Different jobs available in the TV and Film Industries… By Aimee Barker Priesthorpe
Sections of jobs within the media industry…
There are hundreds of jobs within the TV and Film Industry. The majority of the jobs require specialist skills in a wide range of areas.
Management; Organisational; Administrative
Non – Creative
Maintenance of the production
For each of these sections I going to list some of the jobs which appear under that category and then instead of describing each job, I will select 2 job roles and describe them in detail.
Management; Organisational; Administrative
In the film industry accountants are particularly critical. Large sums of money need to be accumulated and spent within a relatively short period of time, ongoing changes to budgets occur throughout development, pre-production, production and post-production.
Even though this can be seen as a creative job, what with needing the ability to imagine how the right actor can bring a character to life on screen. But organisational skills are one of the most important qualities needed for those job roles. Casting is finding the right people for the parts given.
Health and Safety
The Health and Safety at Work Act l974 places a duty on the employer, and employees, to work in a safe manner. In the film industry this is particularly important given the unusual applications and substances that are put to use in the industry, such as ‘Grip’, ‘Crane Operator’, ‘Pyrotechnics’, ‘Set Construction’, ‘Scenery/Property Handling’ and ‘Stunt Artist’. The ultimate responsibility for health and safety lies with the employer involved in the film and the organizations in control of premises and facilities.
Management; Organisational; Administrative Casting Casting Directors organise and facilitate the casting of actors for all the roles in a film. They not only look at the actors themselves but the chemistry between them. This involves working closely with the Director and Producer to understand their requirements, and suggesting ideal artists for each role, giving their opinion and input is essential so that they have the best actors and actresses for their production. This includes arranging and conducting interviews and auditions. Once the parts are cast, the Casting Director negotiates fees and contracts for the actors, and acts as a liaison (messenger) between the Director, the actors and their agents. Casting Directors must have an extensive knowledge of actors and how they could be suitable for a part. They need vast knowledge of a range of actors, and and extensive understanding of their capabilities. They need to have a strong instinct for acting talent and a be very committed and passionate about the job in hand. In pre-production, Casting Directors work with both the Director and the Producer, who rely on the Casting Director to help them to get suitable cast members for the production. This means that the Casting Directors must have in-depth and up-to-date knowledge of new and existing acting talent. They are responsible for matching the ideal actor to each role, based on a number of factors, such as the actor's experience, ability, reputation, availability and looks. Casting Directors also work closely with Production Accountants to prepare the casting budget. Casting Directors organise and conduct interviews and auditions for each part, and are also in charge of offering each actor an appropriate fee to appear in the film. This means hiring out venues to hold the auditions/interview. As well as drawing up and negotiating the terms and conditions of contracts with agents, once casting is complete. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills are vital in order to communicate with a range of people, this includes production staff, talent agents and the actors themselves. Negotiation and organisational skills are also essential for agreeing actors' fees, and arranging the terms and conditions of their contracts. Being able to persuade an actor and their agent that the film/show they are filming is worthwhile is key. Casting Directors must be ‘patient’ and ‘hard-working’ at all times, as the job can be very demanding. The decisions they make are essential and so a lot of stress and pressure is put on them to succeed.. A basic understanding of how to operate a video camera (framing, focus, etc.) is an advantage. Although there are no specific training or qualifications for this role, Casting Directors are usually graduates of Arts, English, Film, Theatre, Communications, or Media Studies, and so on. Having excellent organisational and presentational skills is key to succeeding in this industry. A lot of convincing is needed to succeed in this job and so confidence with the decisions they make is necessary.
Films can be located anywhere; creating the visual world or setting for a film is the role of the Art Department. A great deal of work and imagination goes into constructing appropriate backdrops which is appropriate for any story.
Hair and Makeup
The Hair and Make-up Department is responsible for the design, application, continuity and care of hair and make-up during feature film production.
The term 'Costume' refers to the clothes that the Actors wear. The Costume Department is responsible for the design, fitting, hire, purchase, manufacture, continuity and care of all costume items on feature films.
Editing and Post – Production
Post Production is the term for the final stage in film making in which the raw material (shot by the Camera crew and recorded by the Production Sound crew) is edited together to form the completed film.
The Script Department
The screenplay provides a written blueprint for the entire film making process. They are people who write/create the short or feature-length screenplays from which films and television programs are based.
Creative Art Department
Months before the beginning of each film shoot, the Production Designer works with the Director to decide upon the visual
aspect of the film. This means drawing up sketches which provide the inspiration and the determination for the subsequent work
of that department. Since the work of the Art Department usually accounts for the biggest spend on films, the Production
Designer also works closely with the Producer to ensure that all the sets can be delivered on time and within budget.
Transforming the initial drawings/sketches to 3-dimensional sets takes an enormous amount of talent and commitment from
Everyone working within the Art Department . From the Production Designer to the Art Department Runner. Months are spent
researching, story boarding, drafting, model making, visiting locations, building sets, ordering props and dressing sets before
Throughout the shoot, new sets must be built and then dismantled within short periods of time, and the Art Department must be
Constantly on standby in case sets need to be changed or rebuilt.
The creative jobs in this department require an eye for decoration and detail, the ability to conceptualize ideas and think visually.
Also another aspect of personality which is essential when working in the arts department is a methodical approach to work.
Excellent communication skills are essential as being able to communicate with different types of people on all different levels. Art
Directors and Production Designers usually enter the Art Department as Runners, progressing to become Trainees, Assistants, and
Junior Draughts men (Draughts man – A person skilled in drawing) before earning the opportunity to take more senior positions as
Assistant Art Directors. Set Decorators usually start as Assistant Set Decorators. There are also a number of support roles,
including Production Buyers and Art Department Co-coordinators, which are less creative but which require excellent
Non Creative Film Transport The transport department supports the production process. It moves all the equipment and crew to every location necessary during filming. On big shoots the transport must be delivered overseas, and it is this department which organises it. They must also organise suitable permits to allow overseas storage. If one element of equipment is not transported, it can set back the filming and can be very costly! This is something that should at all costs be avoided. Distribution Film distribution involves the launching and sustaining films in the marketplace. The film business is product driven, Film Distributors connect each film they release with the widest possible audience. As every new title is distinctive and different, Distributors must be strategic and knowledgeable about promotion and publicity in order to entice audiences to see their films, ensuring successful film release, plans are needed. Health & Safety Department The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 places a duty on the employer, and employees, to work in a safe manner. Health and Safety- Advisor/Consultant Health and Safety Advisors (or Consultants) in the film industry give advice on health and safety management systems within each film or production, reviewing each company's Health and Safety policy, and ensuring that health and safety arrangements and the appropriate personnel are in place. Publicity/Press Press and publicity plays a vital role in the marketing of films. Press campaigns are carefully planned in advance and encompass both Unit Publicity (carried out during the film shoot) and Distribution Publicity (arranged to coincide with the film's release).
Non - Creative Publicity & Press
Press and publicity plays a vital role in the marketing of films. Press campaigns are carefully planned in advance and include both ‘Unit Publicity’ (carried out during the film shoot) and ‘Distribution Publicity’ (arranged to coincide with the film's release).
These two areas require different specialist skills and usually involve two different experts or Publicity companies. ‘Unit Publicists’ are hired by Producers, Distributors or Sales Agents and together they plan appropriate press strategies involving regional, national and international media, which include Newspapers, Magazines, Radio, Terrestrial and Satellite Television, Internet Broadcasting, and so on. Technology is changing and more and more people are becoming interactive through technology, meaning twitter is one of the new ways to market a film/production!
In any business, a film production's financial resources must be meticulously managed and controlled by skilled Accountants. In the film industry their role is particularly critical, large sums of money need to be accumulated, managed and spent within a short period of time. Ongoing changes to budgets occur throughout development, pre-production, production and post-production.
Production Accountants are responsible for managing finances and maintaining financial records during film production.
There are two types of Financial Controllers who perform different roles depending on the specific circumstances of film productions….
Assistant Accountants are experienced bookkeepers who assist Production Accountants and Key Assistant Accountants to control finances during feature film production.
Key Assistant Accountant
On larger films Senior, or Key Assistant Accountants may act as the Production Accountant's "right hand".
There are two types of Financial Controllers who perform different roles depending on the specific circumstances of film productions:
1. A large production company, studio or broadcaster may employ an experienced ‘Production Accountant’ or qualified ‘Accountant’ as a ‘Financial Controller’, to ensure that proper financial controls and reporting procedures are in place across every aspect of the company's activities, including those of individual productions.
2. On larger productions, a ‘Freelance Senior Production Accountant’ may be engaged as a Financial Controller to oversee the work of the Film Production Accountant and of the Accounts team. The role of Financial Controllers is very challenging and requires good analytical skills, a wide-ranging perspective, and flexibility regarding schedules and working hours.
Financial Controllers are responsible for controlling accounting, taxation and the financial analysis that is needed for all the company's areas of operation, this may also include development, production and distribution. Financial Controllers may also be required to supervise the activities of one or more full-time Assistants.
On individual productions, Financial Controllers normally help Producers and Executive Producers to prepare original budgets and to raise finance, taking into consideration any relevant Government Tax Incentive schemes that may be available at that time.
Financial Controller Financial
Editorial Post Production is the term for the final stage in film making in which the raw material (shot by the Camera crew and recorded by the Production Sound crew) this is edited together to form the completed film.
Sound – Post Production
Once film shoots have finished, the Post Production and Sound Department begin work on constructing the sonic identity of the film. This involves a variety of work, ranging from creating the noises of giant explosions or car crashes to the art of adding subtle sounds that enrich the language and feeling of films.
The highly challenging and rewarding job of an Editor is to work closely with the Director after the filming is completed, to select shots and edit them into a series of scenes, which are in turn assembled to create a coherent whole, ensuring that the story flows effortlessly from beginning to end.
Post – Production Supervisor
Post Production Supervisors are responsible for the post production process.
Assistant Editors are responsible for running and maintaining Editing systems, and for the smooth running of the cutting room on feature films.
Title Designers design the opening titles for films, the captions that appear in the film giving details of time, place etc., and the end cards and moving roller listing all members of cast and crew.
Editorial Assistant Editor
Assistant Editors are responsible for running and maintaining Editing systems, and for the smooth running of the cutting room on feature films. Individual Editors may have their own preferences about how the work is organised, but good Assistant Editors are able to adapt their own methods accordingly. They support the whole of the post production process on feature films. Assistant Editors are usually recommended to Producers by Editors, who prefer to work with the same Assistant. Assistant Editors are normally employed, on a freelance basis, from the first day of principal photography and see the film through to picture lock (when the Director and/or Executive Producer give final approval of the picture edit).
They work long hours and are the first to arrive in the morning, setting the cutting room up for the day, and usually the last to leave in the evenings when the cutting room has been tidied and prepared for the next day. Jobs last between six months and eight months on average.
Assistant Editors take charge of the day-to-day running of the cutting room, leaving the Editor free to concentrate on the work of editing the film. Their first task is to communicate with other relevant departments (Production, Camera, Sound, etc.) in order to understand and analyze the requirements of the work flow, and to pass this information on to the Editor.
During the shoot, while the Editor starts to work on a rough assembly of selected rushes, Assistant Editors check the camera sheets when the rushes arrive, noting any technical problems.
In digital editing, Assistant Editors often work in a different room to the Editor and, on low budget films, may be required to sync rushes early in the morning or late at night when the editing machine is not being used by the Editor. Assistant Editors must therefore be more proactive in monitoring how the edit is progressing. Depending on the workload, and providing the Editor trusts the Assistant, whole segments of the assembly edit may be given over to Assistant Editors, who can use this opportunity to demonstrate their flair and ability. When picture lock is achieved, one of the Assistant Editors' last tasks is to compile an Edit Decision List, which provides a record of all the edit points on the film for the Negative Cutters.
Maintenance of the production
Film crews work long hours and need to eat well and catering is provided by specialist companies.
Health and Safety
Under health and safety legislation, the ultimate responsibility for health and safety lies with the employer involved and the organisations in control of premises and facilities. The underlying need is for every employer to establish appropriate organisational structures that support risk control and place health and safety alongside editorial and/or dramatic considerations. It is the responsibility of every employer to ensure that employees are competent to carry out work safely. In order to do this they must produce a Health and Safety Policy in the form of a Production Safety Plan, which details all health and safety arrangements for the company or production. All employers and employees are also encouraged to be aware of health and safety risks, and risk assessments should be carried out regularly in all departments.
The business of filmmaking starts and finishes with the work of the Producers and of the Production Department. Without the strenuous efforts of these dynamic individuals there would be no films and no film industry. It is their role to foster a protected environment in which creative individuals can be brought together, and in which their talents may be cultivated.
Maintenance of the Production Catering Crew
Film crews work long hours and need to eat well. On sets or locations, the standard daily meals are breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus tea or snacks if the crew are required to work late into the evening. Catering is provided by specialist companies who drive catering trucks packed with food and a range of equipment including ovens, extraction fans, fridges, gas and water, to each Unit Base. On big films, these trucks can be 35ft in length and weigh up to 8 tons. Catering companies vary in size; the biggest have as many as 20 trucks, employ hundreds of staff and have their own garage for maintaining their vehicles. The smallest comprise of one or two individuals who prepare the menus, buy, cook and serve the food, make teas and coffees, and clean and drive the truck to and from the location.