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Reel Opportunities

Assistant to Producers

What does an Assistant to Producers do?

Assistant to Producers is an administrative role in the filmmaking process, similar to that of an Executive Assistant in business. The Assistant to Producers works closely with the Producer from pre-production through production, post-production, and is even involved in the distribution of the film. The tasks vary with each production and Producer. The Assistant to Producers will have a good overview of the entire production process and be one of the hands of the Producer.

The tasks may vary but there are many tasks an Assistant to Producers is responsible for. Some involve writing coverage on scripts, draft letters, making and managing phone calls, assisting with any on-set duties, and being a liaison between the producers and the post-production team. You have to be a jack of all trades to support the Producers and address the needs of the production.

What’s an Assistant to Producers good at?
  • Organization

    Managing a Producer’s schedule, meetings, tasks, contacts and duties during all stages of production

  • Administration

    Good with computers and software such as MS Office, Movie Magic and other film-related programs

  • Communication

    Able to communicate the needs of the Producer to key creatives and the rest of the crew, and vice versa

Who does an Assistant to Producers work with?

Assistant to Producers work closely with the Producer throughout the entire production. They also work with a multitude of the crew from pre-production to post-production. They will be communicating with the crew on the behalf of the Producer.

How do I become an Assistant to Producers?

Assistant to Producers need to have a fundamental understanding of the needs of a production. They can begin as Production Assistants and then become a personal assistant to one of the crew members. They will perform the same duties for the one individual. You can establish yourself as a good assistant and, with the understanding of the production process, be able to offer your services to Producers.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Production Assistant

Also known as: PA

What does a Production Assistant do?

The PA does just about anything and everything, from getting coffee to making script copies to shuttling crew or equipment around town as necessary. How much a Production Assistant does depends on the budget of the production, as well as how much confidence their superiors have in their abilities. They get tasked with doing many of the small jobs – such as copying call sheets & scripts, taking breakfast orders – and go around distributing these items to the crew. This allows them to learn about various aspects of the production. They can also do general office jobs like answering the phone, filing paperwork and entering data. They manage a float, buy stationery and keep everyone stocked up with caffeine and snacks. PA’s are usually freelancers.

Starting out as a PA is a great way to get to know what life on set is like and figure out what career path you may want to choose within the film world. Most departments on set, such as Art or Locations, have their own Production Assistants that are given tasks specific to that department. Depending on the production, there may be more than one type of Production Assistant on a film or television set such as ones that work on set (Set PA), or after everything has been shot (Post-production PA).

What’s a Production Assistant good at?
  • Taking instruction

    Listen carefully, do what’s asked quickly, stay calm under pressure

  • Taking initiative

    Have common sense, see what needs to be done in a situation, work without supervision

  • Multi-tasking

    Be able to be organized and prioritize when asked to do different things by different people at the same time

  • Watching film and TV drama

    Have a passion for the genre and a love of the industry

  • Learning by watching and asking

    Observe what’s happening and know when to ask about things you don’t understand

  • Reliability

    Get to set on time, be punctual

  • Communication

    Give clear and concise communication, learn the faces and names of all the senior crew members to excel in this position

  • Some items you might find helpful to take with you as part of your PA kit on set (especially on your first day) are

    Pen or Sharpie for taking notes & food or drink orders
    Flashlight for early morning or late night shifts
    Phone Charger
    Phone with map reading software
    Car mount for phone; it’s not essential but it’s very useful

Who does a Production Assistant work with?

Production Assistants work with almost everyone on the production team and crew. They are directly supervised by department heads and senior management such as the Production Manager. On a daily basis PAs interact with everyone involved. Being a PA is a great way to meet and network with crew members in the career path you are interested in.

How do I become a Production Assistant?

Educational Requirements: You might find courses in art and design, photography, drama and theatre, physics, psychology, English, graphic communication or business useful.

Make films: Learn how films are made by making films. This will help you learn the craft of film production and demonstrate your interest.

Learn to drive: It helps to get to film locations early in the morning and in out-of-the-way places.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Assistant Production Accountant

Also known as: Junior Production Accountant, 1st Assistant Accountant, Cashier, Key Assistant Accountant

What does an Assistant Production Accountant do?

Assistant Production Accountants (APA) help Production Accountants keep accurate records of how the money on a film or TV production is spent.

They primarily deal with expense claims, comparing what people have claimed with the receipts they have submitted. A major responsibility of the APA is to log timesheets given by crew members for the Payroll Accountant to process. They alsotrack money that’s been given to the crew (floats), and make sure this money is available to the relevant crew members (and returned at the end of a shoot).

They also perform petty cash reconciliations, where the cash on the site is counted and cross-referenced with outgoing spending. They photocopy, input data, and back up data. They might help ensure the production isn’t over-spending by providing comparisons between the budget and the actual spending.

What’s an Assistant Production Accountant good at?
  • Math and Computer Skills

    Enjoys crunching numbers , preparing spreadsheets and logging/computing data

  • Taking instruction

    Listen to the Production Accountant and do what’s asked

  • Discretion

    Able to keep confidential information to yourself

  • Communication

    Be social and work well with the accounts department, be able to chat to people in each department and learn what is going on in the production

  • Working long hours

    Work the same hours as the crew who will be working longer than 9 to 5 to make the most of the shooting day

Who does an Assistant Production Accountant work with?

APAs work with Production Accountants and Payroll Accountants, as well as Production Managers and heads of departments.

How do I become an Assistant Production Accountant?

There isn’t a single route to become an Assistant Production Accountant, you have to be interested and skilled in budget mathematics. You should try to sharpen your skills in this area and look for similar jobs in accounting and project management.

Here are some more tips:

Educational requirements: You might find going into a university program that has a focus in accounting, business or business studies and math useful. It will also look good on a resume when applying for different jobs.

Get an internship: Internships are jobs with training. They’re a great opportunity to earn while you learn. Try reaching out to different organizations and production companies and inquiring about possible internships.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Art Department Assistant

What does an Art Department Assistant do?

Art Department Assistants help the whole art department, but particularly the Art Director. In a studio, they help dress the set and manage the props, ensuring they are in working order and available when needed.

They also help with styling when the filming is on location, where there might be a very large area needing styling and props. If an Art Department Assistant is experienced, they might be the only person from the art department on location.

Otherwise, much of an assistant’s work is in the preparation before filming. This involves helping with the sourcing and purchasing of materials, as well as the building, painting, and finishing of props. They sometimes design and make props themselves.

Generally, Art Department Assistants are expected to pitch ideas and assist in any way that’s required, from helping transport items and making coffee to filling the gaps of any work that needs doing. On smaller budget studio shows, they might do the work of a Production Assistant alongside their other responsibilities.

What's an Art Department Assistant good at?
  • Art

    Draw conceptually (technical and freehand), work with specialist design software, build props and dress sets

  • Attention to detail

    Have thorough research skills, source correct materials and props, be organized and tidy

  • Knowledge of construction and design

    Research and awareness of the latest developments in production design

  • Knowledge of production

    Understand production techniques, studio environments, studio capabilities, and the challenges of working on location

  • Hard work

    Be able to multitask and meet deadlines

Who does an Art Department Assistant work with?

Art Department Assistants work directly with Art Directors and manage Production Assistants, but they will also work with everyone and anyone in the department, including Production Designers and Buyers.

How do I become an Art Department Assistant?

Build up your skills as an artist. Then try to find work in an entry-level role such as an art department Production Assistant, and work your way up.

Develop a wide range of art skills: Learn how to paint, do 3D modeling and graphic art. The more you can do at this stage, the more chance you have of being useful in the art department later on.

Learn to drive: If possible, get access to a car. This makes you more versatile and means you can help more.

Build a portfolio: This is essential for impressing collaborators and people in the film industry.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Camera Trainee

Also known as: 3rd Camera Assistant

What does a Camera Trainee do?

Camera Trainees work with all members of the camera crew, but they usually work most closely with the 2nd AC or Clapper Loader.
They help prepare the equipment at the beginning of the job and may be involved with camera and lens tests. They might mark actors’ positions during rehearsals and keep records, camera logs and other paperwork ready for the edit.

Monitoring can be a big part of the role; setting up the monitors, cables and wireless. If there isn’t a dedicated monitor operator, it becomes the role of the Trainee. Experienced Trainees may also be asked to take on the responsibility of using the clapperboard, changing camera batteries and helping the Focus Puller (1st AC).

The scope of the job changes depending on the size of the production. They might start out making tea and coffee and getting the sides (printouts of the scenes to be shot that day) from the production office to the camera department. On bigger productions, they might help with the second unit camera, a camera set up to do secondary shoots while the main action is taking place elsewhere.

What's a Camera Trainee good at?
  • Photography

    Have a good eye and understanding of composition, light, colour, focus and story-telling

  • Watching film and TV drama

    Have a passion for the genre and a love of the industry

  • Learning by watching and asking

    Observe the Clapper Loader and Focus Puller and ask questions at the appropriate moments

  • Taking instruction

    Listen, do what’s asked, stay calm under pressure

  • Reliability

    Arrive to set on time and also be focused on set

  • Communication

    Work well with crew members, write accurate and detailed camera reports

Who does a Camera Trainee work with?

Camera Trainees mainly work with the Clapper Loader (2nd AC) but they also come into contact with the Focus Puller, Camera Operator, Director of Photography (DoP) and the wider camera department.

How do I become a Camera Trainee?

IATSE has an excellent apprenticeship training programme that is the most direct way into this field. You can also learn a lot about cameras and other equipment in a film production programme in college, university, or independent training programmes. Here are some more tips:

Educational Requirements: If you want to go to university, take courses that let you explore different subjects, ideally with some combination of art, art and design or graphic communication with math and physics.

Get work experience: Contact video making companies and ask if you can do work experience with them.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Locations Assistant

What does a Locations Assistant do?

Locations Assistants help the location manager and unit manager with the day-to-day running of the site. They help with cordoning off areas with location marshals or security guards, and keeping the location clean. 

Locations Assistants also help guide the crew to where to park on location. They also help with paperwork regarding acquiring, and management of all locations. On set, they help set up green rooms, tents and areas for holding the cast and crew.

They make sure the locations vans are stocked with stationery, snacks, flashlights, batteries, traffic cones, signs and all the other things that are needed on a shoot.

When filming has ended, they help pack up and leave the site as it was found. They are often the first on set and last to leave each day.

What's a Locations Assistant good at?
  • Interest in locations

    Have an eye for architecture, knowledge of geography, the ability to research and visualize how a location could be turned into a set

  • Photography

    Take good pictures when researching a location

  • Watching film and TV drama

    Have a passion for movies and a love of the industry

  • Reliability

    Get to set on time and do what is asked, take responsibility

  • Being outside

    Have stamina to work long hours in all weather, enjoy being outdoors

  • Communication

    Able to take direction from the location manager and let other members of the team know what’s happening, talk to extras and everyone from the owners of a stately home to the general public wanting to know what’s filming

Who does a Locations Assistant work with?

A Locations Assistant reports to the Locations Manager and works with everyone in the team. They will also be working with the Locations Scouts in the pre-production phase of the production. They will also work with a number of other cast and crew members on set, while they create green rooms and clean the sets.

How do I become a Locations Assistant?

If you are interested in becoming a Locations Assistant, gain experience in managing or taking care of an operational space. You can apply and reach out to local productions to gain more experience as a trainee in the locations department.

Here are some more tips:

Volunteer: Help at music gigs, live events and festivals. The skills needed to set up a successful experience for hundreds of people, troubleshooting, keeping it safe, dealing with the unexpected, are very similar to those needed to work in locations.

Take a health and safety course: This can be a valuable skill on set, especially when working with equipment and vehicles. Taking a course in health and safety can set you apart from other candidates.

Learn to drive: If possible, get access to a car, and definitely ensure you are licensed to drive, as this is often an essential part of the work of the locations department. It will make you more versatile and means you can help more.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Marketing Assistant

Also known as: Brand Marketing Assistant, Junior Marketing Assistant, Marketing Communications Assistant

What does a Marketing Assistant do?

Marketing Assistants do anything that’s needed to ensure the success of a campaign to market a film or TV project; whether that’s scheduling tweets or ordering in lunch for meetings.

Marketing campaigns for film and TV dramas can include posters, newsletters, content on social media as well as trailers.

Marketing Assistants help with proofreading copy, filing, and inputting contact details into research spreadsheets. They often coordinate market research projects and use the data to help assess the effectiveness of campaigns to help with future ones.

Marketing Assistants might be employed by film sales agencies, marketing agencies, production companies or broadcasters. Big production companies will have their own marketing departments for their film and TV dramas. Smaller ones will use a separate marketing company or agency. For TV dramas, Marketing Assistants are more likely to be employed by the broadcaster or channel, such as CBC.

What's a Marketing Assistant good at?
  • Audience awareness

    Know audiences, research audience statistics, understand how they watch films or TV dramas, be aware of the commercial ‘performance’ of these

  • Watching film and TV drama

    Have a passion for the genre and a love of the industry, have a critical eye and analyze the content

  • Taking initiative

    Observe that’s happening, be proactive, ask questions at the appropriate time

  • Social media

    Enjoy creating a buzz on social media platforms, use scheduling software

  • Communication

    Write compelling copy, engage people from a wide range of backgrounds, seize initiative.

  • Organization

    Anticipate, prioritize and stay on top of tasks, provide support to your team.

Who does a Marketing Assistant work with?

Marketing Assistants work with Marketing Managers and possibly Assistant Production Accountants within an agency or department.

How do I become a Marketing Assistant?

There are no set routes to becoming a Marketing Assistant. However, a degree in marketing, communication or a film subject is useful. Become familiar with how various social media platforms work and operate.

Here are some tips:

Volunteer: Find charities, amateur theater or student film productions. Ask if you can do their social media for them. Create a campaign and keep track of how your campaign has increased visitors to the website, donations or ticket sales. Put that on your CV.

Start your own channel: Set up a review blogging site or content channel. This is the marketing version of having a portfolio. You can send a link with your CV to show your writing and online skills, and, equally importantly, your interest in film and TV drama.

Look outside the industry: Marketing is important in all industries, not just film and TV drama, so there are plenty of agencies and departments elsewhere that have marketing assistant roles. Apply for junior marketing roles in any industry to build up your skills. You can transfer those to the film or TV industry later on.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Casting Assistant

What does a Casting Assistant do?

Casting Assistants offer general help with finding actors to star in a film or TV drama. They are generally employed as freelancers by Casting Directors, although they can also be hired on a permanent contract within busier casting offices.

Casting Directors are taken on by Producers and Directors to cast actors who fit the character brief, look right for a role, act well, are available, whose fees cost a suitable amount for the production’s budget and who will attract the right audience. Casting Assistants help with this, though their role can vary depending on the scale and budget of the production.

They read the script and help the Casting Director draw up a list of possible actors for the main role. The Casting Assistant will call agents to check actors’ availability. They help out with screen tests, operating the camera and offering general support in casting sessions. They also assist with general office duties. They answer the phone and make tea and coffee. General office admin and excellent computer skills are also a large part of their job. This includes editing and uploading footage from casting sessions for the Producer and Director to watch.

What's a Casting Assistant good at?
  • Knowledge of the industry

    Have strong knowledge of and a passion for film or TV drama with the ability to recognize talent

  • Knowledge of actors and networking

    Build up connections with actors and industry professionals, have an understanding of the art of acting and be aware of new and existing talent

  • Video

    Operate video cameras in screen tests, use software to edit together clips

  • Administrative skills

    Complete office and organizational tasks efficiently, have a professional phone and email manner for contacting actors and clients, anticipate what needs to be done next

  • Communication

    Band producers, work efficiently alongside the casting director and team to ensure the smooth-running of casting sessions

Who does a Casting Assistant work with?

Casting Assistants work with Casting Directors, and sometimes Casting Associates. They work directly with Actors and liaise with Producers and Agents.

How do I become a Casting Assistant?

There are no specific qualifications or training to work in casting. The most important thing is to have a wide knowledge of film or TV productions and be well informed about new and existing actors. You need good taste and an eye for talent. You also need experience of working with actors. A Casting Director is a senior role so you need a lot of experience and connections before you can become one. A good route into this role is as a Casting Assistant.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Driver

What does a Driver do?

The Driver is responsible for assisting the Transportation Coordinator, the transportation department, and the transportation needs of the film crew and staff. They are responsible for driving vehicles (including trucks or trailers used for makeup, costumes, lighting and other gear), personal trailers for the actors, and any cars that will actually be used on camera.

Drivers can also do anything from transporting equipment, props, costumes, set pieces, to moving and setting up base camp with various trailers. They also pick up and drop off crew members from base or studios to various locations, or pick up talent at hotels and bring them to wardrobe fittings or makeup or to and from set.

The basic skills required for this job are good organizational skills, attention to detail, awareness of various rules and regulations, scheduling skills, managing a team, negotiating skills…and of course, being able to drive! In some provinces, you may be required to hold a specialized license to drive larger trucks.

What's a Driver good at?
  • Organization

    Be good at scheduling and keeping track of transporting cargo

  • Communication

    Work with the team towards a shared goal, be able to communicate clearly with all team members

  • Resilience

    Remain calm and confident under pressure, cope well with fast- paced environments and short deadlines, be adaptable, use initiative, have a positive attitude

  • Attention to detail

    Be aware of the various rules and regulations and follow them accordingly when transporting cast and crew

Who does a Driver work with?

Drivers work closely with the Transport Captains and Transport Coordinators. They also closely interact with talent and the location department.

How do I become a Driver?

You must be willing to create contacts with transportation department leaders and Producers in order to become a transportation department Driver. If you are serious about being a driver, you should research what type of driver’s license is required in your province or territory. For example, In Ontario, a Class A or D license could be helpful.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.