Film production is a rather daunting industry that requires dozens of staff and crew to complete a single movie. Big-budget flicks in Hollywood can easily break over a hundred teams and take months to over a year, depending on the circumstances. As the number of the film crew is substantial, we will be breaking down every job essential in filmmaking.
Below is a comprehensive list of all jobs needed to make the filmmaking process transition as smoothly as possible.
Types of Film Production Jobs
Before beginning the rundown of all the careers within the filmmaking industry, it is important to understand that these jobs are divided into three primary categories. These are the pre-production, production, and post-production.
Within the three types of film production job categories are specific professions essential during the step-by-step process.
Pre-production is the first initial stage in filmmaking and involves:
- Finalizing the screenplay.
- Selecting where the locations of the shoot.
- Computing the overall budget needed.
- Casting the actors.
Basically, pre-production will be the foundation of the filmmaking process as it is where the pillars of the entire production process will be built.
The production stage is where filming is conducted. Actors, camera crew, light and sound crew, creative, and director will all be hands-on-deck during this process. The production stage will also be quite hectic as deadlines need to be met. Shooting in different locations will also pose particular challenges.
Once filming is done, the next stage is post-production, where the footage is edited, sound and film scores are added, VFX is polished, and the trailer is prepared. Jobs required in this equally crucial filmmaking stage include the director, Editor, colorist, sound designer, composer, music editor, and dialogue editor.
The Complete List of Jobs in The Film Industry
Are you interested in taking a crack at the moviemaking business? Below are all the jobs that are essential in the film industry. Like an accurate clock, each position represents a cog or a gear that keeps the production ticking smoothly. Everybody has their specific part to play, each being integral to transferring the screenplay to the big screen.
Actors and Actresses
Actors and actresses bring the characters to life with their performances. Getting the best actors that complement the role will be integral to creating captivating storytelling. Acting is a craft that requires a person to fully immerse themselves into the character they are portraying in order to help form a meaningful connection with the audience.
The extra are individuals who are placed in the background of the scene. This job requires a lot of waiting as they are needed to be on set early. Extras will then be guided by the PA (Production Assistant) towards a waiting area with the other extras. This is where they will wait until they are called for their specific scenes.
Typically, the extra will be given notes on what clothing they should wear. However, in exceptional cases, the extra will also need to meet up with the wardrobe and makeup department before they go to the set for their scene. Some movies, such as period and fantasy films, call for unique or unusual attire.
The cinematographer is considered the eye of the director. Therefore, the primary responsibility of the cinematographer is to assist the director in putting his visions into reality and capturing the essence of that vision on screen.
Some directors already have an eye for visuals, but in some instances, the cinematographer will be an integral part of the filmmaking process. Cinematography is a rather exciting career and offers a unique paradox for those in this field. A cinematographer generally needs to have a creative mind, but they are also required to prioritize the filmmaker’s visions above their own.
The director is pretty much the ‘brains’ of the operation. It is the director or filmmaker’s job to translate the screenplay into a film. Communication will be an essential trait of a director as he or she needs to explain the scene’s goal to the actors and crew and interpret the story into digestible forms for easy comprehension.
The director is present in all three main stages of filmmaking, such as casting (not always), scouting locations, deciding on the movie’s overall theme, and the genre. However, as the name implies, the director’s primary responsibility is to provide direction to the crew and actors. This covers everyone from the cameraman all the way to the video and audio editing booth.
Another critical aspect of the director’s duties is ensuring that all the scenes are shot within the budget and schedule. The director should also know the film by heart and clearly envision the end result. This is true since films are shot out of order for practical reasons. Once filming is done, the director will piece all the shots together into one cohesive film, which is undoubtedly easier said than done.
There is also an assistant director that accompanies the principal director. Assistant directors are often used in higher-budget films, and television series as the momentous task may prove too difficult for one person to handle. The primary responsibility of the assistant director is to manage the schedule and ensure the efficiency of the daily shooting schedule.
They are also the head of their team (A.D. team) and will track the filming progress, keep the shooting process in order, and handle the safety of the cast and crew. Basically, keeping the film production in order and following the schedule will be the primary responsibility of the assistant director.
The assistant director’s job can be incredibly overwhelming. Naturally organized people will be the best fit for this type of undertaking. Being able to handle pressure proficiently is also an excellent trait in an assistant director.
Boom Mic Operator
Have you noticed the person carrying a large microphone attached to a long pole during those behind-the-scene clips from movies and television shows? Those are the boom mic operators; their job is to capture the film’s audio and maintain audio equipment.
The boom mic operator is also an essential part of filmmaking as they handle all the audio recording that the sound mixer and audio editor will tinker with during post-production. Being a boom mic operator is as hard as it looks. The operator must have substantial knowledge of operating specific audio recording devices.
Since the boom operator will be moving with the camera and actors, they need to be fully aware of their surroundings and avoid creating shadows or reflections that may get captured on the cam. Simply put, the job of the boom mic operator can be pretty tiring, but they are vital cogs in the machinery of filmmaking.
Not to be mistaken for the cinematographer, the camera operator is the one who, well, operates the camera. Camera operators are tasked with handling the camera during filming. Camera operators are part of the principal photography crew and act as the ‘eyes’ of the director.
The camera operator also works with the Director of Photography to ensure that the shot is optimized in both the lighting and focus. There is also another type of camera operator called the Steadicam Operator, which is self-explanatory.
The main difference between the camera operator and the Steadicam operator is that the latter requires additional training to operate the specialized camera. Also, handling and using a Steadicam can be exhausting as the large contraption will be attached and mounted to the operator’s body.
First Assistant Camera
The First Assistant Camera or 1st AC is the person who will operate the lens’ focus ring. They work in tandem with the camera operator and adjust the camera to keep the subject in focus throughout the scene.
The 1st A.C. is also present during pre-production and is alongside the director and cinematographer as they strategize how to capture the director’s vision on camera. During the pre-production stage, the 1st A.C. will make a checklist of all the gear needed for filming. They will then go through camera tests to ensure that the equipment can deliver the necessary shots in the film.
In the production stage, the 1st A.C. will supervise the rehearsals and blocking with the director and the actors. As the director runs the actors through the blocking process, the 1st A.C. will plan out how they will be able to capture the shot as the director wants it.
Another integral part of the filmmaking process is the casting director. As the name implies, the main task of the casting director is to find the right actors/actresses for the characters in the story. The casting director is part of the pre-production stage and will place casting calls for the leads to the supporting roles, and even the extras that have a line of dialogue in the film. In some instances, casting directors already have a shortlist of preferred actors for the lead parts.
Interestingly, the casting director is one of the first to be hired before pre-production can come off the ground. Their roles are specifically tied during the pre-production stage only, but they are a vital element of that process.
Similar to the director, casting directors will also often have an assistant casting director. The assistant C.D. will handle communication between the casting director, actors’ agents, and managers. They will also take care of scheduling, preparing contracts, and even have a say on whether an actor fits well in a role.
An integral part of the post-production team, the colorist, will work closely with the director, cinematographer, and director of photography. In addition, the colorist will handle the processing of the film’s final images.
The colorist will digitally enhance the film’s color scheme as requested by the director to deliver certain visual flairs and atmosphere. Color grading is one of the jobs of the colorist; color grading is the process of placing a color filter atop the original footage.
With this technique, the movie can create varying degrees of ‘moods’ for certain scenes. For example, placing a blue hue on footage can give the scene the appearance of being shot during dusk, when the original clip was shot in broad daylight.
The art director is an integral part of the film’s creative process as they will oversee a team comprised of artists to help create the artistic style that the director wants. An art director is a job that requires flexibility as the position tends to have a varied range of responsibilities depending on the film’s scope.
For big-budget flicks, the art director’s job is to turn the production designer’s vision into reality. This covers everything from props in the background to the location and setting. Art directors will also need to work efficiently with four other film production crews: the production designer, set designer, construction coordinator, and graphic designer.
In low-budget movies, the art director will pull several duties and take over the set decoration department. The art director’s task is to ensure that the director’s concept or vision becomes as close to reality as possible.
As the name implies, the costume designer’s responsibility revolves around creating all the costumes for all the actors in the film. The costume designer will work closely with the actors in crafting a tailor-made wardrobe for them.
The costume designer also works with the assistant director to ensure that all actors are prepped and ready for the shoot. This is another job that is present during pre-production as they will need to pitch and present ideas to the director based on the script or theme of the movie.
One of the often-overlooked skills of a costume designer is the ability to analyze the script and character and understand what each element needs in terms of visual representation. For example, films set in locations with a pretty harsh environment will call for multiple extra costumes. Likewise, scripts that call for certain characters to have rips and tears on their costumes should present it realistically as the movie continues.
Costume designers need to understand continuity in the film to prevent breaking the audience’s immersion with the movie.
Digital Imaging Technician
The job of the Digital Imaging Technician has become a crucial part of modern moviemaking. Therefore, it falls on the Digital Imaging Technician to create backups of all the footage shot by the Camera Department in case of problems in the future.
This job first came about when digitally shot movies, and television shows slowly became the norm. While relatively simple, it cannot be stressed enough how important the job of the Digital Imaging Technician is. Another job description of the Digital Imaging Technician is organizing the footage so that the Editor will find it significantly easier to cut them together during post-production.
Director of Photography
The Director of Photography or D.P. is another vital cog in filmmaking. They work closely with the director in visualizing and capturing the target vision and look of the movie. The D.P. will be present from the get-go as they hash out the visual style of the film with the director during shooting begins.
The D.P. will help the director craft the film’s overall aesthetic, so it is essential that the two can work together proficiently. During filming, the D.P. will focus on setting up the camera and lighting with the crew while the director works with the actors. The D.P. will also guide the director regarding the best camera position and lighting for scenes.
During post-production, the D.P. will typically drop by the editing booth to check the color grading for the film.
The Dolly Grip toes the line as they are both members of the camera department and the grip department. However, their primary responsibility is assisting the operation of the dolly camera. The dolly camera is a large piece of equipment used to capture horizontal shot movement. While typically mounted on rails, this is not always the case, as some call for the dolly cam to be attached to the operator.
The Dolly Grip maneuvers the dolly cam and operator through the scene. They pull or push the dolly camera around the set as needed for the scene. As you would have already surmised, the dolly grip is a highly physical job, and the challenge varies depending on the location.
Another recent addition to the filmmaking industry, the Drone Operator, utilizes drone camera equipment to take breathtaking landscapes and sweeping longshots. What’s fascinating about this particular job is that the operator does not even need to be present in the shooting location as they can operate the drone from anywhere in the world.
The main advantage of having a drone operator is its practicality and safety. Back in the day, these sweeping longshots were done by renting a helicopter or crane and having the camera operator shoot from there. There is no need to rent large and expensive equipment with the drone operator on-hand as the same results can be achieved with this relatively small equipment.
Drone operators need ample skill in flying these devices, so training is required. In addition, drone operators will need prep time and cannot simply jump in during the day of the shoot. Practice will be essential as one of the drawbacks of drone cameras is that it isn’t precisely flexible to handle multiple takes as time is of the essence during the day of the official shoot.
Field Recording Mixer
The Field Recording Mixer (FRM) is another vital part of the filmmaking process; it is its job to capture the actor’s dialogue as clearly as possible during filming. The FRM will then send this to the Post Sound Team for the editing process in post-production.
The FRM will also be present during pre-production as they will need to scout the location and get the necessary documents to secure all the required equipment for the shooting period. The FRM will also work with the Camera Department to ensure that both have correct time codes during filming.
The FRM will also need to set up audio capturing devices to connect the actors in the scene straight to the director and producer. In-depth knowledge about acoustics will be crucial for a Field Recording Mixer as they are expected to know what type of audio recording device will be best suited for specific locations.
Since shoots will take more than one day, with big-budget movies hitting the half-a-year mark, sets will need food and drinks accessible to everyone in the crew. This is where Catering enters the picture. Catering, also known as Craft Services, provides snacks and beverages to the set.
Catering can be quite a daunting job as specific dietary standards must be met depending on the set or project. The Catering will then need to prepare everything for the duration of the shoot with budget management, shopping for ingredients, and preparation their priority.
During the day of the shoot, the catering crew will need to keep tabs on the craft services table and ensure that everything on the table is regularly restocked. Catering is the first department to be present on set and is typically the last one to leave.
The Lead Chef is at the heart of the Catering, who pretty much plans out the menu for the day. In most cases, the lead chef must adhere to requests or a specific diet – especially for the main cast.
A crucial part of the post-production stage, the Film Editor, will be the person who will lead the assembly of the footage shot during production into a coherent and seamless finished product. The film editor will work closely with the director throughout the post-production process, apply the score, ambient sound, graphics, and VFX, and polish the film to its final and complete form.
The film editor will cut and organize the footage and the director into one cohesive movie before sending it to the colorist and Post Sound Editing Team. Another essential aspect that film editors bring to the table is their knowledge in crafting films to capture the cinematic experience the director aims for.
They can provide some fresh insights and help the director polish some rough-around-the-edges scenes. The film editor’s new perspective on the project can help elevate a good movie into a great one.
The Gaffer is the film’s leading electrician and the electrical department leader during production. Their primary duties include setting up the cables for the lighting and other electrical equipment in the set organized and safe.
They are also relied upon to systematically plan the overall layout of cables and lighting to allow the camera department, cinematographer, and director to switch lighting between scenes easily. As expected, the Gaffer will play an integral part in the production crew’s overall safety.
One of the more exciting jobs in the film industry is the Foley Artist. The Foley artist creates ambient sounds in the film, such as footsteps, rustling trees, and even those bone-chilling monster sounds.
The Foley artist records these varied sounds with a slew of everyday equipment such as wooden clogs, pans, chimes, fruits, vegetables, and pretty much anything that their imagination can implement. Of course, Foley artists must be creative with their approach, especially in genre films such as science fiction and horror.
You will be surprised how all the stomach-churning sounds in your favorite horror movies were made with everyday kitchen items.
Along with the Foley artist is the Foley Engineer, who handles the pre-mix and lists elements they will need for the Foley artist to replicate in the studio.
The Graphic Artist or Graphic Designer takes on a multitude of jobs during the entire filmmaking process. From pre-production and post-production, the graphic artist will be alongside the director in creating the movie’s overall visual style.
The graphic artist will also be called upon to produce promotional materials for the movie, such as posters and other digital content. Therefore, the graphic artist must have substantial knowledge in utilizing programs such as Adobe After Effects or similar visual design programs.
Modern filmmaking has placed graphic artists at the center of the most vital members of the filmmaking crew. With the shift towards digital movies, graphic design will be a core part of the process moving forward.
The Key Grip is the head of the grip department, basically the “Handy Men and Women” of the production team. Key Grip typically has an assistant called the Best Boy (or Girl) who will ensure that the Key Grip orders are given to the entire team.
This position requires a good grasp of the entire moviemaking process and technical know-how. The Key Grip, along with the whole Grip department, can be seen as the backbone of the film production crew as they do make the production stage of filming flow much more smoothly.
One of the more physically and mentally demanding jobs in film production is the position of Best Boy. The main job of the Best Boy is to ensure that decisions and orders by the Key Grip are communicated clearly to the rest of the staff and crew.
The Best Boy works closely with the Key Grip and, in most cases, will usually be a Key Grip trainee. However, the Best Boy must also know their crew’s strengths and weaknesses, so they can adequately delegate each role to the right person in the Grip Department.
Another essential responsibility of the Best Boy is in-depth knowledge about all the available lighting and rigging for the project. After the shoot, it is also the Bet Boy’s job to catalogue every piece of equipment and gear and check which one needs repairs or replacements.
With so much responsibility, the Best Boy is undoubtedly one of the more strenuous and demanding jobs on the filmmaking set.
The Key Grip handles the lighting on the set and works in close conjunction with the Director of Photography.
The Line Producer is essential for a project to get off the ground. This particular job entails allocating the budget, helping hire the cast and crew, and ensuring that the movie is completed safely and within budget and schedule. As such, this job is generally considered one of the most senior positions in the production team, just below the producer.
Along with the producer, the Line Producer will be present during the pre-production all the way to the moment when the movie is complete and ready for showing. This job will also assist in finding the funding for the project. With such an enormous responsibility, the Line Producer is one of the most crucial parts of the entire production process.
The Location Scout also works alongside the director during pre-production. It is their job to find locations that fit the description of what the director has in their vision for the film. In addition, the Location Scout and the Location Manager will need to acquire permits for shooting in different locations or buildings.
Another vital duty of the Location Scout is acting as the “middle man” between the production crew and the community where the filming occurs. Any concerns from the local community affected during the shooting of a movie will be handled by the Location Scout.
For a film to shoot in a particular location, they will need permits and pay the appropriate fees – this is where the Location Manager comes in. A Location Scout usually hires this job. A Location Manager oversees that all documents are prepared and any fees are appropriately paid for the production to commence shooting in a specific location.
The Location Manager is also responsible for ensuring that the location is well-maintained and returned to its original condition. This means that the Location Manager must ensure that everything on the site will be returned to the state it initially found it in.
They will also need to coordinate with police in the area and notify them of any scenes, such as explosions or gunshots, within a specific time frame. If any damage is sustained in the area, the Location Manager must get a complete quote and pay for the repairs needed.
To complete the overall aesthetic of the characters in the film, the actors will need the help of the wardrobe department and the makeup artist. This particular job does not just cover the facial makeup but will also cover the actor’s entire body. In some cases, the makeup artist must also know about applying prosthetics for films that require special effects.
A makeup artist usually spends a couple of hours a day applying beauty applications and touch-ups in typical genres such as drama or comedies. However, in more special effects-laden movies such as horror and sci-fi, the makeup process can take anywhere between an hour to over seven hours per day.
The Music Supervisor pretty much supervises the entire music department during the entirety of the film production process. They will be the ones who will scout and hire the best composer, get the copyright to use certain original music, and finalize contracts with record labels. But, of course, the Music Supervisor must first consult with the director about the types of music they should obtain.
If the director, cinematographer, and director of photography translate the screenplay into a living, breathing, and stunning motion picture, the composer creates the film’s rhythmic heartbeat. Without sound, movies will most certainly fall relatively flat. The music and sound ambiance will further give life and heighten the impact of scenes alongside the cast’s performance.
The composer’s primary responsibility is creating the music that will accompany the film, the term used for this particular type of music is a ‘score.’
This job is specific to popular genre films as the job description calls for someone to supervise the production to ensure that all the VFX shots are completed and that it all falls within the VFX budget. In addition, the On-Set VFX Supervisor will also work with the director and D.P. and help them achieve the desired results for certain VFX-heavy shots.
Quite possibly the jolt that will start up the entire film production process, the producer is the one who will need to obtain funding for the movie. In smaller films, the producer will usually need to multitask to ensure the whole production goes smoothly. When it comes to films with a higher budget and enormous scope, there is typically more than one producer on deck. Each producer will most likely focus on a specific department moving forward.
The producer plays a highly valuable part in the entire production as not only are they the ones to acquire the budget, but they will also have to oversee every other business decision made during production.
Along with the director, the producer will always be present throughout the entire filmmaking process from conception, pre-production, production, post-production, and distribution of the finished product.
As production accountants, it is their responsibility to ensure that the film’s budget is appropriately used. Therefore, the primary responsibility of the production accountant is to keep track of the production’s budget, release the production crew’s payroll, and provide up-to-date financial projections to the Producer and Line Producer.
Considered the entry-level job in the film industry, the production assistant or P.A. is pretty much handed random tasks around the set. For example, the P.A. is often given jobs such as making sure the cast is comfortable and ready, answering phone calls, helping set up the craft services, and doing random clean-ups around the set.
This job best suits those who have just entered the filmmaking industry, providing excellent insight behind the scenes. But, of course, it goes without saying that being a P.A. can be pretty stressful, depending on the scope of the production.
The Production Coordinator is the vein that connects the entire production team. Their primary duties include coordinating with different departments to ensure the film production process moves like a well-oiled machine.
The production coordinator has similar functionalities to that of a customer service representative. If there is a concern or issue during production, the production coordinator will step up to the plate to respond.
They will also ensure that any memo from the top is communicated clearly to everyone in the production team.
Not to be mistaken for the Set Designer, the Production Designer acts explicitly as a guide for the art department to achieve the director’s vision regarding the set, costume, lighting, and makeup. In addition, they are generally in charge of communicating the overall visual style of the film to the art department, as stated by the director.
The set decorator works closely with the production designer. The set decorator’s job is to give the set its finishing touches and add some character to the atmosphere. For example, while the production designer basically plans out the whole theme of the set, it is the set decorator’s job to polish that look.
If the set calls for an abandoned vibe, the set decorator will add the weathered look and the dust in the corner of the room. However, their primary focus is on adding detail to the walls, floors, and furniture to help further tell the story visually and subtly.
The Props Manager supervises all the props that are used during production. A prop is any object that an actor uses in a scene. The props manager will be present from pre-production to production and is generally relied upon in keeping track of all the props used in the film.
The props manager and their team must be able to organize and keep track of a multitude of items. For example, in the case of reshoots, it is vital for the props manager’s team to know exactly what items were used in the scene and replicate everything from the original footage.
One of the most crucial aspects of a props manager is an impeccable eye for detail. Going through the script, the props manager must source the critical items in certain scenes. These props range from full-blown sets to more innocuous everyday things one can find around the house.
All items used in the filming will then be needed to be returned to the owner (if rented) or kept by the props manager in their warehouse for future use. You can find a cavalcade of exciting stuff in a props manager’s storeroom.
During post-production, the film must have a re-recording mixer through the entire audio track. The purpose of the re-recording mixer is to ensure that the sound in the movie is balanced. For example, ambient background noise must not overpower the dialogue. This applies to the soundtrack as well. The dialogue will be the priority, and the re-recording mixer will ensure that every sound in the film won’t overstep its proverbial boundaries.
The re-recording mixer will produce different audio mixes for films, such as one that is compatible with the sound system of a modern theater and versions suitable for television and mobile devices.
The screenwriter is the soul of the filmmaking process. They provide world-building and character arcs which the director will then interpret onto the screen. Not only do they create the worlds and characters, but the screenwriter also crafts the nail-biting moments that glue audiences on the edge of their seats. One cannot exaggerate the importance of the screenwriter in the whole film production process.
Screenwriters have two options for getting their script picked up and produced: They either sell their original work or apply for a studio project. On the flip side, there is the T.V. writer who is typically part of a team who will throw around ideas for a show with multiple episodes and seasons. One key plot point has been determined; the T.V. writer team can work out the script’s kinks.
A script analysis reviews screenplays and determines their overall marketability. In addition, they will create a short review of these film scripts funneling into Hollywood by the thousands. These brief reviews are called ‘script coverage’ and will contain a summary of the story and several notes detailing the pros and cons of the material concerning the plot itself and the level of difficulty it will pose during production.
The main goal of the script analyst is to find those ‘diamonds in the rough or the films that have the potential to be blockbuster successes in the industry.
The script supervisor’s job revolves around organization and detail. To be specific, the role of the script supervisor calls for them to keep track of all the details in each scene. These people prevent continuity errors in movies as the scenes are not shot in order.
The script supervisor is responsible for ensuring that every detail from the previous shot is maintained to the next – and so on, and so forth. The script supervisor will also take important notes given to the Editor during post-production to help them sort through the hours of footage for a specific scene.
Story Board Artist
The storyboard artist is integral to the pre-production stage as they help the director create visuals for the film’s shots. They make what is basically a comic strip that details the shots that the director wants so that everyone else will have a clear vision of the task at hand.
Having a storyboard artist that perfectly captures the vision that the director is aiming for can considerably help everybody in the production team understand the goals that they need to achieve. Thus, making the production stage flow smoother.
The Stunt Coordinator is the leader of the stunt team. Their main job is to hire stunt actors and choreograph the action scenes to make them as visually remarkable as possible while making them as safe as possible.
Stunt coordinators are highly skilled in their craft and usually begin their careers as stunt doubles themselves. They are also responsible for training stunt actors and the main cast for scenes they will need to perform during the shoot.
The stunt coordinator will also work closely with the director when choreographing action sequences to follow the vision and style that the director wants.
The Armorer is a part of the stunt coordinator’s team that handles all the firearms needed for filming. They specialize in handling firearms and are typically retired military personnel. Also, armorers tend to have an in-depth knowledge of different guns from various time periods, which is crucial for creating authenticity with period movies.
It is also the Armorer’s responsibility to ensure that the cast and crew on the set are perfectly safe when firearms are part of the scene. Even though movies will use blanks for shoots, the risk is considerable, and the utmost safety of everyone on set is the main priority.