The Roles

Assistant Camera (A.C.): Responsible for the care and maintenance of the camera and all of its associated pieces and parts. The first A.C. works closely with the camera operator and the director of photography at the cameras, while the second A.C. loads the film and runs the slate. A director of photography will often have a favorite A.C. with whom he or she prefers to work.

Assistant Director (A.D.): An assistant to the director, the first A.D. runs the set, plans the cost-efficient scheduling of locations and talent, schedules the days’ shooting and is responsible for carrying out the director’s instructions. The second A.D. signs actors in and out, handles paperwork relating to the number of hours worked, and is usually the person in charge of production assistants.

Art Director: Designs and constructs sets for the production designer.

Associate Producer: The top assistant to the producer, usually the intermediary between the Producer and the shooting crew.

Best Boy: The head electrician responsible for getting power to the set. Reports to the gaffer.

Camera Operator: Runs the camera during shooting. On low-budget films, the D.P. may also serve as the Operator.

Casting Director: Responsible for supplying actors for the film. Works with the producer and director.

Craft Services: Provides snacks, soft drinks, coffee, etc.

Director: Controls the action and dialogue in front of the camera. Translates the written word into visuals and dialogue.

Director of Photography (D.P.): Responsible for the “look” of the film; works with the lighting director to set-up shots and camera moves. The D.P. has the ultimate responsibility for ensuring that each scene is properly recorded on film. Sometimes called the cinematographer.

Dolly Grip: Prepares the camera dolly and associated hardware, and operates the dolly during the shoot.

Editor: Cuts the film and splices it together. There is usually more than one editor on a large project.

Electrician: A member of the electrical department; reports directly to the Best Boy.

Executive Producer: Arranges financing, but may not be directly involved with the day-to-day productions of the film. This is sometimes conferred upon a studio executive who works with several projects simultaneously.

Foley Artist: A sound effects artist who works on a special “Foley” stage where sound effects are recorded to match visuals such as doors closing, feet walking, and window breaking.

Gaffer: Works with the D.P. and the lighting director to light the scene. Handles the equipment.

Grip: Works with the lighting and camera departments. The backbone of the film shoot, grips are responsible for moving equipment and generally assisting the production team. The key grip is the head of the grip department.

Line Producer: Responsible for keeping the film’s costs down. Approves expenses, including locations, actors, and crew.

Location Manager: Scouts locations and negotiates use agreements with property owners. Works with the transportation captain to make sure there is enough parking at the location; works with local officials to coordinate shooting schedules, and is responsible for the condition of the locations after shooting is finished.

Location Scout: Searches for the perfect locations, both in terms of artistic and logistic considerations. Often becomes the location manager once production has begun.

Mixer: Takes care of all sound levels in a studio, on location and in post-production. Head of the sound department.

Producer: Brings a specific production together. Chooses the screenplay, arranges financing, hires a director, helps in the casting process, and is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the shoot. Is involved with the editing and all post-production and may also consult on marketing and distribution.

Production Assistant (P.A.): The runners, ‘gophers’ on the set. The job can include holding back onlookers, getting coffee, answering phones in the production office, escorting actors to locations, acting as a stand-in while a short is worked out, or performing any other tasks required to make the production run more smoothly.

Production Designer: Responsible for sets, props and costumes. Works closely with the director to determine the overall ‘look’ of the film.

Production Manager (P.M.): Makes the business deals, including hotel/housing, crew hiring, equipment rental and budget management. The P.M. works with the A.D. on scheduling and review production reports. The P.M. signs checks.

Production Unit: The team of the director, camera crew, lighting department, sound crew, electrician and everyone else who works on the shoot.

Screenwriter: Writes a script, either from an original idea or from an existing book or story.

Script Supervisor: Keeps track of how many takes are made of each shot and scene, how long they ran and who was in them, and makes detailed notes about what took place, such as; was her hat on or off? Was the glass half full or empty? This is important so scenes can be recreated if they need to be re-shot. Also referred to as continuity.

Slate: A board (usually black and white) placed in front of the cameras at the beginning or end of each take of each scene, identifying the scene and take numbers.

Special Effects: Can be either mechanical (breakaway chairs), or optical (in-camera effects like speeding up the film), computer graphics, or a combination.

Stand-in: A member of the production team who takes the place of the actor while the director, D.P. and camera operator set up the shot. Usually a P.A.

Stunt Coordinators: Stages the stunts and works with the stunt players. Responsible for the safety of all involved in the filming of a stunt.

Talent Agent: Represents actors, models and extras and tries to get them work on film, television, video or still-print projects.

Transportation Captain: Makes sure everyone gets to the location. Responsible for all vehicle movement and parking. All drivers report to the transportation captain.

Unit Manager/Unit Production Manager (U.P.M.): Assists the production manager or the company’s business manager with the day-to-day financial operations of the shoot. Sometimes also functions as a location scout.

Video Assist: Operates a small video system called a video tap that records everything the camera is recording. This allows the director to see what the camera operator sees thus assuring that the shot looks the way it was planned to.

Wardrobe: Not to be confused with the costume designer, the wardrobe department handles the costumes on the set. Usually there is one department for men and one for women. [ from Glossary ]
















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