Film Crew Positions: Every Job on a TV and Movie Set

Film Crew Positions | Learn Film Crew Job Descriptions | Project Casting

<p>The Producer runs the filmmaking business as they help&nbsp;the screenwriter write the script, casting directors to find the cast, hire the crew for the production, and find the money to make the movie happen.</p>

Have you ever wanted to know what all the jobs needed to make a movie, TV show, or commercial are?

It's not just actors and directors who make a film. There are many people behind the scenes who work hard to bring your favorite movies to life - and we're here to tell you about them! This blog is designed as an ultimate guide, so if you ever want to know more about any of these positions or even other aspects of filmmaking, this is where you should go first.

Actors are the stars of a film - but they're not alone. There is an entire team behind them, ensuring everything goes smoothly and giving direction to their performance. The director gets all this together so you can see your favorite actors on screen delivering lines ideally in sync with each other, pulling off significant stunts, or interacting seamlessly with computer-generated (CG) effects.

First up is the director, who you might know as the person responsible for hiring every position on set! They are in charge of what happens throughout filming, and anything that happens before is down to them. This includes casting actors and choosing a script - but they're also responsible for communicating with the crew, ensuring everything runs smoothly on set, and can even make creative decisions as an editor later on if necessary!

Next up is the director of photography (DP), who you might know their impact on cinema with films like The Revenant and Whiplash. It's their job to make sure the lighting on set is perfect, whether it's natural or artificial - and they're often in charge of any cinematography elements like camera angles and movements! The DP will work with a whole team of other people, including gaffers (electricians) and grips (camera assistants), while also liaising with the director and production designer.

A whole team of people works as a unit on set, often in charge of specific areas or rooms as part of the overall set. Chief Lighting Technicians (CLT) ensure there is enough light on the scene at all times for this to happen without any problems - whether it's natural lighting from the sun or artificial lighting. They are in charge of the gaffers and grips, ensuring everything is set up for them to do their jobs properly without any problems arising later on.

The production designer's job is one of the most important parts of filmmaking - they create a whole new world! Whether it's an alien planet like in Star Wars or a magical forest like in The Lord of the Rings, their job is to create this entirely from scratch. They'll work with different departments on set - including the art department, who help develop and construct things, while also liaising closely with the director or DP for any specific requirements they have.

A huge part of filmmaking that often goes unnoticed is sound. Sound recordists make sure everything sounds the way it's supposed to sound - whether that's dialogue, music, or FX-like car engines revving! They also work with boom operators (who hold the microphone out of shot), foley artists (who create added effects in post-production), and even ADR editors who edit dialogue recorded on set.

Another huge part of filmmaking is the camera - and it needs a lot of people to make sure everything runs smoothly. Camera assistants help set up equipment, focus, and even manage other cameras on set while keeping their ones in check. Meanwhile, grips are responsible for any other pieces of equipment that aren't related to lighting or sound! They'll help set up lighting, secure things on set, and even operate dollies (movable sets) or cranes.

Actors might be the stars of a film, but they wouldn't have anything to do if it weren't for their script! Script supervisors oversee all aspects of this - making sure everything is in order, and nothing needs changing, managing continuity (especially for wardrobe or hair), checking all the scripts are present and correct at each stage of filming, and ensuring everything shoots smoothly.

Filming might take days - even weeks! But editing is where it's transformed into something everyone will watch. Editors make sure this process goes as quickly as possible by sorting through hours of footage, cutting it down into a manageable size, and piecing everything together. They'll work with the director or producer on creating a first cut that will be sent to test audiences for feedback - so if it doesn't go well you might need to re-shoot!

If there is something wrong with any aspect of filming (if someone is late, the gaffer isn't working as quickly as it should be, or someone is sick), then an ADR editor might need to go back and re-record dialogue in post-production. They'll work with any audio that has been recorded on set (like if it's windy outside) - which could involve having actors record their dialogue again in a studio, or simply cutting out the problem area and splicing it together with another part of the dialogue.

Surely there's nothing more important to any film than its score? Composers create this original music which will be played during filming (and sometimes at preview screenings) - so they'll have already created every piece before shooting even begins! They'll work with the director to make sure it fits well together, and will also create music for trailers or promo videos.

Actors might be good at acting - but they need someone to direct them every step of the way. Directors are responsible for making sure everything goes smoothly on set by controlling how actors act out scenes (and even how they move), and what the final product will look like. They'll work with a DP to figure out how scenes should be shot, discuss this with producers for any changes that need making, and then give their team of actors direction on set before filming begins.

Actors might say all their lines - but it's still not time to watch it all back yet! The editor will then need to sit down and watch through everything that's been filmed, making sure it makes sense as a whole by finding any problems (like bad continuity), and creating the best final cut. They'll work closely with producers or directors who might have their own ideas on what should be left in or taken out - and will then deliver the final cut to test audiences!

If people don't enjoy it, or there's something that needs changing - a re-cut might be needed. The editor will again need to sit down and find what should be changed before going through everything from scratch. If changes are still necessary, they'll once again work with producers or directors to make sure everything is changed before the final cut!


Crew Positions

Production Office

The production office is referred to as the “front office” and includes staff such as the production manager, production coordinator, and their assistants; the accounting staff; the assistant directors; sometimes the locations manager and assistants. The following are jobs within the production office:

  • Production Manager – supervises the physical aspects of the production (not the creative aspects), including personnel, technology, budget, and scheduling. It is the production manager’s responsibility to make sure the filming stays on schedule and within its budget. The production manager also helps manage the day-to-day budget by managing operating costs such as salaries, production costs, and everyday equipment rental costs.
  • Production Coordinator – the information nexus of the production. Responsible for organizing all the logistics from hiring crew, renting equipment, and booking talent. The production coordinator is an integral part of film production.
  • Assistant Director (1st and 2nd) – assists the production manager and the director. Generally, in charge of overseeing the day-to-day management of the cast and crew, including scheduling, equipment, script, and the set.
  • Production Assistant – assists the first assistant director with set operations. Production assistants referred to as “pa’s.” They also help in the production office with general tasks.
  • Script supervisor – The Script Supervisor is also known as a “continuity person” who keeps track of what parts of the script have been filmed. The Script Supervisor makes notes of any deviations between what the director filmed and what appeared in the script.

Lighting/Electrical Department

  • Grips– the grips are the lighting and rigging technicians. They function as a cross between a mechanic and a construction worker on the set. A grip’s job responsibilities include: working closely with the camera department, especially if the camera is mounted onto a dolly or crane; work closely with the electrical department to put in lighting setups necessary for a shot. Grips do not work on the lighting (they are not technically electricians) but handle all other essential equipment. Grips are responsible for all “rigging” on the set, including lighting equipment rigged over actors and crew, working with pulleys, steel cables, accountable for all safety on the film set as it relates to the material they work with on the production.There are several grip positions:
  • Key grip – the foreman of the grip department. Overseas the work and responsibilities of all of the grips on the set.
  • Best boy grip – assists the key grip but assumes more responsibility for the hiring and scheduling of the crew; oversees the rental of the equipment on the set.
  • Dolly grip – operates the camera dollies or camera cranes.
  • Gaffer – head of the electrical department (sometimes called the chief lighting technician). Works closely with the director of photography and oversees the work of the assistants;
  • Best boy electric – assistant to the gaffer. Generally responsible for the daily running of the lighting, hiring, and scheduling of the crew, coordinating the rigging crews (depending upon the size of the production).

Art Department

The art department is responsible for the overall look of the film. In a notable movie, it can include hundreds of people. Generally, there are several sub-departments, including an art director and set designers; the set decoration; the props master; construction headed by the construction coordinator; scenic directed by the key scenic artist and special effects.

  • Production Designer– works directly with the director and producer to select the settings and style to tell the story visually. Begins work in pre-production, working with the director, producer, and director of photography to establish the visual feel and aesthetic needs of the project. Works with the costume designer, hair and make-up stylists, special effects director, and location manager to develop a unified visual appearance to the film. The following positions work under the production designer:
  • Art Director – directly oversees artists and craftspeople, such as set designers, graphic artists, and illustrators who assist in the development of the production design.
  • Set Designer – A Set Designer is a draftsman or architect who realizes the structures or interior spaces called for by the production designer.
  • Set Decorator – in charge of decorating the film set, including furnishings and all other objects that will be seen in the film. They work closely with the production designer and coordinates with the art director.
  • Buyers – work for the set decorator. They are responsible for locating and purchasing or renting the set dressing.
  • Set Dresser – apply and remove the “dressing” i.E. Furniture, drapery, carpets, lighting – everything one would find on a particular set.
  • Props Master – The Prop Master is in charge of finding and managing all of the props required for the shooting of the film.
  • Props Builder – builds the props used for the film. Props builders are often technicians skilled in construction, plastics casting, machining, and electronics.
  • Set Dressers – A Set Dresser is responsible for the placement of all furniture, drapery, carpeting, and all accessories you might find on any particular set. Most of the work of the dressers is accomplished before the crew arrives and after filming. Generally, one or more set dressers remain on the set during filming.
  • Art Department Production Assistant
  • Construction department
  • Construction Coordinator – oversees the construction of all the sets. The coordinator orders materials to schedule the work and supervise the (often sizeable) crew of carpenters, painters, and laborers.
  • Head Carpenter – The head carpenter is the foreman of a “gang” of carpenters and laborers.
  • Greens – a specialized set dresser is dealing with the artistic arrangement or landscape design of plant material. Sometimes real and sometimes artificial and usually a combination of both. Depending upon the number of greens work in a film, the green man may report to the art director or may report to the production designer.

Camera department

  • Director of Photography (D.P) – is the head of all technical departments on a film crew and is responsible for establishing how the script is translated into visual images based on the director’s request.
  • Camera Operator (C.O.) – Works closely with the D.P to determine the composition for each shot as instructed by the director. The primary job of the camera operator is to make smooth pan and tilt moves to maintain the form of the subject and also keeps the action within the frame lines.
  • First Assistant Cameraman ( 1st A.C.) (Focus Puller) – knows and understands all professional motion picture camera equipment and accessories currently used in the industry. 1st A.C. Reads the script so that he/she is aware of the story and recommends any unique material that maybe needs to carry out specific shots and is responsible for the overall care and maintenance of all camera equipment during production.
  • Second Assistant Cameraman ( 2nd A.C.) (Clapper/Loader) – before production, 2nd A.C. Must obtain a supply of empty cans, black bags, camera reports, and cores from the lab or asks the production manager to arrange for these supplies, prepares a list of expendables with the 1st A.C, also preps camera package along with the 1st A.C.
  • Loader – The loader loads and unloads all film canisters during filming. The loader also properly labels all loaded film magazines and cans of exposed film and short ends. Also, it prepares film for delivery to the lab; delivers it to the production at the end of each day. The loader also provides all the necessary tools and accessories that are associated with performing the job.

Makeup department

  • Make-up Artist – plays a vital role in the overall appearance of the talent. The goal of the make up artist is to make everyone on-screen look as good as possible. He/she works closely with the director and production team to create the look that is required for the various parts of the movie. The make-up artist also uses their skills to minimize the potential adverse effects of the harsh lighting.

Hair department

  • Hair Stylist – prepares the performer's scalp and skin and creates hairstyles that suit production requirements.

Location department

  • Location Scout – location scouting is a vital process in the pre-production stage of filmmaking and commercial photography. Location scouts work directly with producers and director have decided what general scenery is required to meet the creative needs of the project outside of the studio space the search for compatible locations begins. Locations are selected both in terms of the “look” they offer. But also the ease of filming in a particular area. Access to a power source, parking, etc. are all important factors the location scout must take into consideration.
  • Location Manager – is responsible for making all the practical arrangements necessary for filming on location. Duties include but are not limited to creating and entering into location contract agreements, creating parking plans for working vehicles, identifying and arranging for power and water sources, working with affected residents, property owners, and businesses.

Property department

  • Property Master – is responsible for the procurement or production, inventory, care and maintenance of all props associated with productions, ensuring that they are all available on time, and with budgetary requirements. They also ensure that selected accessories suit the film style and overall design and that they reflect the production’s time and culture.

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