Film Production Roles
Filmmaking is a team effort. It is a fine example of how team members complement each other to create a saleable product. Even if one group does not pull its weight, the results can be disastrous. A film is a very expensive product, it is imperative that all roles perform to the best of their ability.
Listed below are the major jobs in filmmaking, in no particular order.
· The Executive Producer is the head producer and has a financial and creative stake in taking the film to production. He may be involved in legal aspects like securing rights and financing. He makes sure a film is completed on time and budget.
· The Producer’s job is to take charge of the film. He is involved in all phases of the filmmaking process from start to finish and ensures that a stellar quality movie is produced on time and within budget.
· The Director is the boss of the creative team. It is his vision that is presented on the screen. He selects the cast, crew and location for a film. The technical teams like camera, sound and editing report to the director.
· The Line Producers create costing for investors and run the day to day production. They manage budgeting and scheduling. They determine pay rates, below the line budgeting, draft shooting schedules, hiring and firing staff, managing contracts with vendors, etc.
· The director is helped by the Assistant Director (AD). The AD manages the practicalities of the filmmaking process like maintaining the film’s schedule, overseeing preparation of the daily call sheet and maintaining safety on the film set or location. The 1st AD works with Line Producer to organize crew, secures equipment and manages schedule. The 2nd AD is the chief assistant to the 1st AD. He prepares call sheet and daily reports.
· The Scriptwriter develops story ideas and writes the script. He understands audience choices and creates a compelling narrative. He researches and generates ideas, plans stories, develops characters and brings them all together in a narrative.
· The Casting Director helps select the right cast for the roles. He keeps track of new and existing talent, and holds auditions. He negotiates deals with actors’ agents and manages contracts once they are signed. The final say of who will be cast, however, lies with the Director or Producer.
· The Location Scout chooses the most suitable location for a film within the budget. He obtains necessary clearance and release for the use of locations. Once the shooting is over, he makes sure the location is handed back in acceptable condition.
· The Transportation Manager manages a team of drivers and is responsible for daily transport needs of cast, crew and equipment.
· The Script Supervisor is a role rarely used in Indian film industry but very common abroad. It is his responsibility to ensure that the film’s continuity is maintained even though films are seldom shot in a sequence. He tracks production’s daily progress and notes changes to the script.
· The Director of Photography is the chief of the camera crew. He achieves the look and feel as needed by production. He is assisted by a team of people such as camera operators, focus pullers, grips, gaffers, etc. During takes, he also checks for continuity and proper lighting.
· The Sound Mixer is the lead crew in the audio department. He ensures that dialogues and sound in the film are clear. He removes any unwanted noise from the film. He supervises the boom operator.
· The Boom Operator positions the microphones so that the best quality sound is captured and the equipment or its shadow is not visible in the film. He also maintains sound equipment.
· The Gaffer is the chief electrician on a set. He implements the Director of Photography’s lighting plan. During takes, gaffer can double up as boom operator, focus puller or provide other camera support.
· The Grip is a member of the crew who builds and operates cranes and pulleys needed to move a camera and lighting equipment during shooting.
· The Production Assistants are the foot soldiers, they support the crew and make sure their needs are met. They could be involved in office administration, crowd control, cleaning up locations, loading and unloading equipment, etc. They ensure that the shoot runs smoothly.
· The Costume Designer is responsible for designing apt costumes and accessories for the cast as per the requirements of the story’s characters. He chooses the correct shape, color and texture to create a strong visual impact on the viewers.
· The Make-up Artist works on the principal and supporting actors. He creates make-up and hairstyles so that a character looks the part set by production. A make-up artist usually accompanies the actors on the set and provides touch-up as needed. After shooting, he also removes makeup.
· The Wardrobe Supervisor keeps track of costumes and makes sure they are in ready-to wear condition and are labelled correctly. He ensures wardrobes are cleaned and pressed properly and maintains inventory of the clothes.
· The Production Designer manages the visual aspect of a film. He is responsible for the entire art department. He produces sketches and models to illustrate his vision for a set or location.
· The Prop master is responsible for sourcing and making of props such as newspapers, weapons, musical instruments, food, etc.
· The Music Composers write the original music for the film. They accentuate the impact of a scene on the audience.
· The Stunt coordinator choreographs stunts and special effects. He has to produce thrilling action sequences safely, efficiently and affordably.
· The Choreographer is an inherent part of Indian cinema. He designs dance sequences to go with musical numbers in a film.
· The job of an Editor is selecting shots and sequencing them in a way that makes the film a coherent whole.
· The Sound Designer/ Sound Editor manages post production sound requirements. He is in-charge of sound budget, plans the sound process and accommodates special sound requests by the director.
· The Post-production supervisor is responsible for post-production process. He works with different artists and professionals to ensure they are on schedule.
The above list is by no means all inclusive. There are many specialized roles that go into making a film. Some may be required for a short duration, but could still be critical for the film. All jobs are vital to turn out a high quality end product.
Photo - © Copyright Joseph Mischyshyn and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.