The production office is referred to the “front office” and includes staff such as the production manager, production coordinator and their assistants; the accounting staff; the assistant directors, sometimes the locations manager and assistants. The following are jobs within the production office:
- Production Manager – supervises the physical aspects of the production (not the creative aspects) including personnel, technology, budget and scheduling. It is the production manager’s responsibility to make sure the filming stays on schedule and within its budget. The production manager also helps manage the day-to-day budget by managing operating costs such as salaries, production costs and everyday equipment rental costs.
- Production Coordinator – the information nexus of the production. Responsible for organizing all the logistics from hiring crew, renting equipment, and booking talent. The production coordinator is an integral part of the film production.
- Assistant Director (1st and 2nd) – assists the production manager and the director. Generally in charge of overseeing the day-to-day management of the cast and crew including scheduling, equipment, script and the set.
- Production Assistant – assists the first assistant director with set operations. Production assistants, referred to as “pa’s”. Also assists in the production office with general tasks.
- Script supervisor – also known as “continuity person” keeps track of what parts of the script have been filmed and makes notes of any deviations between what was actually filmed and what appeared in the script.
- Grips– the grips are the lighting and rigging technicians. They function as a cross between a mechanic and a construction worker on the set. A grip’s job responsibilities include: working closely with the camera department especially if the camera is mounted onto a dolly or crane; work closely with the electrical department to put in lighting set ups necessary for a shot. Grips do not actually work on the lighting (they are not technically electricians) but handle all other necessary equipment; responsible for all “rigging” on the set including lighting equipment rigged over actors and crew, working with pulleys, steel cables; responsible for all safety on the set as it relates to the equipment they work with.There are several grip positions:
- Key grip – the foreman of the grip department. Oversees the work and responsibilities of all of the grips on the set.
Best boy grip – assists the key grip but assumes more responsibility for the hiring and scheduling of the crew; overseas the rental of the equipment on the set.
- Dolly grip – operates the camera dollies or camera cranes.
- Gaffer – head of the electrical department (sometimes called the chief lighting technician). Works closely with the director of photography and overseas the work of the assistants;
- Best boy electric – assistant to the gaffer. Generally responsible for the daily running of the lighting, hiring and scheduling of the crew; coordinating the rigging crews (depending upon the size of the production).
The art department is responsible for the overall look of the film. In a major film it can include hundreds of people. Generally there are several sub-departments including an art director and set designers; the set decoration; the props master; construction headed by the construction coordinator; scenic headed by the key scenic artist and special effects.
- Production Designer– works directly with the director and producer to select the settings and style to visually tell the story. Begins work in pre-production working with the director, producer and director of photograph to establish the visual feel and aesthetic needs of the project. Works with the costume designer, hair and make-up stylists, special effects director and location manager to establish a unified visual appearance to the film.The following positions work under the production designer:
- Art Director – directly overseas artists and craftspeople such as set designers, graphic artists and illustrators who assist in the development of the production design.
- Set Designer – a draftsman or architect who realizes the structures or interior spaces called for by the production designer.
- Set Decorator – in charge of decorating the film set including furnishings and all other objects that will be seen in the film. They work closely with the production designer and coordinates with the art director.
- Buyers – work for the set decorator. They are responsible for locating and purchasing or renting the set dressing.
- Set Dresser – apply and remove the “dressing” i.E. Furniture, drapery, carpets, lighting – everything one would find on a particular set.
- Props Master – in charge of finding and managing all of the props required for the shooting of the film.
- Props Builder – builds the props that are used for the film. Props builders are often technicians skilled in construction, plastics casting, machining and electronics.
- Set Dressers – responsible for the placement of all furniture, drapery, carpeting and all accessories you might find on any particular set. Most of the work of the dressers is accomplished before the crew arrives and after they have left the set. Generally one or more dressers remain on the set during filming.
- Art Department Production Assistant
- Construction Coordinator – overseas the construction of all the sets. The coordinator orders materials, schedules the work, and supervises the (often sizeable) crew of carpenters, painters and laborers.
- Head Carpenter – the foreman of a “gang” of carpenters and laborers.
- Greens – a specialized set dresser dealing with the artistic arrangement or landscape design of plant material. Sometimes real and sometimes artificial and usually a combination of both. Depending upon the amount of greens work in a film, the greensman may report to the art director or may report to the production designer.
- Director of Photography (D.P) – is the head of all technical departments on a film crew and is responsible for establishing how the script is translated into visual images based on the director’s request.
- Camera Operator (C.O.) – Works closely with the D.P to determine the composition for each shot as instructed by the director. The primary job of the camera operator is to make smooth pan and tilt moves in order to maintain the composition of the subject and also the keeps the action within the frame lines.
- First Assistant Cameraman ( 1st A.C.) (Focus Puller) – knows and understands all professional motion picture camera equipment and accessories currently used in the industry. 1st A.C. Reads the script so that he/she is aware of the story and recommends any special equipment that may be need to carry out specific shots and is responsible for the overall care and maintenance of all camera equipment during production.
- Second Assistant Cameraman ( 2nd A.C.) (Clapper/Loader) – before production, 2nd A.C. Must obtain a supply of empty cans, black bags, camera reports, and cores from the lab or asks the production manger to arrange for these supplies, prepares a list of expendables with the 1st A.C, also preps camera package along with the 1st A.C.
- Loader – loads and unloads all film magazines during the course of filming, properly labels all loaded film magazines and cans of exposed film and short ends, prepares exposed film for delivery to the lab and delivers it to the production company representative at the end of each shooting day, and also provides all the necessary tools and accessories that are associated with performing the job.
Make up department
- Make-up Artist – plays a very important role in the overall appearance of the talent. The goal of the make up artist is to make everyone on screen look as good as possible. He/she works closely with the director and production team to create the look that is required for the various parts of the movie. The make-up artist also uses their skills to minimize the potential negative effects of the harsh lighting.
- Hair Stylist – prepares the performers scalp and skin and creates hairstyles that suit production requirements.
- Location Scout – location scouting is a vital process in the pre-production stage of filmmaking and commercial photography. Location scouts work directly with producers and director have decided what general scenery is required to meet the creative needs of the project outside of the studio space the search for compatible locations begins. Locations are selected both in terms of the “look” they offer but also the feasibility and ease of filming at the particular location. Access to a power source, parking, etc are all important factors the location scout must take into consideration.
- Location Manager – is responsible for making all the practical arrangements necessary for filming on location. Duties include but are not limited to: creating and entering into location contract agreements, creating parking plans for working vehicles, identifying and arranging for power and water sources, working with affected residents, property owners, and businesses.
- Property Master – is responsible for the procurement or production, inventory , care and maintenance of all props associated with productions, ensuring that they are all available on time, and with budgetary requirements. They also ensure that selected props suit the film style and overall design, and that they reflect the production’s time period and culture.