual images of a digitally shot film. They provide color correction, image manipulation, production continuity, troubleshooting and overall assisting in the shooting of the film.
- This person is the captain of the ship. The director takes the script, finds a specific vision for that story and enlists all departments to realize that vision. The director is the connector between creative, technical, and production teams. The director leads the way from pre-production through post production, overseeing casting, re-writes, shot selection, shot composition, sound, all while trying to stay on schedule and budget to keep the producers happy. The director is the primary point of contact when actors are in a scene and is the only person to give the actors direct notes. They often assume producing responsibilities as well.
- More commonly referred to as the DP, this person runs the camera department. They come up with a visual plan to realize the vision of the director and utilize the personnel in their department to make this happen. They come up with an equipment list, work with the AD on the shot list and are in charge of the quality and continuity of the filmed visuals.
- This person supports the director from an administrative standpoint, working closely with them throughout the entire filmmaking process. This person helps with day-to-day communication, whether it be email or by phone. They also help with interviewing, drafting letters, script coverage, planning events, arranging meetings, liaising between the production office and set and liaising between production and post-production as per the director. In general, they serve as the director's other right hand for all things not related to AD work.
- This person works at a distribution company and oversees the distribution of the film to exhibitors (theaters, online) as well as DVD, Blu Ray and any other available formats.
- More commonly referred to as a re-recording mixer, this person is responsible for the final soundtrack which includes: dialogue, ADR, foley sound effects, music and atmosphere. They ensure the quality of the audio both tonally and stylistically are acceptable for the final cut of the film through volume positioning and leveling. This position is part of the audio post-production team but often re-recording mixers are freelance artists.
- This person creates the DVD and Blu Ray discs that the film goes on, ensuring the respective discs will play on DVD Blu Ray players. This person must have the appropriate software to program the interactive elements (ie. menu, play/rew/ff/stop buttons, subtitles, chapters) on the disc so the user can play them.
- This person assembles all the footage/data of the film into a timeline on editing software. An editor works with the images, the score, the sound, and graphics to translate what was captured on film or on digital into a fully realized story. An editor can often transform scenes that didn't quite work on set into great storytelling on screen. An editor also has a clear plan of how to cut the film in a way that honors the overall vision of the director. Editors report to the director and producers in post production.
- This person is usually a grip who handles and is in charge of electrical equipment on set.
- More commonly referred to as the EP, this person serves as the liaison between the producers and the studio, financiers and distributors depending on who is involved. This person oversees the completion of the film, responsible for the project to be finished on time and on budget and as proposed. Executive producers often secure a big part of the financing and sometimes secure the rights to the film. The EP on bigger productions can serve as the film company's CEO.
- This person helps with logistical needs such as accommodations, permits, crews, equipment and talent when a film is being shot abroad.
- This person creates the sounds you hear of a film that is not dialogue, ie. sound of shoes walking over fall leaves.
- Also referred to as a food dresser, this person makes food look good in a scene using various products such as sprays and paints.
- This person is the head of the lighting and electrical department, reporting to the DP. The gaffer comes up with a plan for the lighting of the entire film to support the overall vision of the director. A gaffer can be credited or more formally referred to as the chief lighting technician or CLT.
- This person creates the design of the titles in the opening title sequences and the credits. They also design the captions. They have to pick a font that represents the overall vision of the director and the story being told. Graphics designers are often freelance.
- This person builds and maintains all equipment pertaining to camera and electric. Examples of equipment: jibs, dollies, cranes, tracks, rigs, tripods, and c-stands. Every camera used requires a lot of equipment that needs to be set up correctly and monitored throughout the shooting process to ensure production quality and safety.
- This person is working closely with talent, prepping their scalp for any complex hair pieces, extensions or wigs. They collaborate with the hair and makeup department to ensure continuity of the actors' hair throughout the film.
- This person operates the jib or crane on set, a role that requires a very specific skillset. Maneuvering such heavy equipment on beat, keeping the film on schedule requires a large amount of strength, focus and precision.
- This person is the head grip and will fill in as back up for the construction coordinator as needed. The key grip is the first point of contact to the camera crew when they need assistance, such as moving a dolly. The key grip works closely with the gaffer and the rest of electrical.
- More commonly referred to as LD, this person helps create the look of the film by analyzing the screenplay. The LD works with the director, set designer and art director to achieve the right interpretation of the story through lighting.
- This person is brought on immediately to the project as they manage the budget of the film, literally line by line. To ensure that the budget is on track, they also are involved in day-to-day physical production in terms of making choices as to what can be purchased. This role has some overlap with the responsibilities of a unit production manager.
- This person is responsible for loading film into a camera or sd cards into a digital camera. They also run the clapboard before and sometimes after shots to synchronize the visual and audio components of a shot.
- This person is oversees the managing of locations for the film. The location manager helps decide where every scene will be shot and the logistics of making that happen. They are the point of contact during the shoot if anything goes awry at a particular location, not anticipated or known on the location scout.
- This person reports directly to the location manager and finds choices of possible locations for the film to be shot. A location scout performs a location scout, looking at various options to present to production. The location scout has to keep in mind potential shooting obstacles such as lighting, sound, permits, background visuals and weather.
- This person reports directly to the chief makeup artist. The makeup artist has a plan for the talent they are applying makeup to, in order to serve the overall vision of the chief makeup artist, which serves the overall vision of the director. If the film is set in a particular period (a period piece) the makeup needs to reflect that time. If a character ages, either moderately or severely, the makeup artist has to be able to make that look believable. Makeup artists also have to provide blood and gore when needed, working with visual effects. They will also work with a mechanical effects artist to apply prosthetics to a creature or horror villain.
- This person reports to the marketing director mostly in an administrative role. This person helps with the overall marketing strategy of the film. The marketing assistant is often scheduling meetings, researching target markets, and following potential sale prospects.
- This person will devise a marketing campaign for the film. This includes event planning, public relations, brainstorming and executing the creation of associated products, distribution strategy, sponsorships and market research. The marketing executive may run a focus group to test a sample audience's reaction to a film. This can factor into the studio's decision to make editorial changes to the film before releasing it.
- More commonly referred to as an underwater DP, this person is hired in pre-production to provide underwater filming and underwater stunts. This is a highly specialized role as the filming and stunts can be extremely tricky and potentially dangerous.
- This person makes artwork for a shot, often in the background, which is created using optical printing or via a matte shot. Traditional matte painters actually create the background for film. Now, most matte painting is done digitally in post- production.
- This person works on set to provide practical effects such as a scale model, mechanized props, pyrotechnics and general scenery. A break away door and explosions are two examples. A mechanical effects artist can also work with makeup to create a creature or horror villain using prosthetics.
- This person applies graphics that move in post-production. For example, a motion graphic artist can create movement in titles or credits. If signage or any other typography can't be manipulated on the shoot, a motion graphics artist can create movement with it in the editing process.
- This person assists the editor in realizing their vision of the film through music. The music editor works under the composer and the director to achieve a specific musical tone throughout the film. The music editor helps with figuring out placement, frequency and how present the music is in each scene.
- This person liaises between the composer and their personnel and production. The music supervisor is responsible for logistics of recordings, the hiring of needed personnel, and scheduling to ensure delivery of music goes according to plan. They also are in charge of sourcing music and obtaining rights.
- This person assists the on set audio team, keeping track of and organizing equipment, and grabbing gear as needed.
- This person lays down the composition of all the music recorded for the film. The musical arranger assists the composer in arranging all the voices and instruments of the score.
- Films, as per union rules, generally require a paramedic on set for specific types of scenes. For scenes that require stunts, more personnel (nurses and medics) or paramedics with specific certifications may be required.
- Films sometimes have on set masseuses available to the crew and talent as requested and needed.
- More commonly referred to as a PA, this person is responsible for a variety of tasks such as grabbing odds and ends, blocking traffic or foot traffic from disrupting a scene, running errands, or getting snacks for individual people. Sometimes, a set PA is assigned to an individual actor tending to whatever needs they have and accompanying them from their trailer to set. Office PA's, serve the needs of the production office sometimes completely separate to set. An office PA can be sent out for breakfast and lunch for the post-production team meanwhile production is on set shooting, being taken care of by craft services and catering. An office PA may sent out on runs to stock the office with supplies or to pick up/drop offs hard drives. PA's in general are utilized to fill in the gaps as needed.
- Much like the director's assistant, many of the higher level roles on production (such as actors, producers, writers) will have personal assistants to help them with day-to-day tasks such as keeping track of their schedule, handling communication/correspondence, running errands or paying vendors.
- This person is the key head of the editorial department, responsible for laying down the picture (visual images) that have been shot into a cut, finalized timeline. The picture editor oversees all the first assistant editors and second assistant editors, manning the crew that is there to translate the director and DP's work on set into a finished product. Once the timeline is picture locked, the picture editor hands it off to the post sound department.
- This person oversees the editing, dubbing and post sound production to finalize the film.
- This person oversees scheduling of post-production on a film, coordinating elements such as ADR, coloring, sound design to ensure the final delivery of the film. This person is also in charge of paperwork such as accounting and post-production forms with technical specs for the final version of the film. The post-production coordinator handles the storage of the film, offline editorial elements and the master audio file. The post-production coordinator reports to the post-production supervisor.
- This person oversees the entire post-production process. The post-production supervisor handles the hiring of all needed personnel for this department to ensure the delivery of the final film is met on time and on budget. This person is the medial point of contact for the producer, editor, supervising sound editor and all post suppliers such as CGI studios and film labs and accounting.
- This person oversees the entire completion of the film from pre-production through post-production. The producer works with the line producer on the budget and then hires the personnel that they need, including the director. While the director leads the production to realize a creative vision, the producer executes the overall making of the film. The producer helps with development, fundraising money for the film, is present on set to help manage and put out fires and secures distribution. Anything related to schedule and budget ultimately relates back to the producer. The film as a finished, viable product ultimately is on the producer's shoulders whereas the creative specifics within the film are the director's responsibility.
- This person manages the finances and accounting of the film during production. They oversee payroll, scheduling and financial reporting related to the film. Some of a production accountant's specific tasks can include: costing productions, calculating finances, communication with financiers, and manning cash flow.
- This person supports a production manager or production supervisor in handling the business, the budget and the staffing of a film. A production coordinator is there to help out with whatever needs come up to ensure a smooth running of production.
- This person oversees the financials, business and employment of a film. The production manager decides how the budget is spent.
- This person handles the sound recording of the film, overseeing the boom mic operator and any sound assistants in their department.
- This person is the key contact for planning, securing and allocating resources for a successful production. The project manager sets key goals and objectives to ensure a smoothly run shoot.
- This person handles the construction of any props that have not been sourced and purchased. The prop maker reports to the prop master to create any necessary props either in advance or on the spot. Some examples of props are replicas, stunt props and many other small items.
- This person oversees the property department. The prop master sources, acquires, purchases and maintains all the props needed for the film. They have to work with the director and art department to ensure they are adding all the necessary items to fulfill the director's vision of the film, while doing in on budget. Much like makeup, wardrobe and set design, props need to reflect visually the set time period of the film.
- This person sets, hangs and focuses various lighting equipment. A rigger may have to build scaffolding to hold heavy lighting gear.
- This person is similar to a matte artist. A rotoscope artist creates outlines and mattes to be integrated into the shot footage. A rotoscope artist now uses computer based programs to create these mattes and outlines, and is part of the visual effects team.
- This person operates the truck that carries the transmission equipment.
- Commonly referred to as the scripty, this person is charge of the visual and audio continuity of the film. The scripty uses specific software to take note of every shot to ensure actors make the same movements or say the same lines to ensure the footage will cut together in the edit.
- This person is the director of the second unit which is the department that handles the secondary scenes, such as background scenes, inserts or scenery.
- This person reports to the art director and PD who hire a set constructor to bring their combined visions to life. Set construction is in charge of maintaining the integrity of the structures built by the construction department.
- This person adds to a set by furnishing it. Anything from a lamp to a blanket to an eating utensil to a car or a pet, the set dresser adds in the smaller elements of a set that put the finishing touches on the entire vision of the art department.
- This person paints the backdrops of a set. This person reports to the PD and has a keen artistic eye and skillset, usually with a specific art background.
- This person creates signage needed for a set. A sign writer is hired by the PD.
- This person assists the sound mixer and boom mic operator with whatever they need on set. The sound assistant is in charge of keeping track of all equipment such as microphones and batteries. On larger productions, a sound assistant can be utilized to run a second boom microphone.
- This person is in charge of the sound of the film. They come up with their own vision for the sound of the film in support of the overall vision of the director. They often supervise the entire post sound production process.
- This person creates the soundtrack by synching and editing the visuals and sound elements together. A sound editor works under the sound designer to realize their vision. A sound editor has to work with production sound, wild lines, dialogue, foley and library sound to create the final soundtrack.
- This person is responsible to record the sound on set.
- This person creates special effects in a film in post-production. A special effects artist reports to the special effects supervisor.
- This person provides special effects editing in post-production and reports to the special effects supervisor.
- This person is a highly specialized camera operator who has a deft hand and can carry heavy weight. A steadicam operator handles the steady cam which is usually strapped to their body via a shoulder rig.
- This person is heavily involved in 3d productions. A stereographer focuses on the relationship between interaxial, convergence and focal length.
- This person documents the making of a film through stills. The stills photographer provides photos that are used for publicity and marketing. A stills photographer is there to capture candid moments as a fly-on-the-wall view of the production. They are also sometimes asked to set up studio shots of the principal cast.
- This person takes a screenplay and illustrates the characters into what looks like a comic book. This helps the director visualize the characters that the actors will be playing. This also serves as a guide for the art department when creating an overall vision for the film.
- This person organizes and arranges for all the stunts in the film. The stunt coordinator provides stunt choreography as well.
- This person provides any stunt driving that is needed in the film.
- This person helps with directing or stopping traffic while crew and other cars are entering or exiting set.
- This person transcribes exactly what was said in the scenes that were shot.
- This person is a key transportation manager that is assigned by the transportation coordinator to take cast and crew from basecamp to set.
- This person oversees all transportation needed for the film. They employ personnel as needed to assist with transportation management.
- This person reports to the transportation coordinator and transports various people involved with the production to and from set. A transportation manager will help with organizing and planning transportation needs as well.
- This person book and manages all travel related to the film for each department. This includes local travel planning as well.
- This is an executive who runs a particular unit on a film and is hired by a senior producer. A unit manager can only work on one film at a time.
- This person helps by filling in the gaps, running errands, grabbing gear or performing any manual tasks that are needed by any department.
- This person reports to the VFX Supervisor and mans the visual effects of specific scenes and sequences. This person is also responsible for FTP and shipping of the final cut of the film.
- This person is responsible for the overall visual effects of the film. They are on set making sure everything visually looks good and is prepped for finishing in post production. They hire visual effects artists such as matte painters and rotoscope artists to add in what is needed in post to alter the original footage. A VFX Supervisor is in charge of staying on budget and on time for delivering the visual effects of a film.
- This person is an actor that provides a voice that is not recorded as dialogue on camera. Voiceover is often used as a narrative guide throughout the script, sometimes planned and other times added in later for story clarification.
- This person creates the story that is shot in production through screenwriting. The writer works with the development executive to fine tune the overall story and then executes the writing of the script in specific screenwriting software. The writer is often asked to do rewrites and is often expected to be on set throughout production for last minute changes and consultations.
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Staff Engineer - Blown Film Extrusion Technology
Burt's Bees, Amherst, VA
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