Production Crew from A to Z

Production Crew from A to Z

photo of atlanta film crew

Best Boy, AD, AC. You’ve seen the names come up at the end of the credits on every feature film. Who are they? What do they do? Here is our A to Z guide of film and video crew, who they are and what they do.

Accountant: This title is exactly the way it sounds. The huge expenses and huge amounts of money entailed in the production of a film all go through this person’s hands. He or she receives all bills and makes all payments for all production costs and can thus keep track of a picture’s financial progress, staying silent if its good, or letting the producer know if its bad, like $10 million over budget bad.

Art Director: 1. The Art director is second in charge of the Art Department after the Production Designer. The Art Department looks after ‘the look’ of the film, which includes sets, costumes, make-up, props, locations, construction, etc.   2. The designer of a film set, who has a major role in the overall look and presentation of a film.  3. The Art Director is responsible for creating and maintaining the overall photographic consistency of the art elements connected with the production, such including the design, construction and coloration of the sets and props as well as the main and end titles on the finished picture. The Art Director works closely and in cooperation with the Director and is responsible to the Producer or the Producer’s designee.

Assistant Director: Contrary to the title, this position does not entail offering artistic tips to the director, or serving as a director in training. The assistant director’s job is to make sure everything runs like clockwork (hopefully). He keeps track of all of the day to day problems so that the director can focus on the artistic aspects of the film. This includes but is not limited to, giving all units (i.e. makeup and wardrobe) adequate heads up so they can be alert when needed, notifying stars when they’re needed, making sure lunch is called at the right time, and commanding large groups of extras during crowd scenes so that the director can focus on the leads. Assisting the A.D. is the 2nd A.D. who basically handles all the mechanical tasks, like writing daily reports or running to get script supervisor notes, etc. for the assistant director.

Assistant to the Producer: The Assistant to the Producer is the Producer’s main assistant who assists in the performance of his or her duties. Although the Producer may have additional secretaries, the Assistant to the Producer assigns and supervises all Production Assistants in the absence of the Producer.

Associate Producer: 1. An Associate Producer performs one or more producer functions delegated to him/her by a producer, under the supervision of such producer. 2. A title given to a person who has made a major contribution to the production. It could be a financier, production manager, writer, post-production supervisor, actor, etc.  Second in charge of production. The person who takes part of the producer responsibility, both creatively and administratively.

Audio Recorder: Is responsible to the Technical Director for the selection, pick up and set up of the audio equipment necessary to do the production. An Audio Director may act as a central coordinating person if there are multiple sound elements involved with the production, i.e., house sound, band sound, video tape sound. The Audio Recorder then becomes Audio Dir.

B

Best Boy: 1. The assistant chief lighting technician or the assistant to the key grip.   2. One of the interesting credits that no one can ever quite discern the true purpose of, the best boy is actually the lead assistant electrician who answers directly to the Gaffer. 3. The Best Boy/Girl is the second in charge of the electrics department, and works under the supervision of the Gaffer.  4. Also known as Assistant Chief Lighting Technician, this is the chief assistant, often of the gaffer, but sometimes used as a general term for the second in command of a group. They are sometimes responsible for the menial lighting tasks such as placing reflectors and flags at their proper place for filming, but their job often consists of ordering parts and expendables. They work closely with gaffers.  5. The Best Boy helps the Gaffer. He runs and plugs in electrical cables. He keeps all wires neat and coils them up when necessary. He wears gloves to move hot lights.

Boom Operator: 1. Working under the Sound Recorder, the Boom Operator is responsible for positioning the microphone during the take to get optimum sound quality. They get their name from the long “boom” pole on which they often mount the microphone.  2. The individual responsible for operating the boom on which a microphone is placed. On the boom, the microphone can dangle above the actor’s picking up any dialog while still remaining out of the cameras view.  3. The Boomman is responsible for handling the boom or fishpole in a manner that gives the microphone optimum placement for recording dialogue, effects or music, as the case may be. The boomman reports to the Production Mixer.

C

Cable Operator: This crew member is responsible for the handling of all sound-related cables. The Cable Operator has to lay the cables, tape the cables, and drag the cables to follow the camera.

Cameraman (a.k.a. Director of photography, Cinematographer, Camera Operator): 1. Don’t be fooled by the name, the cameraman is not merely a person with a camera under direction of the director. Though he takes his artistic cues from the director, is extremely important and influential because he or she is the one who listens to the director’s view of the scene as it appears in their mind’s eye and correlating that into the actual image that is filmed. Put simply, the director has the general vision, the cinematographer transfers that into f-stops, focal lengths, and filters.  2. The Camera Operator does exactly what the title suggests – operate the camera. The director also works very closely with the Camera Operator to ensure that their vision is captured on film in the desired way. Although they rarely get any glory, the Camera Operator is one of a select few in a film production who are directly responsible for what you see on screen. Because of the requirements of this relationship, good camera operators often work for the same director and/or cinematographer on all of their films.  3. This individual is responsible for rolling the cameras and stopping them on the director’s cue.  4. Smoothly and efficiently operates a camera during the production and keep the frame composed properly. In video production, wears a headset which is connected to the Director.  He is responsible to the Director of Photography for the smooth panning and tilting of the camera and keeping shots framed and composes as required by the DP. Has the authority to reject any shot that has faulty camera movement, focus, composition or any unwanted encroachment in the frame by a person, thing or effect.

Cast: This title refers not only to the lead stars but also to the supporting and extra roles. More than any other role, these people are the movie and stand to lose the most if things go poorly.

Casting Director: 1. This is the person in charge of choosing a great many of the people who will appear onscreen.  The casting director must choose the proper actors and actresses for the multitude of roles. As a rule, the casting director must be very familiar with the performer databases from the agencies and be able to draw up a compact list of quality performers who can fit a roles required, be it a major supporting part or pizza boy extras.  2. The person who organizes the casting for the film. They arrange interviews and auditions, sometimes negotiate fees, and will work closely with the producer and director to help them find the right talent for the role.  3. Individual in charge of the casting process where actors are reviewed to see if they match the character description of a particular character in a motion picture’s script.  4. The Casting Director is hired by the Producer and/or Director to assist in the casting of the picture and cooperates and works for the director.

Clapper / Loader: 1. The Clapper/Loader works in the camera department under the Director of Photography. They are mainly responsible for operating the slate (or clapper) which is used to sync sound to image in the post-production of a film. They are also responsible for loading and unloading the film magazines. (E)  2. The individual responsible for loading a camera with a new roll of film as needed or requested. (F)

Composer: 1. Creates original works for the underscore of the show.  2. Though it is not uncommon to assemble a soundtrack from popular artists (usually popular artists who are affiliated with labels owned by the studio or the studio’s parent corporation), it is much more common to create a unique musical score for the movie. The score can liven up dull scenes, heighten dramatic ones, and otherwise enhance the movie. The composer is thus an extremely important part in completing the final package. The composer creates music that fits the production exactly using notes from the script and then later playing it with an orchestra (or band) to be dubbed onto the final reel of the film.

Concept Artist: Individual responsible for creating conceptual drawings and/or paintings based on ideas or the script of a film. These drawings help the director, producer, and other members of the creative aspects of the film conceptualize the film and decide what looks best. (F)

Construction Crew: Sets don’t build themselves (at least not yet) and thus require the skills of experienced work crews, as unfortunately interns do not fare well in the arena. The construction crew by comparison to the other aspects of the production crew of a film is relatively normal, however, without them any production is halted. They are essential to creating the best working environment, and have the skills necessary to create the real looking fakeness that shows demand that other crews are not experienced in.

Coordinating Producer: A Coordinating Producer coordinates the work of two or more individual producers working separately on single or multiple productions in order to achieve a unified end result.

Co-Producer: 1. Co-Producers are two or more functioning producers who perform jointly or cumulatively all of the producer functions as a team or group. (B)  2. It could mean what it implies or it could mean anything. It seems to be between the credit of Line Producer and Producer. It may be shared producer responsibility.

Costume Designer: The person who conceives and draws designs for the costumes to be worn by the actors. The sketches are most often done in color after a careful study of the script. Approval must be received from the producer, director, and the art director.

Creative Director: The Creative Director is in charge of creating or causing to be created all advertisements for the company and its products. This includes anything as small as calling cards up to national sales campaigns for features.

Creator: The program’s father.  All things pass through him/her.

D

Director: 1. In charge of all the action.  Calls camera shots, sets up blocking, etc.  2. The person responsible for taking the written word and transferring it into moving image. Though the producer is capable of overriding the director should the need arise, the director holds the reigns of the production and as the composer of the image that will appear on the screen holds a great deal of power in all decision making processes that affect the final image.  3. The Director is the person responsible for the creative vision of the film – getting a movie from script to screen. They work closely with the Director of Photography, Production Designer, and Editor to define the look of the film, and are responsible for selecting the cast and getting the performance desired. Although the Director is largely in control of the moving the film forward, the Producer will always have the final say on a film production.  4. The artist/craftsman/executive who translates the script to the screen image by working with the actors and the camera. He or she directs all the creative personnel on the set.

Director of Photography: 1. Head camera operator and in charge of all the others.  2. The Director Of Photography is responsible for the cinematic look of the film – the lighting, the type of film/lenses used, etc, and also for getting the image on film. Often abbreviated to DP (in the USA/Canada) or DOP (In UK/Australia).  3. This is the person in charge of lighting a set and photographing a film. Also known as “first cameraman,” he is expected to transform the screenwriter’s and director’s concepts into visual images. Often referred to as the “DP” by the film crew.  4. The DP, as he is usually called, is responsible for selecting all camera equipment for the production and liaising with the Technical Director. The DP decides what lights and related camera equipment are needed and procures these. The DP is in charge of the photographic quality of the show and heads up a crew. He is responsible to the Director.

Director of Public Relations: The Director of Public Relations is the Head Publicist of the company who supervises and coordinates the work of publicists in the performance of their duties. He or she works in cooperation with the Creative Director and Producers to ensure all publicity and advertisements are accurate and consistent and the company maintains good public relations.

Dolly Grip: The grip responsible for laying dolly tracks, which is the railing that guides the camera in tracking shots.

E

Editor: 1. Takes all the raw footage and creates a masterpiece by piecing together the show, frame by frame.  2. Once the production ends there are only five or so people involved in the film. The producer, the director, and the editor and his assistants. The editor, like any of the other creative forces in the movie plays a vital role in its projection. The editor is extremely important because he or she has the skills unlike any other member of the production team to solve the last few problems. An editor can turn a slow scene into a fast one, make a dull one more interesting with different perspectives, and any number of other tricks. They are extremely important in ensuring that the hard work of production gets the polish it deserves.  3. The individual who decides what scenes and takes are to be used, how, when, and in what sequence, and for how long they will appear.  4. Assembles the daily footage in accordance with the story (script) and the director’s input. Supervises Assistant Editors as they perform their functions.

Executive Consultant: Usually a big wig in the network or production company that oversees production and gives advice sometimes.

Executive Producer: 1. An Executive Producer supervises, either on his own authority (entrepreneur executive producer) or subject to the authority of an employer (employee executive producer) one or more producers in the performance of all of his/her/their producer functions on single or multiple productions. In television, an Executive Producer may also be the Creator/Writer of a series.  2. Usually the person who has arranged finance for the film. The title is also used for star’s agents, people who finalize pre-sales, rather important contributors to the production – anyone really.

F

First Assistant Cameraman: The First Assistant Cameraman is responsible for keeping the camera reports, loading and unloading the camera and assisting the Operator.

First Assistant Director: 1. Direct assistant to the director.  Fields all questions and comments for the director and only bothers him/her with ones that cannot be dealt with any other way.  2. A.k.a. 1st AD. The person who organizes the crew to the best advantage for filming. They say things like “quiet please” and “turn over”. They will act as floor manager or stage manager and efficiently draw together the necessary elements for shooting. The 1st AD usually designs and controls the shooting schedule and generally liaisons between the production office and the set.  3. A high-powered production assistant and right-hand man of the Director. The First Assistant Director reviews the requirements of the script for the Director, and generally aids and expedites any and all the Director’s administrative and/or organizational functions.

Floor Manager: The Floor Manager helps the Director cue the Talent and Actors. He is out on the floor of the filming set with a headset intercom on. The Director gives instructions to any and all audience, staff, crew, talent or actors on the set through him.

Foley Artist: 1. A Foley Artist is a person who creates sound effects for the post-production of the film. They beat drums, throw themselves on the floor, walk on gravel, etc to record the right effect as required by the director and sound supervisor.  2. The individual responsible for creating sound effects to be used in a film in a controlled environment. A foley artist can get very creative in his/her search for what makes the perfect sound to achieve a particular effect. For example, most punching sounds heard are often a few stalks of celery wrapped in a wet cloth, which is placed on a leather cushion and smacked with a stick.

G

Gaffer: 1. The chief lighting technician for a production who is in charge of the electrical department.  2. To tell you the truth I have no idea where the title gaffer comes from, but it refers to the position of head electrician. The gaffer confers directly with the cameraman to learn what the lighting should achieve and translates that into the actual laying electrical lines and setting up heads, just as the cameraman learned from the director what the mood of the scene should be and translated it into lighting.  3. The Gaffer is the head electrician on set, supervised by the Director of Photography. They will arrange the lighting and electrical requirements on set as needed, and supervise the other electricians.  4. The boss grip or Chief Lighting Technician. Works directly with the Director of Photography and is in charge of all of the electricians (the people who place the lights).  5. If it has an electrical cord on it, the Gaffer handles it. The Gaffer is responsible for the Director of Photography and handles all the lighting set-ups. He causes the lights to be picked up and returned.

Grip: 1. Perhaps only more mysterious than the gaffer is the grip. The grip, unlike the name suggests, is a specialized carpenter. A grip is versed in the processes of laying dolly track, building a platform, other skills needed on a set that standard carpenters cannot perform due to lack of experience and speed. Speed is always important.  2. A grip is a person who works on set with all of the camera support equipment. They organize camera mounts when the director wants the camera on the side of a moving car, they move dollies, cranes, lay tracks and generally make it possible for the director to put the camera in more places than just on a tripod. A Key Grip is the person in charge, and reports to the Director of Photography.  3. A handyman who is considered the set’s equivalent to the stagehand of the theater. He performs tasks that generally require physical strength.  4. Assists the Key Grip in his duties.

H

Hair Supervisor: Individual in charge of any hair styling applied to an actor.

K

Key Grip: 1. The chief grip who works directly with the gaffer in creating shadow effects for set lighting and who supervises camera cranes, dollies and other platforms or supporting structures according to the requirements of the director of photography.  2. The head grip on a film set, who is in charge of the group of electricians, which usually numbers from five to fifteen. Sometimes the Key-Grip’s responsibilities include looking after the physical integrity of the structures built by the construction department. Budgeting, tracking costs, and generating reports are occasional concerns of the Key Grip.  3. Assists the DP and expedites the lighting procedures. He also assists personnel of other departments in the loading and unloading of their equipment. He assists the personnel in the sound, wardrobe, camera, electrical and props departments without actually running such equipment.

L

Line Producer: 1. A Line Producer performs the Producer functions involved in supervising the physical aspects of the making of a motion picture or television production where the creative decision-making process is reserved to others, except to such extent as the Line Producer is permitted to participate.  2. The person who takes responsibility for the production of the film. Line producers are generally employed just before pre-production and complete their work at the answer print stage.  3. The Line Producer is the producer who is intimately familiar with the nuts and bolts of production. He or she is brought onto the project by the agreement of the Packaging and the Executive Producer. The Line Producer works with the Unit Production Manager, First Assistant Director, Director, Art Director, Editor and Composer in preparing the budget and production schedule and all final budgets and schedules have to be approved by the Line Producer. The Line producer is intimately familiar with all of the below-the-line elements and (and the most cost efficient people and places from which he can procure these “elements”) He is responsible for supervising the production on a day to day basis making sure the production targets are met.

Location Manager: 1. Picked by the production manager due to his extensive pictorial files on a wide range of sites, the location manager is the person responsible for directing the production heads to these sites for review. After preliminarily looking at a few possible locations, the location manager, along with the production manager, the director, producer, and cinematographer scout these locations to determine their appropriateness to the film and production viability.  2. A location manager is the person who is responsible for a wide range of tasks when a film crew is shooting on location. On small projects, the Production Manager or even the Producer would take this role, but on large films, a good location manager is an essential member of the team.  Location Managers do things like arrange access to buildings, sort out parking facilities, supervise the deployment of the crew equipment and generally liaise with the location owner to ensure that the location is fully usable by the crew and is not destroyed during the filming process.  3. The person who scouts for the location to shoot at.  4. The Location Manager is responsible to the Unit Production Manager and works with the Art Director in finding and arranging for unique locations in which the production requirements may be fulfilled within the limitations of the budget. This is done in cooperation with the Unit Production Manager (who is only interested in the cost and logistics of the location) and the Director, who must ultimately approve the location(s) to be used. In the event the Director is not able to survey a location, the Art Director is charged with the responsibility of approving such location in accordance with the overall artistic design of the picture.

Location Scout: 1. A location scout is a person that reads the script for a film and goes about finding appropriate locations for shooting. Scouting locations may be a simple as doing local reconnaissance or be as complex as tripping all over the world in the search for the perfect location. Budget will of course dictate how much work a location scout will do.  In addition to finding locations with the right ‘look’ a location scout must also find locations that a feasible for a film crew to use. A beautiful desert location may look good, but if it is hundreds a miles from civilization, it could be no good to the logistics of a film shoot. Similarly, a beautiful castle may be right for the film, but if it is located next to an airport or motorway, then sound is going to be a problem. Location scouts must consider a wide range of issues when choosing a film location.  The best way to employ a location scout is to use one of the many companies that specialize in this field. These companies already have many resources at their disposal and can often recommend suitable locations without having to send someone there.  2. The Scout physically goes out to various candidate locations to bring back information as to their availability, cost, etc.

M

Make-up Artist: 1. Puts make up on all the actors to make them screen ready; touches up when needed. 2. It is said that one of the best ways to make someone look dead on a theatre stage is to not put any make-up on them. It is very similar in film. The set is so lit up and colored that the human face simply looks washed out in comparison. As a result, make-up artists are required to turn the normal human skin tones into something worthy of the screen. They also can hide natural blemishes or enhance particular aspects of a performer’s face that either the scene requires or the performer requests. In addition, they are responsible for the special effects make-up, which results in the 4 hour marathon sessions that performers on sci-fi sets are always loathing.  3. Individual in charge of any make-up applied to either an actor’s face or to a puppet. The actor or puppet is generally made-up before filming, but during filming, sometimes the make-up wears off and new make-up must be applied on location.  4. Does the make up for the on-screen talent and is responsible to Art Director.

Model Maker: One of the most important elements of a production is continuity. If the audience is not aware of what is going on in the film, it is often difficult to maintain interest. One aspect of continuity that needs to be maintained is spatial orientation. In a house it’s easy for the audience to discern the orientations between scenes. It’s got an upstairs and a downstairs and this room logically leads to that room, etc. In more complex settings though, such as a giant space station or a setting similarly outside of the audience’s realm of experience, it is often necessary for the production crew to have a good idea of orientations themselves. With models rendered by the model maker it becomes easier to arrange the picture so that exits and entrances and so on seem to happen in a coherent fashion.

P

Post-Production Sound Mixer: Post-production sound is quite a complicated job entailing the task of condensing as much as 100 different tracks into the 2-4 that will printed with the film. The post-production sound team must fix problems with dialogue (hopefully there are few), add in sound effects to complete scenes (such as adding in the sound of thunder to a scene that was not present during filming so that actors could be heard clearly), as well as create Foley, or sound effects. One such example of this is the laser gun blasts from Star Wars, which were in actuality, a Foley editor tapping on a taut wire with a microphone very close. This team must then balance all of these sounds in addition to adding in the score making sure that all important elements can be heard and registered by the audience but that no single element is too dominant.

Post-Production Supervisor: The post-production supervisor is the person who oversees the entire post-production schedule. They usually report to the Producer and a responsible looking after the technical aspects of the process (film processing, sound, CGI, etc) as well as keeping track of budgets and expenditure during this period.

Producer: 1. A Producer initiates, coordinates, supervises and controls, either on his own authority, or subject to the authority of an employer, all aspects of the motion-picture and/or television production process, including creative, financial, technological and administrative. A Producer is involved throughout all phases of production from inception to completion, including coordination, supervision and control of all other talents and crafts, subject to the provisions of their collective bargaining agreements and personal service contracts.  2. The person responsible for the film from concept to maximization of revenue. The person in authority to make artistic and financial decisions.  3. The executive who packages the project and supervises the production of the film from conception to distribution. Usually reports to the Executive Producer.

Production Assistant: 1. A.k.a. PA, Gofer, Runner. A production assistant is an entry-level position in a film production. PAs are quite simply general helpers – they may be attached to a specific member of crew (i.e. a producer’s assistant), or they may be a member of a general pool of assistants who perform a variety of functions during pre-production, production, and post. PAs generally get the jobs that no-one else wants or has time to do. It is a less than glamorous job, but is arguably the best way to get a foot in the door.  2. PAs expedite and generally aid the Producer and are assigned, by the producer, to assist others, namely the Production Manager, Director and ADs in the performance of their duties.

Production Designer: 1. The Production Designer is responsible for creating and designing ‘the look’ of the film – that is the sets, costumes, props etc. He/she is head of the Art Department and works closely with the Director in an attempt to put their vision on the screen.  2. The Production Designer is responsible for creating the look of the film. He or she is in control of the Art Department and works closely with the Director to make the director’s creative vision a reality.

Production Manager / Unit Production Manager: 1. Usually accounting and such; in charge of all aspects of productions, especially budget and PAs. 2. One of the first members of the production staff to arrive, this position does much of the organizational work. The first task is to break the written script down sequence by sequence from which later plans. At that point the production manager forms the plans for the shooting schedule and draws up the preliminary budget along with the producer, among other tasks. In addition to planning the many other facets of the production before it starts, the production manager is also responsible during production for making sure all arrangements are made for the film a few days in advance of the day they will be needed so that production can advance uninterrupted. During production this title is unending work.  3. The Unit Production Manager, sometimes called the Production manager, is the businessman (businessperson?) of the company. The UPM hires the crew, leases the equipment, negotiates with unions (for independents), and sets the budgetary limits within which the different departments must function. They also monitor the production in progress and ensure that if the production begins to go over budget or over schedule, steps are taken to correct the problems before they multiply. They are the Producer’s right arm.  4. Right hand administrative manager to the producer who drafts and supervises the budget, hires the crew, arranges for services, expedites and manages the day-to-day production operations in the most efficient manner possible.  5. The Production Manager is the Producer’s Representative who manages the production of each project in the most efficient manner possible. He or she is behind the scenes expediting and arranging for the equipment, crew and materials necessary for the project and authorized by the producer. The Production Manager is directly responsible to the Line Producer and he or she works in close cooperation with the Director, First Assistant Director and VP Production Services during principal photography.

Production Sound Mixer: 1. The sound mixer is a title that can refer to a number of different individuals in the creation process of any given film, however, in the production phase it refers to the individual responsible for recording the dialogue. This position usually entails plugging oneself into a pair of headphones and making sure that every single syllable of the lines is heard clearly and articulately. This is one of the three positions with enough authority to call for another take to ensure that dialogue quality is perfect, just as the cameraman looks for perfect lighting quality and the director looks for perfect scene quality.  2. The Production Sound mixer is responsible to the director for recording the sound for the production in a manner that produces the highest quality possible under the varying production conditions.

Property (Props) Master: 1. Makes sure that when a prop is needed in a script it is available or made; also head of the prop department.  2. Just as the name suggests, the Prop Master is the person responsible for researching and creating any physical object in the film that the characters interact with or manipulate. Similar in some respects to the set decorator in that he or she populates the film with its inanimate aspects, the prop master is even more specialized. Most of the props that the characters interact with must react with them, either get smashed or thrown, or land, etc. It is the prop masters duty to create props that do these things as well as do the research to create props that are appropriate to the film, such as creating a hand mirror that an Victorian lady would use.  3. The person responsible for the availability, maintenance and placement of all props on the set. In the studio vernacular, he is usually called “props.”  4. Is responsible for any and all props, furniture, chairs, and platforms that are needed on the set. Gets and returns all these props. He is responsible to the Art Director.

S

Scheduling Director: The Scheduling Director is a First Assistant Director employed fulltime in the Production Services Division to help the VP Production and Production Manager estimate production logistics, schedules and budgets for future productions. He or she is also responsible for researching the schedules of Producers, Talent, Directors as well as UPMs, Staff and Crew. He is responsible for creating or supervising breakdowns and production boards to come up with efficient shooting schedules which the Production Manager and VP Production Services can base budgets upon.

Script Supervisor: 1. Makes sure that the script matches the dialogue on screen; times each scene.  2. This title is one of the most detail-laden positions on a production team. The script supervisor’s job is, briefly summed up, to record every detail of every piece of filmed footage for reference later. The script supervisor records every detail in the scene, camera angles, shooting duration, character descriptions, actual spoken lines (as opposed to those that appear in the script) and a multitude of other things. An incredible amount of work to be sure.  3. The script supervisor basically keeps track of things. First of all, for the production office, he or she keeps track of number of pages and scenes covered in a day, the number of setups, the estimated screen time, the official lunch and wrap times, etc. Secondly, for the editor, he or she keeps a detailed list of shots, including type, number of takes, prints, film and sound roll where they might be found, etc. Finally, and more generally, the script supervisor is a kind of clearing house for all the details associated with film continuity.  4. This individual is responsible for making sure everything looks the same from one shot to the next. This is helpful especially when filming out of sequence. The script supervisor makes sure that actor’s positions, the costumes/clothing, background, and much more is the same from one shot to the next to avoid inconsistencies. For example, if an actor is holding a cup with his left hand, the script supervisor makes sure that in the next shot, that actor is still holding the cup in his left hand.  5. The Script Supervisor assists the Director in maintaining details of story continuity, props and actor placement and timing each scene (as shooting progresses). Creates and maintains the Script Supervision Notes.

Second Assistant Director: Wrangles extras and cast; also works with the crew.  2. A.k.a. 2nd AD. Under the supervision of the 1st AD, the 2nd looks after the cast. They also occasionally take charge of the set and organize the next day’s call sheet. 2nd ADs tend also to be a liaison between the set and production office.  3. Helps the First Assistant Director.

Security: Any individual who maintains security on a set or on location. A security official prevents unwanted persons from interrupting the filming process.

Segment Producer: A Segment Producer produces one or more individual segments of a multi-segment production, also containing individual segments produced by others.

Set Decorator: 1. Makes sure that each time a set is brought out that all props and fixtures are in place.  2. Just as the set designer designs the sets, the set decorator decorates the set. This position can have a tremendous impact on the overall look of the film. Think about if for a second. A standard room when empty holds a thousand possibilities. A set designer alone cannot create a particular mood for a room simply by designing a 20’ by 10’ room with a window. It is the set decorator that makes to room the dark, smoky office of a gangster or the drab abode of an dying matriarch. The set decorator is the one responsible for fleshing out the director’s view of the film’s imaginary world.  3. The person responsible for placing furnishings such as furniture, rugs, lamps, draperies, wall paintings, books, and more around the set. This person takes commands from the set designer.

Set Designer: 1. Creates the sets on paper and helps bring the ideas to fruition.  2. The set designer is the architect of imaginary worlds. And that’s not cheesy prose either. The set designer is the one responsible for designing the set (thus the name) with all the artistic and architectural tasks that entails. After heavy conferencing with the director, the set designer first draws up, then finalizes (depending on agreement or disagreement with the director) the plans for the set. They are then sent to the carpenter and crew whose job it is to build it.  3. A draftsman with architectural training, this person’s duty is to sketch plans and list specifications for the building of sets from the verbal descriptions or rough sketches offered by the art director.

Set Operations: The set takes up a lot of time (keep in mind we are creating reality here), enough time to necessitate not only a set designer and decorator, but an entire crew of personnel to keep it up. These personnel are known as set operations. They range in position from painter to greensman to crane operator (that would be a camera crane, not wrecking crane, although I guess you need somebody to operate that too). They’re the ones that work behind the scenes to make sure that the scene itself works smoothly.

Sketch Artist: Often times directors will want to get a feel for a movie by seeing if visually. This is done to plan the effectiveness of shots, or help to refine the moods of scenes or any number of other reasons. Quite often, to get a good view of this the director requires a skilled artistic hand to draw it. Enter the sketch artist. These artists either make a living in Hollywood with such work or are sometimes part-timing it from other careers, such as comic books. The sketch artists draws out the storyboards and sometimes assists other positions in need of visual representations of ideas before actual creation.

Sound Editor / Mixer: 1. The person who edits the sound to the film during post-production. Modern film sound tracks are complex audio landscapes and the sound editor is responsible for complementing the film’s vision with sound. They mix in the effects, music, ambience and dialogue which form the film’s final sound track.  2. The individual responsible for taking many different sound tracks, each sound track containing a different sound, and putting them together into fewer tracks or one single track. In doing this, the mixer must delicately balance the different sounds so no sound overpowers and blocks out any other sound.

Special Effects Supervisor: The individual in charge of the special effects (SFX) team. This individual makes sure the special effects crew properly sets effects up according the director’s desire.

Special Effects Technician: This title is one that varies on a production to production basis. It does not refer to the people who gave Godzilla life or created the pod race. The special effects technician can be a pyrotechnic (paid to play with fire, and really big fire at that!) or the person who runs the rainmaker or makes a chair move by itself.

Stand-in: Any individual who is similar in body structure and looks to a star actor who can take that actor’s place when it is not necessary to use the actual star actor. An example is when a script calls for a shot of the main character picking up a phone. If the director wants only a close-up shot of the hand and phone, then it is not necessary to call in the star actor just for his hand. Rather, the star actor can take a break while the stand-in appears on camera.

Story Editor: 1. An employee of a studio’s scenario department who reads synopses and evaluations of dramatic and other literary properties made by his staff of readers (or story analysts). He/She recommends to his/her production company that a certain property should or should not be made.  2. The Director of Creative Affairs assigns Story Editors to work with writers in the development of treatments with good continuity. Story editors work with Writers only if the Writer wants them to help out. Story Editors do not do the actual writing for the Writer: they provide a sounding board for the writer in his development of the story and treatment. A Story Editor is a highly creative, sensitive and intelligent person who works hard to bring out the best in Writers. A Story Editor does not have to be or even know how to write himself, however he must be able to communicate and articulate clearly and succinctly with a lot of affinity and understanding. If the Company Writers are doing well and are happy, the Story Editor is doing his or her job well.

Stunt Coordinator: The individual responsible for choreographing any stunts seen.  It is this person’s job to make sure the stunt is safe while still realistic.

Supervising Producer: A Supervising Producer supervises one or more producers in the performance of some or all of his/her/their producer functions, on single or multiple productions, either in place of, or subject to the overriding authority of an Executive Producer.

Supervising Sound Editor: Makes sure that all words and sound effects can be heard clearly; in charge of dubbing.

T

Technical Advisor / Consultant: 1. In any film where an aspect of reality is being presented as believable truth to the audience it is necessary that the presented image be realistic . Thus if a picture revolves around a military plot, a technical advisor is assigned who is familiar with the military who can then advise the director and other members of the production of aspects to help them create the most truthful picture possible.  2. An expert in any particular field who is hired as a consultant on a set to ensure the accuracy of details in his specialized area. A former naval officer may be asked to give advice on the workings of a submarine, or a native of Nepal to authenticate background details concerning his country from customs to costumes.

Technical Director (TD): In video production, the Technical Director is responsible to the Director for switching the cameras and running the special effects board as required by the Director. He supervises the electronics of the video and audio crews and sees to it that all technical aspects of the production are in order and on time. In matters of lighting, he is responsible to the Director of Photography in helping him get a good image on the screen.

Transportation Captain: Despite a name that seems ripe to poke fun at, the transportation captain is critical to ensuring the production runs smoothly. This is because the position handles the logistical nightmare of moving hundreds of people and literally tons of insanely expensive equipment on a daily basis from location to location while also ensuring that the least amount of time is spent doing it.

U

Unit Publicist / Still Photographer: 1. The Unit Publicist organizes cast interviews and visits to the set by journalists while the film is shooting. You know all those bits on Entertainment Tonight where they are on the set visiting with the stars during filming? Well, the Unit Publicist set that up. They also gets mention of the film into the trades as well as local papers (especially if the film is not being shot in Hollywood). It’s not always an easy job as the stars are usually doing this on their own time and are not always cooperative.  They also write press kit information (biographies, story synopses, etc.), maintain photo files (write IDs, get artist approvals) and assist the stills photographer with posed shots.  2. There are a number of sources, both commercial and private, that want insider looks at a set for a variety of purposes, the commercial most likely wanting to sell to the private and the private most likely just wanting to see a little bit of behind-the-scenes action. That said, there is a defined need for someone who can not only capture compelling images of a film but also to not reveal anything that an audience might have to pay money to see. The publicity agent handles hyping the show in its pre-advertising stages, while the still photographer takes all the many pictures from which the few glimpses that end up in movie magazines will be drawn from. 3. The Still Photographer is responsible for shooting production stills for publicity and as such is responsible to the producer, (or the designated publicist and/or agent) however he or she cooperates with the Director of Photography in getting the still coverage needed.

Utility Person: The utility man picks up and delivers equipment as designated by the Production Manager. He also assists and expedites during production and well as cleaning the set at wrap.

W

Wardrobe: 1. The wardrobe of the characters in the picture is as important as any of the other aspects of the projected personality and as such requires extensive amounts of time to perfect. On many sets, the wardrobe department’s job is to outfit the character with appropriate clothing from an inventory (or from stores). In cases where a character is unconventional or the performer is an A-list star, then the wardrobe department will include a designer who creates unique costumes for the character to wear. As in all the other creative positions, the wardrobe requires extensive amounts of research, both character and environmental, to create the clothing that accurately and most effectively reflects the mood of the film. 2. Arranges for and color coordinates all clothes of the talent.  Is responsible to the Art Director.

Writer: 1. Responsible for the actual text of the show.  Physically writes down all screen directions and dialogue for the script. This title names a number of different persons. It can mean either the creator of the initial screenplay, or any of the writers who subsequently worked on it, rewriting plotline, dialogue, etc.  3. The Writer is responsible for creating or developing a story from nothing or pre-existing material. The story may be in treatment or screenplay form, but ultimately the screenplay becomes the blueprint from which the production will unfold. The writer, works with and cooperates with other writers, and the director in the development of the story and screenplay.

Now that you know the names, can you make the cut?. Crew Atlanta is always looking for sharp technical crew.

 

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