Film Crew and Movie Jobs
The key to making a great film is the proper hiring of the crew. Each position is vital to an organized and productive set, so that creativity can happen. Filmmaking is the greatest form of collaboration, and you are only as strong as your weakest link. As Robert Altman says, "90% of the Director's job is making sure the right film crew and cast is hired."
Organizes, budgets, schedules and prepares the entire film production for the film crew. Main responsibility is to blueprint the entire shoot by breaking down the shooting schedule, while coordinating the budget so that the goals of the Producer and Director fit within their means. Duty is to finish the production ‘on time’ and ‘on budget.’
PRODUCTION COORDINATOR/PRODUCTION SECRETARY
Assists the Production Manager in the organizational tasks of the production office. Facilitates the flow of production documents to the appropriate production teams. Main liaison for the entire film crew.
FIRST AND SECOND ASSISTANT DIRECTORS (1st AD, 2nd AD)
In pre-production, the 1st AD assists the PM in organizing film crew, breaking down the script, and preparing the production board and shooting schedules. In production, the 1st AD assists the Director with on-set production details and coordinates and supervises activities of cast and crew. 1st ADs also run the Production MEETINGS.
The 2nd AD serves as helper to the 1st AD. They are in charge of preparing daily call sheets, handling extras requisitions and other required documents. They also prepare the daily production report at the end of each shooting day, distributing scripts and changes to cast and crew, distributing extras’ vouchers, communicating advance scheduling to cast and crew, aiding in scouting and managing locations, and facilitating transportation of equipment and personnel. They always coordinate with the production staff so that everyone, including cast and crew, are ready at the beginning of the day.
A Script Supervisor (or continuity person) is the Editor's representative on set. Films are shot out of sequence, and one of the Script Supervisor's primary functions is to ensure that visual (and audio) continuity is maintained. This means advising the Director and key crew on everything from the props to wardrobe to dialogue to eyelines, and any of the other factors that will affect an edit. In pre-production they coordinate with all concerned departments in advance to plan for any potential continuity issues, and they work after wrap to create a detailed as-read lined script with notes for the editor. Their primary function in the larger sense is to save the production money and time through communication, organization and troubleshooting.
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
Creates the visual mood of the film. They are in charge of the camera department and give instructions to the grip and gaffer. In pre-production will break down the script with the Director and design individual scenes, including set-ups, lighting and camera requirements at the set or on location.
FOCUS PULLER (also known as 1st Assistant Camera)
Responsible for keeping the camera’s focus during a shoot. Measures the distance between the camera and the main object and dissects the proper stops that require focus. Perhaps one of the most important positions on set because this extremely difficult job needs to be done precisely or else the film will be out of focus.
ASSISTANT CAMERA OPERATOR
Responsible for handling all camera equipment and the camera van, properly storing film, loading film into magazines and the camera, making sure the camera is in perfect working condition, filling out the slate with the correct information and transporting exposed film safely to the lab.
(NOTE: Camera department sometimes has a Person who operates the camera and sometimes the Director of Photography operates the camera themselves)
They work under the instructions of the Director of Photography, and under the supervision of the Key Grip. Responsible for the rigging, mounting and construction of all camera and lighting support equipment, including stands, boxes and flags. The Dolly Grip is in charge of the tracks, dolly and supporting equipment.
GAFFER AND ELECTRICIANS
In charge of all electrical equipment, the lights and the generator, as per the gaffer instructions of the Director of Photography. Once the scene is blocked, the Director of Photography instructs the Grip and Gaffer on how to set up their equipment to achieve the appropriate mood.
Two on-set positions, the Sound Mixer/Recordist and the Boom Operator, are responsible for grabbing the on-set location sound for editing, including the surrounding area sounds and the actors' dialogue. Of a on-set film crew of many, only 2 positions center on the art of sound.
PRODUCTION DESIGNER (ART DIRECTOR)
Responsible for the overall look of the film, in collaboration with the director. Creates the environment of the film. Works with the props, set builders, Location Manager, costume, makeup and hair stylists to make that happen.
In charge of all props needed during each scene of production.
Responsible for renting or purchasing all materials needed to dress a set or location to give it the required look.
Besides designing and sewing the wardrobe for cast members, the Wardrobe Person is in charge of all wardrobe rentals and purchases. Collaborates with the Production Designer on the overall costume design for each cast member.
All funds needed for rentals or purchases, once approved by the Production Manager, are processed by the Production Accountant, who is authorized to release funds or issue checks online or in person. Examines all expenses and evaluates their appropriateness. Is in charge of issuing the crew’s, and perhaps the actors', paychecks. Each department is responsible for wrapping and properly returning rented equipment, props and wardrobe after production. The accountant pays outstanding balances which are invoiced after completion of principal photography.
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