Television is experiencing a rebirth and the baby is even bigger than the first time around. For a long time, TV was the less favored sibling to the big screen, film. But now when Martin Scorsese, David Fincher and Guillermo del Toro are jumping on the series bandwagon, you can be rest assured that's where the bulk of content is getting pumped out. And where there's content, there are jobs.
YouTube finally acknowledged its plans to launch a new cable content platform, Unplugged, which aims to offer users bundled packages of different cable channels over the internet. YouTube claims ownership to 67% of all internet users and has confirmed that they are making Unplugged a priority. YouTube's Unplugged comes on the heels of its first paid subscription service YouTube Red. The video platform's growing presence in content traditionally made for network and cable services speaks to how TV is simply turning into digital content. Hulu boasts over 9 million paid users, HBO's streaming service already has amassed close to 900K in addition to its cable network's 500 million and the Godfather of digital content Netflix enjoys a subscribership of over 70 million.
So now that we know that "television," is not going away and adapting to the current climate of content, what's it like to work in it? Well, that part hasn't changed so drastically. And working in television is truly an environment for extroverts who thrive in collaboration.
Unlike film, there is a lot of time. A lot of it. Film tries to make time exist that doesn't and television can at times feel like the clock is endless. That's not to imply that television production jobs are not full of long days and intensity. The writing in television is much faster because the writing staff has to keep up with production. In film, production doesn't happen until the writing is finished (for the most part.) However, working in television is often referred to as working a "real job" with "real office hours," as opposed to the insane schedule film can pack in within a month. Just remember, TV office hours can be long office hours.
Television is a stickler for format, tone, and structure in ways that a film, play or live event doesn't have to be. As an audience is with television characters for upwards of 10 to 12 hours a season, the team creating them has to ensure that the story they are building can live for multiple seasons and be indistinguishable from any other show.
Positions in television also can vastly differ from the same role in film. For example, a script supervisor (scripty) on a film is in charge of continuity and eye lines but a scripty on a TV show is responsible for building scripts to a format that best suits the director. Speaking of the director, there is quite a different hierarchy in television. In film production, the director is at the helm of everything creative and is working in conjunction with the producers who are manning the business of it all. In television, the person in charge is the showrunner. That person runs the writers' room and calls the creative shots. It's the showrunner's vision that everyone else is trying to support.
Traditionally in television, directors are brought in to handle individual episodes but most of the time won't be making any big structural changes. However, with the explosion of single camera content, television directing is becoming more like film directing. For multi-camera shows, the director is mainly in charge of the control room and the crew working within it.
In general, you can look at a film roster and know that similar roles are needed in television. Just like film, there's pre-production, production and post-production.
In pre-production, producers, associate producers, line producers, the showrunner and writing team are all in prep for the upcoming season. An average salary for a television producer is usually comparable to film, around $65K, according to Glass Door. Associate producers in television make on average $55K and producers making on average $75K. Television writers make between $55K and $157 a year depending on the number of guaranteed weeks.
Along with that above-the-line department of course, there are all the below-the-line roles that help build the world and characters the show will revolve around. Salaries are pretty comparable to film in regard to these roles.
Production is where things can look and feel quite different from film. Most television content is filmed on stages and studio lots, particularly when there's a home base that the characters live in or work in. For live audiences, that's also quite a different feeling than a film that is shot in a more closed off environment where auteurs privately toil on their craft.
But there's a big shift in television that is making it seem and feel more like film. More television shows are being shot on location and are being treated like a very long film. Netflix's Stranger Things is often referenced as one long feature broken up into an episodic series.
The types of scripted television shows you could be working in are: serials, shows to be watched as a series such as Game of Thrones, procedurals, self contained episodes within a series such as Law and Order, single camera, utilizing similar techniques camera wise as in film, and multi-camera, usually in a studio and how so many of our sitcoms of yesteryear were shot. NBC's The Carmichael Show and CBS' Mom are examples of modern multi-cam comedy.
Reality shows, live news, late night, morning shows, and talk shows are examples of unscripted television content you could be working in. Reality shows are shot more like single camera narrative shows. All the live shows mentioned, minus news programs, are generally shot in front of a studio audience in a multi-camera format, to capture all those angles we're used to seeing.
The best and potentially worst part of television is that unless an abrupt cancellation happens, you can be ensured work for years to come. If television is a relationship, it's a long marriage. But there's so much of it out there, you can most likely find a second and third spouse if the first one doesn't work out.
Here's a breakdown of specific roles in television production:ADR Recordist
- ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement) is often referred to as looping or dubbing.
- 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 television episode. 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 the home base of a news or magazine style program. An anchor
- This person is in charge of all animal actors and trains these actors to perform on cue for a television show.
- This person oversees all of the art department on a television series which means working right under the art director and production designer, they execute and ensure the visual artistry in the series, 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 television series and manage what is often one of the largest divisions of a television show. They manage the execution of the production designer's vision for sets and locations that serve the overall vision of the television series 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 shoot. The AD then takes all this information to then create a shooting schedule for that episode's 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 individual episode so that episode can be edited. They are often responsible for laying down the rough timeline of that episode 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 television series. Responsibilities can include writing, editing, script organization, and assisting the editor with smaller editorial choices.
- 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 operates the computerized system that follows an anchor's voice as they read information off the teleprompter. The program speeds up or slows down depending on the pace of the anchor.
- 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 serves as a television or radio's audio, electrical and computer engineer. This engineering is tantamount to the technical side of broadcasting a program. This engineer works with the studio end of broadcasting and the transmitting part of broadcasting. The broadcast engineer oversees broadcast automation systems for the studio and automatic transmission systems for the transmitter plant. This person is also responsible for the radio towers, including lighting and painting.
- This person is the legal representative and advisor of the network that the television series airs on. This person handles the negotiating of deal points with the talent being hired by the network.
- 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.
- This person does exactly what the job title suggests, operates the camera. This can be a digital camera or on a studio camera. In television, this is determined by whether the show is considered a multi-cam or single-cam show. For a multi-cam show, the camera operator will be on a studio camera, generally following a specific camera script, meaning a predetermined shot list. For a single-cam show, the camera operator executes the camera very similarly to the way they would on a film: operating the camera in whatever location the crew is shooting at.
- This person supports the casting director in selecting all speaking roles on a television episode 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 television series.
- 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 television series, 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 television series in regard to casting.
- This person communicates with various talent agencies in order to get referrals for roles in an upcoming television episode.
- This person provides the big meals on a television 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 television production. The other snacks on a television set are usually provided by craft service.
- This person handles the booking and contracts of specific celebrities that are appearing in a television program. The celebrity booker follows trends to stay on top of who are the best options of celebrities to book.
- 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 is a writer with upper level status in a writers' room of a television series. Some shows have more than one co-e.p., but there's usually one that the showrunner goes to be the second in command. This selected co-e.p. would run the writers' room in the showrunner's absence.
- This person provides the color of the television episode, in realizing the overall vision of the director and showrunner. This part of the process happens in post-production once the editor and assistant editors have locked down the timeline of the television episode.
- This person writes the music of the television episode 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 television series its visual backbone. The concept artist sketches images that reflect the ideas discussed for the television series and often has to re-sketch new ideas on short deadlines.
- This person oversees the construction of sets and stages for a television series. They report to the production designer and provides 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 a senior level writer in a television writers' room. Although producer is in the title, a co-producer is mostly writing and contributing ideas on a television series.
- This person is in charge of costuming a television episode. In pre-production, the costume designer works with the showrunner and producers in planning the overall look of the costuming as part of the overall vision of the series. If the series 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 series' 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 television series.
- 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 television series.
- This person transfers the 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 original writer, sometimes show creator of the television series. They push the concept at pre-production, looking to persuade interested studios and networks to purchase the concept and series. They are often responsible for securing the rights on the series.
- 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 television episode. They provide color correction, image manipulation, production continuity, troubleshooting and overall assisting in the shooting of the television episode.
- This person directs individual episodes of a television series. The director works with the showrunner to bring the showrunner's vision of the overall series to the individual episode they are directing. Sometimes, the showrunner also directs several episodes of a series. The director of a live show or news program is running the control room to ensure all cameras and crew are executing a carefully planned orchestration.
- 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 showrunner 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.
- More commonly referred to as a re-recording mixer, this person is responsible for the final soundtrack of a television episode 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 television episode 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 a television series eventually 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 works on news programs and is the point person for a story on location, not in the studio. The field director oversees how the story, that is either just breaking or on-going, will be covered. This person works with the crew and reporter to execute the story.
- This person works on a news story that is in the field, meaning not in the studio. The producer helps secure interviews, footage and assists the reporter and field director with the overall story. The field producer will do research, log video and help the reporter write the copy of the story. Occasionally, the field producer will conduct interviews for the reporter.
- This person assembles all the footage/data of the television series 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 episode in a way that honors the overall vision of the showrunner. Editors report to the showrunner and producers in post production.
- This person is usually a grip who handles and is in charge of electrical equipment on the television set.
- This person is sometimes the showrunner and often is a creator of the overall television series. The executive producer is atop the food chain of the writers' room and if they are not the showrunner, they are collaborating directly with the showrunner, responsible for the execution and completion of the entire series.
- This person is a mid-level television writer in the writers' room. This person is usually in their third or fourth year of writing for a television show.
- This person helps with logistical needs such as accommodations, permits, crews, equipment and talent when a television episode is being shot abroad.
- This person creates the sounds you hear of a television episode 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 television episode to support the overall vision of the showrunner. 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 series.
- 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 television episode 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 television episode by analyzing the script. The LD works with the showrunner, director, set designer and art director to achieve the right interpretation of the story through lighting.
- This person is brought onto a television series to analyze and monitor the budget 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.
- Also known as the LTD, this person comes up with the lighting design for multi-cam television productions. The LTD oversees the crew of electricians and assists the LD with managing their team in the lighting gallery. Ultimately, the LTD is there to support the director in lighting the show in support of the overall vision of the showrunner.
- 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 television series. 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 television episode 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 television series 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.
- 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 reports to the marketing director mostly in an administrative role. This person helps with the overall marketing strategy of the television series. The marketing assistant is often scheduling meetings, researching target markets, and following television ratings. Sometimes television shows have network tests with a focus group to test a sample audience's reaction to the content.
- This person will devise a marketing campaign for the television series. This includes event planning, public relations, strategizing associated products, sponsorships and market research. The marketing executive may run a focus group to test a sample audience's reaction to a television pilot. This can factor into the studio and network's decision to order a pilot to series.
- 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 a television episode. 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 is a director who executes individual episodes of a television series in a studio with multiple studio cameras shooting for footage. Usually there are three cameras that shoot simultaneously to get adequate coverage of a scene that is being shot. A multi-cam director gets multiple shots at once with this setup, often avoiding tons of takes which can happen frequently on single-cam shows. News shows, talk shows (morning and late night,) and soap operas are usually multi-cam shows.
- This person assists the editor in realizing their vision of the television series through music. The music editor works under the composer and the showrunner to achieve a specific musical tone throughout the series. 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 television series. The musical arranger assists the composer in arranging all the voices and instruments of the score.
- This person manages the news gallery while the program is being broadcast. This director runs the control room, yelling for which camera angle to execute, calls for incoming video, decides when to roll graphics and when to cut to a guest. The news director can be considered a conductor or quarterback of the control room to ensure the program runs smoothly.
- This person is responsible for the tapes of a news broadcast. The news tape editor also oversees network feeds, archives and coordinates a live feed from a satellite truck or bureau to the studio. A news tape editor often has to edit tape on the spot so she/he has to be good at editing and fast. This person generally reports to the producers and news director of the news program.
- This person is responsible for the newscast in entirety. The news producer oversees the collecting of footage, follows breaking stories, tracks reporter packages, vo stories, and the graphics that accompany them. The news producer oversees the rundown which is the schedule of the stories in a news program. This person usually has a newscast meeting (either in the morning or night depending on the program) many hours before going live to assign stories to various producers, reporters, and editors. This is the assembling of the rundown.
- Television shows, 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.
- Television shows 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 showrunner, 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 television series.
- This person oversees scheduling of post-production on a television series, coordinating elements such as ADR, coloring, sound design to ensure the final delivery of each episode of the series. This person is also in charge of paperwork such as accounting and post-production forms with technical specs for the final version of each episode of the series. The post-production coordinator handles the storage of the series, offline editorial elements and the master audio files. 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 episode of the series 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 accounting.
- This person is there to handle the business side of television producing so the showrunner and director can focus on the creative. Editing scripts, researching new episode ideas and securing rights for a television series are some of the possible duties of a series producer.
- This person manages the finances and accounting of the television series during production. They oversee payroll, scheduling and financial reporting related to the series. 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 television series. 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 television series. The production manager decides how the budget is spent.
- This person handles the sound recording of the television series, 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 television series. They have to work with the showrunner, director and art department to ensure they are adding all the necessary items to fulfill the showrunner's vision of the series, while doing in on budget. Much like makeup, wardrobe and set design, props need to reflect visually the set time period of the series.
- This person is responsible for individual stories in a news, magazine style or documentary program. The reporter tracks, researches and develops an angle on a news story. They are responsible for collecting sources and verifying them. The reporter conducts interviews with on-air guests and speaks the vo-copy associated with the story. A reporter package is usually about two minutes in length and includes vo, sound bytes (SOTs,) on-air interviews, a reporter standup and b-roll to put under the vo. If a reporter is live on the scene, they are generally doing a quick standup and live interviews.
- 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 television series. 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 of each episode. The scripty on a television series is responsible to structure each episode to best guide the director of that episode on how to shoot it.
- 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 on single-cam shows.
- This person is responsible for one segment of a multi-segment production. In a news magazine style program (ie. 60 Minutes) that has a few stories in the program, that segment producer would be responsible for one of those stories.
- 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 is exactly what the title suggests, the runner of the show. On a television series, the showrunner is often the creator of the show and oversees all of production to ensure their vision comes to life. The showrunner manages the writers' room, directing the various tiers of writers week after week to create an episode that fits into the overall vision of the series. The showrunner is highly involved in the hiring of the writing staff and other key creative positions.
- 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 television series. They come up with their own vision for the sound of the series in support of the overall vision of the showrunner. 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 television episode 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 the lowest level writer in a writers' room. It's usually their first year writing on that show. A staff writer often doesn't get to write an episode in their first year of being on staff and usually is not credited. A staff writer contributes the least vocally in the room and is mostly taking everything in to support as needed.
- 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 television series 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 television series.
- This person is a writer usually in their second year. They are the next level up from a staff writer and contribute to episode ideas and write an episode of the series.
- This person organizes and arranges for all the stunts in the television episode. The stunt coordinator provides stunt choreography as well.
- This person provides any stunt driving that is needed in the television episode.
- This person in television is a senior level staffed writer who also has producing power and is credited that way. The showrunner and co-executive producers often lean on the supervising producer because of their experience and seniority.
- 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 television episode. 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 television series for each department. This includes local travel planning as well.
- This is an executive who runs a particular unit on a single-cam television show and is hired by a senior producer. A unit manager can only work on one show 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 each episode of the series.
- This person is responsible for the overall visual effects of the television series. 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 television series.
- 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 is part of a team of writers that meets every week to create each episode of the series. Usually the writers in the room, under the helm of the showrunner, discuss each episode for hours and hours, throwing out idea after idea until something sticks. Then a specific writer or small team of writers are assigned to write that individual episode, starting with an outline. Once the network and showrunner approve the outline, the writer or writers can then go ahead and execute the individual episode. A television writer has to be skilled at collaborating as most of the episode breakdown happens in the room.
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