When you watch credits after a film or a tv show do you ever sit there and think “what in the world is The Best Boy” or “Why are there so many different titles for producers?”.¬† Well to answer these and many more questions about jobs in production I decided to start a glossary of job titles.
Producer – This is the main person in charge.¬† This person initiates, coordinates, supervises and controls all aspects of the film production.¬† They select the screenplay and initiate the process of making a film.¬† They are involved in all phases of production (pre, production, and post).
Executive Producer – This person usually has a vest financial interest in the film.¬† They are not involved with all the technical aspects of production as the main producer is however they do oversee the production of the film.
Line Producer – aka Unit Production Manager. ¬† This person is in charge of the budget of the film.¬† They are not usually involved in any creative aspects of the film, however, they can be if they choose to.¬† Line producers hire key members of the crew, deal with vendors, negotiate deals, and are usually considered the head of production on set.
Production Manager – This person works directly underneath the Line Producer.¬† They supervise all physical aspects of the production such as the crew, the equipment, the budget and most importantly the scheduling.¬† Their main job is to mach sure the production stays on schedule and within its budget.
Production Coordinator- This person is responsible for all the logistics of scheduling the crew.¬† They work directly under the production manager and in charge of organizing and running the production office.
Director – This person is in charge of overseeing all creative aspects of the film.
First Assistant Director – (1st AD) This person works along with the production manager and director.¬† Their main job is scheduling of the cast and crew on set.
Second Assistant Director – (2nd AD) This is person is the chief assistant to the 1st AD.¬† One main aspect of their job is creating the Call Sheet which is the schedule for the cast and crew.
Production Assistant – On set a PA works underneath the AD’s.¬† In the office a PA works underneath the production coordinator.¬† A PA will do general tasks that help the production.
Script Supervisor – (Scripty) This person is in charge of all continuity.¬† The scripty is the main connection from the production to the editors in post production.¬† This person tracks what parts of the scripts have been shot, keep track of actors blocking and wardrobe, and any other details being shot to ensure continuity from scene to scene.
Stunt Coordinator – When a scene requires a stuntman, the stunt coordinator will arrange the stunt as well as the casting for the stuntman along with the director.
Casting Director – This person is in charge of the casting of all actors for a film.
Production Designer – This person is responsible creating the visual and physical appearance of the film.
Art Director – Works directly underneath the produciton designer.¬† Over sees all artists, crafts, and construction people as the design of the film comes together.
Assistant Art Director – Carries out the instructions of the art director.
Set Designer – Often an architect that constructs the set.
Illustrator – Creates visually the ideas of the Production Designer and Art Director.
Set Decorator – This person is in charge of decorating the set.¬† Every piece of furniture and prop is from the Set Decorator.
Buyer – Works underneath the Set Decorator and is in charge of finding and purchasing items for the Set Decorator.
Lead Man – aka Swing Gang.¬† This person is the foreman of the sets crew.
Prop Master – This person is in charger of all the props on set.¬† Depending on the size of the crew they will have several assistants.
Props Builder – If a prop can not be purchased or rented the Props Builder will make it.¬† This person may also be called a Propmaker.
Armourer – This person is in charge of any weapons being used in the film.
Construction Coordinator – Oversees all the construction on set.
Make- Up Artist – Make-up artists work with makeup, hair and special effects to create the characters look for anyone appearing on screen. Their role is to manipulate an actor’s on-screen appearance whether it makes them look more youthful, larger, older, or in some cases monstrous. There are also body makeup artists who concentrate their abilities on the body rather than the head.
Hair Stylist – hair stylist is responsible for maintaining and styling the hair of anyone appearing on screen. They work in conjunction with the makeup artist.
Costume Designer – Responsible for all the clothing and costumes worn by all the actors that appear on screen. They are also responsible for designing, planning, and organizing the construction of the garments down to the fabric, colors, and sizes.¬† In large productions, the costume designer will usually have one or more assistant costume designers.
Costume Supervisor – works closely with the designer. In addition to helping with the design of the costumes, they manage the wardrobe workspace. They supervise construction or sourcing of garments, hiring and firing of support staff, budget, paperwork, and department logistics.
Cinematographer – It is usually synonymous with “director of photography”, though some professionals insist this only applies when the director of photography and camera operator are the same person.
Director of Photography – (DP) ¬†the chief of the camera and lighting crew of the film. The DP makes decisions on lighting and framing of scenes in conjunction with the film’s director. Typically, the director tells the DP how they want a shot to look, and the DP chooses the correct aperture, filter, and lighting to achieve the desired effect as per the directors requirements.
Camera Operator – uses the camera at the direction of the cinematographer, director of photography, or the film director to capture the scenes on film. Generally, a cinematographer or director of photography does not operate the camera, but sometimes these jobs may be combined.
First Assistant Camera – The first assistant camera (1st AC) is responsible for keeping the camera in focus as it is shooting.
Second Assistant Camera – (Clapper Loader, 2nd AC) operates the clapperboard at the beginning of each take and loads the raw film stock into the camera magazines between takes, if there is no additional specifically designated film loader. The 2nd AC is also in charge of overseeing the meticulously kept notebooks that record when the film stock is received, used, and sent to the lab for processing. Additionally, the 2nd AC oversees organization of camera equipment and transport of the equipment from one shooting location to another.
Loader -¬† The loader is the designated film loader. They transfer motion picture film from the manufacturer’s light-tight canisters to the camera magazines for attachment to the camera by the 2nd AC. After exposure during filming, the loader then removes the film from the magazines and places it back into the light-tight cans for transport to the laboratory. It is the responsibility of the loader to manage the inventory of film and communicate with the 1st AC on the film usage and remaining stock throughout the day. On small production crews, this job is often combined with the 2nd AC. With the prevalence of digital photography, this position is often eliminated.
Camera PA -¬† A assists the crew with menial details while learning the trade of the camera assistant, operator or cinematographer.
Digital Imaging Technician – On digital photography productions the digital imaging technician is responsible for the coordination of the internal workings of the digital camera. Under the direction of the cinematographer or director of photography, the DIT will make adjustments to the multitude of variables available in most professional digital cameras to creatively or technically manipulate the resulting image.
Steadicam Operator – A Steadicam operator is someone who is skilled at operating a stedicam (trademark for a camera stabilization rig). This person is usually one of the camera operators on the production.
Motion Control Technician Operator – This technician operates a motion control rig, which essentially is a ‘camera robot’ able to consistently repeat camera moves for special effects uses.¬† Motion control rigs are typically rented with an experienced operator.
Production Sound Mixer – The production sound mixer is head of the sound department on set, responsible for recording all sound during filming. This involves the choice and deployment of microphones, operation of a sound recording device, and sometimes the mixing of audio signals in real time.
Boom Operator – The boom operator is an assistant to the production sound mixer, responsible for microphone placement and movement during filming. The boom operator uses a boom pole, a long pole made of light aluminum or carbon fiber that allows precise positioning of the microphone above or below the actors, just out of the camera’s frame. The boom operator may also place radio microphones and hidden set microphones.
Utility Sound Technician – The utility sound technician has a dynamic role in the sound department, most typically pulling cables, but often acting as an additional boom operator or mixer when required by complex filming circumstances. Not all films employ a utility sound technician, but the increasing complexities of location sound recording in modern film have made the job more prevalent. This role is sometimes credited as “cable man” or “python wrangler”.
Key Grip – The key grip is the chief grip on a set, and is the head of the set operations department. The key grip works with the director of photography to help set up the set and to achieve correct lighting and¬† blocking.
Best Boy Grip – The best boy grip is chief assistant to the key grip. They are also responsible for organizing the grip truck throughout the day.
Dolly Grip – The grip in charge of operating the camera dollies and camera cranes is called the dolly grip. They place, level, and move the dolly track, then push and pull the dolly, and usually a camera operator and camera assistant as riders.
Gaffer – The gaffer is the head of the electrical department, responsible for the design and execution of the lighting plan for a production. Sometimes the gaffer is credited as “Chief Lighting Technician”.
Best Boy Electrical – The best boy electric is the chief assistant to the gaffer. He or she is not usually on set, but dealing with the electric truck and rentals.
Lighting Technician – Lighting technicians are involved with setting up and controlling lighting equipment.
Location Manager – Oversees the Locations Department and its staff, typically reporting directly to the Production Manager and/or Assistant Director (or even Director and/or Executive Producer). Location Manager is responsible for final clearing (or guaranteeing permission to use) a location for filming and must often assist Production/Finance Dept(s) in maintaining budget management regarding actual location/permit fees as well as labor costs to production for himself and the Locations Department at large.
Assistant Location Manager – Works with the Location Manager and the various departments in arranging technical scouts for the essential staff (grips, electric, camera, etc) to see options which the Location Manager has selected for filming. The Assistant Location Manager will be onset during the filming process to oversee the operation, whereas the Location Manager continues preproduction from elsewhere (generally an office) on the upcoming locations. (Note: On most location-based television shows, there will be two Assistant Location Managers that alternate episodes, allowing one to prep an upcoming episode while the other is on set with the current one.)
Location Scout – Does much of the actual research, footwork and photography to document location possibilities. Often the Location Manager will do some scouting himself, as well as the Assistant Location Manager.
Location Assistant – Hired by the Location Manager to be on-set before, during, and after the filming process. General responsibilities include arriving first at the location to allow the set dressers into the set for preparation; maintaining the cleanliness of the location areas during filming; fielding complaints from neighbors; and ultimately, at the end of the filming, making sure it seems as though the film crew was never there. There is generally one to three assistants on a shoot at any given time.
Location PA – This position exists generally on larger budget productions. The Locations PA is the assistant who is almost never onset, but instead is always “prepping” a location or “wrapping” a location. That is, when a location requires several days of set up and breakdown prior and following the day(s) of filming.
Transportation Coordinator – Coordinates the transportation of cast and crew, etc.
Transportation Captain – Coordinates drivers and vehicles. He may have an assistant.
Driver – Often in a Teamster’s Union in Canada and the United States.
Picture Car Coordinator – Finds and coordinates all the cars driven in the film.
Film Editor – The film editor is the person who assembles the various shots into a coherent film, with the help of the director. There are usually several assistant editors.
Colorist -¬† With a photochemical process, the color timer adjusts the color of the film via printer lights for greater consistency in the film’s colors. With a digital intermediate process, the colorist can use digital tools in manipulating the image and has greater creative freedom in changing the aesthetic of a film.
Negative Cutter -¬† The negative cutter cuts and splices the negatives as directed by the film editor, and then provide the assembled negative reels to the lab in order for prints (positives for projection) to be made.
Telecine Colorist – In post production, a telecine colorist is responsible for a “grade” – that is a look that has been created with a grading system, which adjusts brightness, contrast and color.
Visual Effects Producer – works with the visual effects supervisor to break down the script into storyboards, and advises the director as to how s/he should approach the scenes. Together they determine which sequences are to be shot as live action elements, which would work well in miniature, and which (if any) should be computer generated.
Visual Creative Director – very much like production designers, except they direct and supervise the creative side of the film’s visual effects. The position is particularly in demand for films with massive amounts of computer generated imagery and scenes.
Visual Effects Supervisor -in charge of the VFX crew, working with production and the film’s director to achieve the desired in-camera optical effects of the film.
Visual Effects Editor – incorporates visual effects into the current cuts of live action sequences, producing multiple versions of each shot. Altered scenes are then evaluated by the visual effects supervisor and creative director for aesthetic and technical direction, and by the producers for review and final editing.
Compositor – ¬†visual effects artist responsible for compositing images from different sources such as video, film, computer generated 3-D imagery, 2-D animations, matte paintings, photographs, and text.
Roto, Paint – These artists may rotoscope the footage, manually creating mattes for use in compositing. They may also paint visual information into or out of a scene, such removing wires and rigs, logos, dust busting, scratch removal, etc.
Matte Painter – These artists draw/paint entire sets or extend portions of an existing set.
Sound Designer – The sound designer, or “supervising sound editor”, is in charge of the post-production sound of a movie. Sometimes this may involve great creative license, and other times it may simply mean working with the director and editor to balance the sound to their liking.
Dialouge Editor – Responsible for assembling and editing all the dialog in the soundtrack.
Sound Editor – Responsible for assembling and editing all the sound effects in the soundtrack.
Re- recording Mixer – Balances all of the sounds prepared by the dialogue, music and effects editors, and finalizes the films audio track.
Music Supervisor – The music supervisor, or “music director”, works with the composer, mixers and editors to create and integrate the film’s music. Their primary responsibility is to act as liaison between the film production and the recording industry, negotiating the use rights for all source music used in a film.
Composer – The composer is responsible for writing the musical score for a film.
Foley Artist – The foley artist is the person who creates many of the sound effects for a film.
Foley Mixer – Records the sounds created by the foley artist.
ADR Mixer – Records all replacement dialogue.