Reel Opportunities

Gaffer

Also known as: Chief Electrician, Supervising or Chief Lighting Technician

What is a Gaffer?
What does a Gaffer do?

Gaffers work closely with the Director of Photography (DoP) to bring to life the overall look of a film by creating and controlling light.

They work with the DoP to understand the desired light effects and figure out how to achieve them. They go on location scouts to see how the lighting will work on location and draw up a list of the equipment that will be needed to achieve the artistic vision.

Then they pitch for the equipment. They put in a request to the Line Producer or Production Manager for the equipment they need and appoint the Best Person to hire the crew and order the gear. During filming, they work out the positioning of the lights and the fastest way to change the lighting setups between shots. Gaffers mediate between the DoP and the rest of the lighting crew.

They’re also responsible for safety and need to comply with the scientific theory of electricity, driving, and employment.

What's a Gaffer good at?
  • Understanding light

    Have an artistic eye, know the techniques required to achieve different lighting effects and the kit needed to achieve them

  • Electrical knowledge

    Have an in-depth understanding of circuits, power supplies, motors, cables, fuses, thermal relays, fault current protection switches, heating, lighting, air conditioning and more

  • Knowledge of film-making

    Be able to understand the production process, particularly the roles of the director of photography and how the gaffer role fits in

  • Communication

    Be able to draw up plans and explain them to the crew, communicate well with the director of photography and the lighting crew, be clear and approachable even when making quick decisions under pressure

  • Organization

    Work within a budget, schedule the crew and the kit requirements, prioritize and meet deadlines

  • Working at heights

    Be good at climbing ladders as most lights are set up above the head height

Who does a Gaffer work with?

The Gaffer oversees the lighting department and works closely with the Best Person who is mainly responsible for getting the right lights to the right places at the right times, the Lighting Technician who sets up the lighting equipment and manages the gear, and the Generator Operator who load and transport the generators required for productions. The Gaffer also works closely with the Director of Photography (DoP) to configure the layout and positioning of the lighting to best achieve the DoP’s vision.

How do I become a Gaffer?

Gaffers should be fully qualified Electricians, so your first step is to get yourself qualified and experienced in electrical installation. Then you need to develop contacts in the film and TV drama industry to get experience working on film sets. Look at the electrical trainee job profile to learn more about how to do this. Once you have found your way into the lighting team, you need to work your way through the roles outlined above.

Work with a kit hire company: Get work experience with a kit rental company. Look for companies that supply equipment to the theater, film, TV, and events industries. Get to know the best persons coming in and ask if they would take you on as a trainee.

More tips

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

Professional Organizations Associated With This Role

Each region of Canada has different professional organizations associated with jobs in films and television. Select your region for more information.

This position is represented by the following unions/guilds in your selected region.

Sorry, we couldn’t find a professional organization associated with this role in the region you selected.

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

Post-Production Supervisor

What does a Post-Production Supervisor do?

Post-Production Supervisors help a Producer achieve as much as is possible in the edit process without going over budget. Post-production Supervisors are the main line of communication between the Producers, Director, Editors, Sound Editors, 3rd party facilities, and the Production Accountant. Though it’s not a creative role, the Post-production Supervisor is integral to the delivery of the film or television series.

On films that involve using complex CGI (computer-generated images), they make sure the Producer’s aware of all the creative and financial considerations of post-production before work on the film even begins.

Post-Production Supervisors help hire staff for the edit, like Sound Editors and Titles Designers. They work closely with the Production Accountant, supplying accurate information for the cost reports.

They usually continue to work on the production until all the elements needed for the completion of the film are delivered. This includes the music and effects version, which allows the dialogue track to be replaced with different languages.

What’s a Post-Production Supervisor good at?
  • Understanding post-production

    Know the process in detail, stay up-to-date with the effects that can be achieved through constantly changing technology

  • Budgeting

    Plan, use film budgeting software, keep track of spending

  • Multi-tasking

    Prioritize conflicting demands

  • Problem-solving

    Find solutions to creative and practical dilemmas

  • Communication

    Persuade producers of the creative possibilities and limitations of post, keep a team working happily

Who does a Post-Production Supervisor work with?

The Post-Production Supervisor works very closely with the picture and sound teams, especially the Editor, Assistant Editor or Sound Editor. They also work with the Post-production coordinator and Production Assistants.

How do I become a Post-Production Supervisor?

Most Post-Production Supervisors have worked in the industry for at least four years, either in an editing, sound or management role. It’s essential to have an intimate knowledge of the workings of the highly complex processes of post. Most Post-production Supervisors come in as Production Assistants.

Educational Requirements: If you want to go to university, courses in art, design, photography, drama and theatre, English, film studies, graphic design, graphic communication, media studies, physics, psychology and computing science are useful.

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

Set Designer

What does a Set Designer do?

Set Designers create the way a film or TV show looks by designing the sets. Films can be set in any number of places: a Victorian orphanage, a Caribbean cruise ship, or another planet, for example. They work with all the other visual departments, including costume, lighting, visual & special effects, and graphic design to build the perfect set without needing to rely on shooting on location.

Set Designers start with the script. Collaborating with the Production Designer, they draw sketches and develop blueprints. Then they work with other art department members to agree on a budget. They prioritise the work schedule and allocate the management of finances to team members performing different tasks. They are usually freelancers.

What's a Set Designer good at?
  • Art

    Draw by hand to scale, do technical drawings and computer-aided design

  • Design

    Understand colour theory, know the history of architecture and interior design

  • Knowledge of photography

    Understand cameras, lenses and lighting and their effect on a film’s look and mood

  • Organization

    Manage budgets, draw up schedules, prioritize and meet deadlines

  • Communication

    Share the vision with a wide number of different people and keep a team working together well

Who does a Set Designer work with?

Set Designers work directly with and report to the Production Designer or the Art Director. On a day-to-day basis they work with the art department such as Carpenters and Painters, and when filming they work with crews.

How do I become a Set Designer?

Most Set Designers have worked in the art department for many years. Aim to start as a Production Assistant and work your way up through the ranks outlined above. Here are some more tips:

Get a degree: Most set designers have got degrees in art, architecture, theatre, theatre design, interior design or 3D design.

Get an internship: An internship is a job with training, so it’s a great opportunity to earn as you learn. However, it can be challenging to find jobs as an internship within production companies. It might be worth looking for a job as an intern in an industry that uses similar skills, such as being an Architectural Assistant. This will help you develop your craft and create a body of work for a portfolio that you can use to find your way into film and TV shows at a later point.

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 Director

What does an Art Director do?

The role of an Art Director varies slightly depending on the kind of production being produced. Art Director is a title that appears in many industries, including film, theatre, advertising/marketing, fashion, and more. The Art Director makes decisions about visual elements.

Art Directors start by examining the script and working with the Director to understand the vision for the film or TV show. They then create their designs and determine the tone, mood and colour palettes.

In a studio show, Art Directors are responsible for turning the creative vision of the Production Designer into reality by drawing plans and visuals and making models. They organize the art department and oversee the construction of the set. They are responsible for the way the set is dressed and the inclusion of any props. They remain on set throughout the production to ensure the set is maintained and dressed appropriately to accommodate the varied content.

On shows where there isn’t a set, but where the content is filmed at various locations, they work with the Producer and Director. They create ‘mini-sets,’ managing the dressing and styling of an area (indoors or outdoors) in which to film. Often, they design these props themselves and oversee their build.

While the Production Designer is the creative mind behind the overall look of a production, the Art Director is the hands that makes that vision come to life. Art Directors are the metaphorical “architects” of the art department. If there is not a Production Designer on a production, Art Directors ensure that what they are doing meets health and safety guidelines as well as the needs of the Producer and Director, and is within budget.

In animation, Art Directors are responsible for the visual style of the animation. They decide how the characters, props, and environments are going to look and provide a basis for the rest of the art department to work from.

This is a job that involves a lot of communicating with people and needs strong management skills. Art Directors are responsible for ensuring all artwork is of high quality and in keeping with the Director’s vision. They are also responsible for making sure everyone in the art department stays on budget and on schedule.

What's an Art Director good at?
  • Creativity

    Visualize what a production requires, the look of a set or location, imagine how it will accommodate the production brief and department requirements. Have the artistic skill and imagination to produce original and high-quality designs

  • Leadership

    Have strong management skills to lead a department, be able to communicate visual ideas, and be able to work as part of a team

  • Art

    Be able to draw conceptually and technically, work with specialist design software, build props and small sets, have knowledge of art history

  • Knowledge of construction

    Source appropriate materials and props, be aware of the latest developments in production design

  • Knowledge of production

    Understand production techniques, studio environments, studio capabilities and the challenges of working on location. In animation, be able to understand what is going to be achievable further down the line on an animation production by the animation and post-production teams

  • Leadership

    Be able to share their vision with a wide number of different people, manage budgets and people, draw up schedules, prioritise and meet deadlines

  • Communication

    Understand what the director wants, be able to explain ideas, give constructive feedback, have good presentation skills

Who does an Art Director work with?

Art Directors project-manage work within an art department. They oversee construction teams, Production Buyers, Art Department Assistants, Carpenters, Greensmans, Painters, Scenic, Set Dec and Production Assistants. Art Directors work closely with Production Designers, particularly on studio shows, and on-location work with Producer and Directors and their teams of Associate Producers, Researchers and Production Designers. They also collaborate with camera, sound and lighting operators to ensure their work complements theirs and doesn’t create technical issues, such as with colour, lighting or the creation of unnecessary sound problems. They also work closely with Production Managers in planning and budgeting.

In animation, Art Directors work closely with the Director and as well as the artists in their teams, including Background Designers and Modellers.

How do I become an Art Director?

Art Directors typically need a bachelor’s degree in an area relating to visual art or design, preferably as they relate to film. Courses in theatre, architecture, digital design, fine art, film history, and interior design are all relevant to study.If you’re going the film school route, courses in production design are especially useful.

On-set experience is also key, as well as organizational and administrative skills. Art Director is a senior position, so you usually need some experience before you can progress to this role. A good route would be through starting in a junior position in the art department, such as a Set Decorator. You’ll also need to develop strong management skills. To be an Art Director in the animation realm, you will also need a good understanding of how an animation project works.

Here are some other tips:

Develop a wide range of art skills: Learn how to paint, do 3D modelling 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: Create work that you can show off to employers. As an Art Director, you will be hired based on your personal style and skill, so you need to have a strong portfolio. This could be made up of your own independent artwork or work you’ve done for collaborative projects. This is essential for impressing collaborators and people in the film industry.

Look outside the industry: Art Directors are needed in many industries outside of film and animation, including advertising, theatre, print magazines and product design. Getting experience working in the art department of a company in one of these fields would be a good way to gain relevant experience which you can translate into film.

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

1st Assistant Director

Also known as: 1st AD, First, First AD, Assistant director, AD

What does a 1st Assistant Director do?

The 1st Assistant Director (AD) is the director’s right hand. They are directly responsible for running the set during production, and most of the main crew report to the 1st AD. 1st ADs plan the filming schedule, working with the Director, Production Manager, Director of Photography and other heads of department to ensure an efficient shoot.

In pre-production, 1st ADs break down the script, analysing it for what will be needed in terms of cast, locations, equipment and crew. Along with the Director, the 1st AD prepares the shooting script which identifies all the specific shots that will be taken during the shoot. Then they input the scripts into computer programs such as Movie Magic software, which helps them work out what to film and when, depending on the availability of cast and locations. They write the shooting schedule and work out how long each scene will take to film. Along with the 2nd AD, the 1st AD helps to prepare the daily “call sheet” and makes sure everyone stays on a schedule in accordance.

On many sets, at crew call, the 1st AD will prepare a safety and logistics meeting with the main crew. During filming 1st ADs manage the set, which leaves the Director free to focus on the actors and framing the shots. A 1st AD must have general knowledge of every department on a production and know how to delegate tasks to each department on behalf of the Director. Another task of the 1st AD during filming is to “call roll” which is when the 1st AD cues the heads of departments to ready themselves for filming. In many cases, the 1st AD may even call “action!” for the Director.

What’s a 1st Assistant Director good at?
  • Visualizing the script

    Read the script and know what this means in terms of cameras, locations and cast, understand the Director’s vision

  • Planning and Organization

    Analyze what is needed for a shoot, and co-ordinate the schedules of various departments including camera, make-up, hair, costume, design and visual effects, think ahead

  • Multi-tasking

    Pay close attention to what is happening in one shot while getting ready for the next one

  • Innovation

    Think of creative solutions under pressure when the unexpected happens

  • Communication

    Able to let a wide range of people know exactly what is required of them and get them to work together, ability to listen to the Director

Who does a 1st Assistant Director work with?

1st Assistant Directors work closely with the Production Manager, who supervises the production expenditures and arrangements as a whole. They also work closely with the 2nd Assistant Director, who is the main off-set contact with other departments and prepares the call sheet, as well as the 3rd Assistant Director, who is the 1st Assistant Director’s right-hand on set.

How do I become a 1st Assistant Director?

This is a senior role that requires many years of experience. Most 1st Assistant Directors start out as PA’s and work their way up. Here are some more tips:

Network online: Create a LinkedIn profile. See if there are Facebook pages or other social media groups for people making films or TV in your area. There might even be groups for Production Assistants and other entry-level roles.. Join them. Find a film office near you and get connected. If you do sign up to paid sites, make sure they specialize in the areas in which you’re interested.

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

Director of Photography

Also known as: Cinematographer, DP, DoP

What does a Director of Photography do?

The DoP is the head of both the lighting and camera departments. They are responsible for artistic and technical decisions related to the images captured by the camera.

They read the screenplay and work closely with the Director to discuss the look and feel of a film. They then research how to create the look through lighting, framing, and camera movement and what they will need in terms of equipment and crew to achieve this. The DoP works with other departments, like sound and the director’s unit, to coordinate production needs.

During production, the DoP coordinates the camera crew and works with the Director to make sure each scene is set up and shot to match the overall vision. A DoP can have a lot of creative input on the look and feel of the film. For each scene, the Director of Photography decides on the best combination of cameras, filters, and lenses, as well as camera placement, camera moves, and lighting best suited for the scene.

It’s the job of DoPs to make sure every shot satisfies the Director’s vision and fits with the aesthetic of the film. They view the dailies with the Director and work closely with the Colourist in post-production. On smaller productions, they sometimes double as the Camera Operator.

The DoP is considered one of the key creatives on a film set. The position is both highly technical and artistic, requiring extensive experience and training.

What's a Director of Photography good at?
  • Photography

    Have an eye for composition and color, know how to tell a story through a shot, understand camera and lighting techniques, know how to use them to evoke an emotional response




  • Technical knowledge of cameras

    Have an in-depth understanding of all motion picture equipment, cameras, lens, monitors, and lights

  • Editing knowledge

    Understand the post-production workflow, and how shots fit together to tell a coherent story

  • Making decisions

    Think quickly, often under pressure

  • Organization

    Plan, know how to do things and how long it will take, get the right kit and crew, think about logistical, artistic, and budgetary considerations at the same time

  • Communication

    Ensure everyone in the team knows what’s expected, work closely with the grips and the gaffer, lead the team and resolve conflicts in situations that can sometimes be stressful

Who does a Director of Photography work with?

The Director of Photography works closely with, and oversees the Camera Department which consists of the Camera Operator who looks through the camera and is the DoP’s eyes, the 1st Assistant Camera who makes sure the shots are in focus, the 2nd Assistant Camera, who prepares the equipment and keeps records of the shots, and the Camera Trainee who assists the whole department. The DoP also works closely with the Digital Imaging Technician who makes sure that all the digital settings on the cameras are set to bring the DoP’s vision to life, as well as the Video Assist Operator who makes sure that the director can see what is being shot.

How do I become a Director of Photography?

This is a senior role and people come into it through a variety of routes. Some start as Camera Trainees and work their way up through the roles outlined above. Others come up through the lighting department. 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: Many film schools offer courses in cinematography, touching on lighting, shot design, and how to tell visual stories. You can also start out as an entry-level assistant in the camera department, learn on the job, and work your way up.

Work for an equipment company: Contact an equipment rental company like Panavision, Provision, or ARRI Rentals. Ask if you can become an intern or driver for them. That way you will learn more about the equipment and build up contacts

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

Location Manager

What does a Location Manager do?

The location in which a film is set has a huge impact on its look, feel and story. It’s the job of Location Managers to find that place in the physical world and make sure it’s accessible, safe, and not too expensive to hire.

Based on scripts and discussions with the Director, Production Designers, and other department heads, Location Managers start their research. They might be looking for deserts, stately homes, or shady underpasses. They arrange visits to the locations, take photographs, detailed notes, start discussions with the location owners and work out costs. They present their findings to the Director and, once approved, negotiate and confirm contracts with owners.

Once filming has started, Location Managers manage the location. They make sure everyone in the cast and crew knows how to get there. They negotiate parking, noise reduction, power sources, catering requirements, and any official permissions that may be needed with the site’s management or owner. They are responsible for ensuring it’s safe.

After the shoot, they make sure that the location is cleaned and locked up, before returning it to its owners in a satisfactory condition. Any damage must be reported to the production office and any insurance claims dealt with.

What's a Location Manager good at?
  • Sourcing locations

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

  • Interest in photography

    Take good photographs of locations to present to the rest of the production team

  • Law

    Know how to comply with public liability, trespass, public highway, and health, and safety legislation

  • Negotiation

    Get the best price for the location and facilities

  • Organization

    Plan, budget, attend to detail, and spot potential problems in advance

  • Communication

    Work sensitively with location owners, members of the public, and production colleagues

  • Not getting lost

    Have a good sense of direction and the ability to read maps

Who does a Location Manager work with?

Assistant Location Manager or Location Scout
Assistant Location Managers must prepare movement orders and assist with scouting or additional locations by researching, photographing, and making appointments to meet with owners and residents. If a location is approved, the Assistant Location Manager organizes technical visits for heads of other departments. During production, they are responsible for writing and distributing letters to local residents informing them about the filming and liaising between the crew and location owners. At the end of each day, they help the unit manager to clear and tidy the location and set.

Location Production Assistant
Location trainees or locations production assistants assist the locations manager and assistant locations manager on set.

How do I become a Location Manager?

Some key skills to becoming a good Location Manager include the ability to read, understand and draft contracts, logistical and administrative skills, take photos, drive a car, and interact with people in a professional manner. While there is no direct educational route to become a Location Manager, some have a background in geography, real estate. Gaining experience on-set as a Locations PA, and working towards the locations department is an excellent way to get into the field.

Here are some tips:

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. This makes 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

Music Supervisor

What does a Music Supervisor do?

Music Supervisors are a key creative voice in film and television post-production. They will watch the rough cut of the film or television show in what is called a “spotting” session, where they will write notes about where music is needed. They research the right songs and music to complement the scenes’ story and tone. They make suggestions and confer with the Director over the right choices for the project.

Once the music has been selected, Music Supervisors will then research the rights holders and contact them to gain the rights and licenses for the use of the music. They sometimes have to negotiate the price of some songs since they can be very expensive. Once the rights are obtained the Music Supervisor will keep track of the rights and make sure the royalties and credits are distributed properly using “cue cards” in the end credits.

What's a Music Supervisor good at?
  • Knowledge and passion for Music and Music History

    Music Supervisors have to have a vast knowledge of the music landscape as well as the history of music. This helps them have a good idea of what songs should be used for certain scenes

  • Rights and License knowledge

    Music Supervisors need to know the copyright laws and the different rights and licenses needed in Canada to acquire a song

  • Knowledge of film-making

    Be able to understand the production process, particularly the post-production sound process

  • Communication

    Be able to work with multiple people on the production and communicate your music ideas to the Director. You will also need to speak to a number of different song rights holders and negotiate with them

  • Organization

    Work within the sound budget, keep clear notes on the music suggestions for the film and keep records of all the royalties and credits of the songs

Who does a Music Supervisor work with?

Director
The Director is the one whose creative vision everyone is helping to execute. They have an overall look and feel they want for the film. They want to convey the story in a certain way and need the help of a lot of people to accomplish it. Directors are good leaders and visionaries being able to convey their ideas to the entire crew.

Sound Designer
Sound Designers are most commonly involved in the performing and editing of previously composed or recorded audio, such as sound effects and dialogue, but it can also involve creating sounds from scratch through synthesizers or other instruments. They add and create the soundscape for the film since not all of the sound you hear in movies is recorded on set.

Editor
The Editor watches all of the recorded footage, selecting which takes to use and then using digital editing software to assemble that footage into a completed feature film. They must analyze every shot (which sometimes means hundreds of hours of footage), meticulously selecting the takes that will achieve the desired emotional and thematic impact of a film.

How do I become a Music Supervisor?

Music Supervisors should have some experience in the music industry or music-related fields. Then you need to develop contacts in the film and TV drama industry to get experience working on film sets. Look into becoming a part of a post-production sound team on smaller productions and providing your knowledge of music.

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 Manager

Also known as: Brand Manager, Director of Marketing, Marketing Executive

What does a Marketing Manager do?

Marketing Managers help to identify the audience for a film or TV drama and create a campaign to bring it to their attention and pique their interest. With film, this could be through billboards, posters, and a digital strategy. With TV drama, it could be through newsletters, trailers, as well as social media. When an animation is about to launch or go to broadcast, it’s promoted through a marketing campaign that can be targeted at either a trade (professionals or bodies of the relevant industry) or consumer audience. The campaign might involve print, TV, cinema, events and digital advertising.

Marketing Managers oversee all of this and make sure it happens; collaborating with creative partners to develop and deliver promotional artwork materials. In film, Marketing Managers may also see that the product of the movie is presented well to potential buyers (distribution companies); if marketing managers are working in exhibition, then they market and present the movie to audiences.

Marketing campaigns vary depending on the needs of the production. Big-budget films with movie stars usually have more money spent on marketing and publicity than small productions. Marketing Managers consider how to prepare a marketing budget, bearing in mind income forecasts, acquisition costs and contract terms. If a film is being screened internationally, the campaign needs to be adapted to different cultures and countries.

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

    Know audiences, research audience statistics, understand how they watch films or TV dramas

  • Knowledge of the industry

    Have an awareness of cultural trends in film and TV drama and how they are reflected in terms of box office figures and viewers

  • Marketing

    Think creatively and analytically, create engaging content, understand who a production is for and how to reach them

  • Communication

    Write compelling copy, engage people from a wide range of backgrounds, share the vision with a team, be the conduit of information for other teams. (such as PR, operations, acquisitions and sales)

  • Planning

    Schedule the work that needs to be done for the campaign and work with a budget, forecast audience numbers or determine actual theatrical revenue for a given project

Who does a Marketing Manager work with?

Publicist

Publicists help create the distributors’ release plan and create a buzz about the film in the media.
They are responsible for getting media coverage of the film through having good relationships with journalists and critics. They create press packs, which usually include the film’s synopsis, production notes, cast and crew credits and biographies, stills and the electronic press kit (EPK). Film Publicists also schedule press screenings for bigger budget movies. Unit Publicists invite journalists to the set during shooting.

They handle all major aspects of press relations and keep the Distributor and Producer informed of PR developments.

Marketing Assistant

Marketing Assistants do any task designated to them by management, such as scheduling tweets and ordering in lunch for meetings for example.

How do I become a Marketing Manager?

There’s no direct path to becoming a Marketing Manager. Starting as a Marketing Assistant is an entry-level position that will help you learn about marketing campaigns, market research and budgeting. Alternatively you could become a Publicist or Sale Agent.

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

Distribution Executive

Also known as: Distribution Manager, Distribution Director

What does a Distribution Executive do?

Distribution Executives get films and tv shows in front of an audience in any and all ways that are appropriate, including movie theaters, broadcast and cable channels, and streaming platforms.

In film, Distribution Executives go to film markets where they look at films and acquire them from production companies or Sales Agents. They negotiate for the rights to release them. These deals cover a set period of time (“window”), and a specific territory or territories, and include agreements about promotion, classification of the film and any edits allowed. Distribution Executives then pitch the film to exhibitors (usually theaters). They deliver the film materials to them and they plan the release, including how to market the film, targeting the film’s core audience to bring in the most profit. How well a film does when it first opens in the theater has a big impact on the rest of its release cycle.

In TV, Distributors play a slightly different role. Big budget dramas are usually financed by a combination of TV channels and distribution companies. The distribution company will advance money for the production of the drama against the right to sell broadcast rights in the programme for a set time period in specific countries. They might also be responsible for any merchandising or publishing spinoffs. Distribution Executives are often essential to the financing of the show in development (prior to production) and can also play an important part in helping form the content of new dramas.

Learning or knowing different languages and a desire to travel are advantages when considering a career in distribution.

What's a Distribution Executive good at?
  • Watching films

    Have a passion for and wide knowledge of the industry, critically analyze scripts and production packages, know film festivals and how they work

  • Market knowledge

    Identify and understand the core audience for a film, know how to excite them, research box office and viewing figures, be aware of cultural trends including past statistics, predict what will be successful

  • Industry knowledge

    Have an in-depth understanding of the film and TV drama industry, including the production process, how to turn talent into commercial success, convert master materials from filmmakers into exhibition formats

  • Negotiation

    Be good at selling, execute deals on an international and global level, understand contractual agreements

  • Finance

    Manage a budget and handle accounts, be very well organized

  • Networking

    Communicate well with a wide range of people in the film industry

Who does a Distribution Executive work with?

Distribution Executives acquire films from Producers, studios or Sales Agents and then work with exhibitors to get the film out to audiences.

How do I become a Distribution Executive?

Distribution Executives often begin their careers in business or marketing so a good route into this role is as a Marketing Assistant. You might also get there through training in film production. Whether your background lies mostly in the production or business side of the industry, you need to demonstrate a strong understanding of both.

Here are some more tips:

Get a degree: A degree in business, marketing, or finance would equip you well for this role. Or you might want to study film production as a route.

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 resume to show your writing and online skills, and, equally importantly, your interest in film and TV drama.

Look outside the industry: Consider any advertising or marketing roles in any industry, as experience in these will be helpful in getting into film later. Marketing agencies may have more roles available than film companies and often the technical marketing approaches and techniques you will learn will be the same as the ones used in film marketing. Experience as a journalist or a press officer will be useful for the publicity side of the job.

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

Sales Agent

Also known as: Film Sales Executive

What does a Sales Agent do?

Sales Agents, or sales companies, act on behalf of the Producer to sell the rights to an independent film or TV drama to Distributors, who then release films on different platforms (cinema, TV, DVD, Blu-ray, streaming platforms like Netflix or Amazon). An independent film is one that has not been produced by a Hollywood studio or ‘major’. Their productions are distributed by their subsidiaries worldwide instead. Sales Agents negotiate with the Distributors, based on the sales estimates and detailed assessment of the production’s commercial value.

Sales Agents are also responsible for promotion. They promote the films they represent at festivals and film markets, invite Distributors to screenings and hold premiere parties. They assemble and organize the delivery of any physical film materials and are usually involved in developing the marketing plan.

The point at which Sales Agents get involved in a production varies. Unknown Directors, who usually need an Agent, might have to finish their film before they can find someone to take it on. In other cases, a Sales Agent might sell a film to a Distributor as a concept, a draft script, or at the filming or post-production stage. Funding for a film is often dependent on the deals the Sales Agent has managed to broker at the start.

Sales Agents are continuously acquiring new content to sell from filmmakers and they build relationships with Distributors all over the world, so the job usually involves travel.

What's a Sales Agent good at?
  • Commercial awareness

    Have an awareness of cultural trends, understand and predict the market both globally and within individual countries, have an eye for talent that fits this (with the ability to read scripts quickly and thoroughly)

  • Knowledge of the film-making process

    Understand all aspects involved in making a film, from script to finance to post-production

  • Marketing

    Be enthusiastic with strong sales skills to secure competitive deals, be able to outline the story of a film in a succinct and engaging way face-to-face, have an understanding of digital marketing and social media

  • Networking

    Establish good relationships and communicate constantly with distribution outlets and festival programmers as well as with filmmakers, use language skills to travel and embrace other cultures, have a wide knowledge of film festivals and markets

  • Negotiation

    Be flexible, able to negotiate conditions, draw up contracts, understand licensing, copyright

  • Finance

    Deal with figures, have the financial knowledge to make sales predictions, negotiate funding and handle a budget

Who does a Sales Agent work with?

Sales agents communicate with Distributors on behalf of Producers so they work closely with both of these groups. They also collaborate with other people in sales and distribution like Marketing Managers and Publicists.

How do I become a Sales Agent?

Sales Agent roles are senior positions. To become a Sales Agent you need to have a high level of knowledge and experience of the industry. Occasionally companies will take on film Sales Assistants. Another good route into sales roles is as a Marketing Assistant.

Here are some more tips:

Get a degree: A degree in film studies, law, business studies or media and communication is a good way into this field. You would also benefit from studying film production, film history or film finance.

Educational requirements: Courses in business studies, economics, English, film studies or politics are useful.

Get an internship: Internships are jobs with training. They’re a great opportunity to earn while you learn. It might also be worth looking for a job as an apprentice in an industry that uses similar skills, such as literary agent in publishing. This could help you develop your craft and create a body of work for a portfolio that you can use to find your way into the Canadian film industry at a later point.

Take a short course: Learn more about the process of getting a film funded to improve your knowledge of business and finance relations within the film industry.

Look outside the industry: Consider law, finance, business, or marketing roles in any industry as work experience in film sales is highly competitive. A background in sales, business, or finance will show you have the necessary analytical skills for this role.

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

Composer

What does a Composer do?

Composers write original music that reflects and communicates the atmosphere, character’s emotions, and story. A film score has to work with the film, rather than as a standalone piece of music.

Composers are usually given a scope of work at the start of the project. This happens at the stage where storyboards are edited in time with the soundtrack. They then can create a full score for the final film. Composers rewrite their score according to feedback from the Director, Producer, and Editor. A section of music might need to be a different length, highlight a different onscreen moment, or have a different feel to it.

Composers need to be aware of the genre they are composing for. For works such as feature-length musicals, or TV shows with a theme song, the composer might be involved with writing these. Or this might fall to a different musician, with the Composer sometimes scoring the backing for the songs.

On big-budget productions, Composers prepare the score, usually on midi files, for the orchestrator and copyist. In most TV and lower-budget films, Composers do their own orchestration. They also prepare the score’s electronic aspects for the recording sessions and deliver the score to the Producer, together with all recordable media. Composers often need strong music production, recording, and performance skills in order to realize their works for projects as music budgets are generally tight. They are freelancers and usually work from their own home or office.

What's a Composer good at?
  • Music

    Have a high level of technical musical skill and be able to compose and notate original, high-quality scores with interesting and distinctive musical ideas that fit the style of the animation

  • Storytelling

    Be able to communicate a story and reflect its themes through music

  • Music production

    Have good recording and production skills to create demos and professional-level scores, be able to use music composition software and music editing software such as Avid ProTools

  • Communication

    Be able to work to a brief, act on constructive feedback, and compose music to contribute to the Director's overall vision, build extensive contacts with musicians who can contribute to your work

  • Business management skills

    Understand legal and contractual aspects of the job as a freelancer contributing your work to a different project

Who does a Composer work with?

Composers work closely with the Director, Producer, and Music Editor (if there is one), as well as communicating with the Sound Designer and Editor.

How do I become a Composer?

Composers get jobs based on their portfolio. You need a high level of musical knowledge and technical skill, so generally, all Composers are formally trained in music. Some have specific degrees in composing for film and television. The most important thing, however, is that you have a strong body of work to demonstrate your skill and personal style. You also need to make connections with filmmakers and musicians. Even if you are working on live-action films rather than animations, it will give you invaluable experience insights into the process of adding sound to film.

Here are some more tips:

Watch a lot of films and listen to music: Watch as many films and television shows as you can and pay attention to how the music is scored. Get a feel for how music interacts with the film and musical styles vary between genres.

Build a portfolio: Start writing your own music. Learn music composition and notation software. Find filmmakers who need someone to write the music for their film and collaborate with them, or you can practice and add to your portfolio by writing your own new scores for existing films. Building your portfolio is essential.

Look outside the industry: Composers are needed in lots of industries – aside from live-action film and TV and games, there are also composing jobs in advertising and theatre. See if you can get a job in one of these fields and gain experience that you can later use to compose for animation.

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

Producer

What does a Producer do?

Producers are generally the people “in charge” of a film or TV production. They’re responsible for developing a project from the beginning, raising and managing the money, assembling the team and supervising all aspects of pre-production, production and post-production. They are often the first to get involved, spotting the creative opportunity and commercial viability of a production. They continue as the driving force right through to distribution. Producers are the overall decision makers. They will come up with story ideas and hire Screenwriters or choose and secure rights to a script. This is known as ‘optioning’ a script.

They decide on the scale and budget of the film and source financing from investors, studios and distributors. They hire all the “above-the-line” team members such as Line Producer and Director. They then work with creative ideas from the Director, often making creative decisions, and then approve production costs. Producers spot and solve potential problems throughout the production process.

They approve locations and hire a team of staff for the production, delegating certain responsibilities to a Line Producer or the Production Manager. It’s their job to create a good working environment and they constantly communicate with everyone to make everything run smoothly. They have ultimate legal responsibilities for the health and safety of the crew on set and delivery of a completed film at the end of the production process.

Producers need to be good communicators to ensure everyone is working towards the same end and are responsible for creating a good working environment and smooth production.

Are there different levels to being a producer?

Yes! There are different levels of involvement from different producer positions, depending on the needs of the production. These different roles have different aspects of involvement and responsibility but all require you to have the same skill-set of being a producer. The lead producer receives a simple “Producer” credit. While there are other credits (such as Executive Producer) that might sound more senior, the Producer is the one in charge.

Associate Producer
An Associate Producer (often called an Assistant Producer, or simply the AP) is a junior Producer who works closely with the Lead Producer in putting together a television show or film project. The goal of an AP is to eventually become a lead Producer and so they must be trained in every aspect of production. Associate Producers report directly to the lead Producer.

Executive Producer
Executive Producers give high-level contributions so the project can be created. These could include providing funding, developing the project for a studio, making key introductions, providing resources, or mentoring. EPs usually don’t participate in the creative process or day-to-day production management, aside from advice they may offer. Some EPs are the first point of contact in the production workflow—optioning a script or greenlighting a film – but they then pass the responsibility on to the Producer(s). They are the silent partner, or a leader in the film and television industry and require being a producer first.

What's a Producer good at?
  • Film and TV production

    Have extensive knowledge of all the creative processes of making a film or TV programme including screenwriting, directing, and editing

  • Storytelling

    Know how to tell a story, make and approve creative decisions to help do this well

  • Commercial awareness

    Understand what makes a successful film, be able to market it to distributors and to the public

  • Leadership

    Motivate and communicate well with everyone throughout the project, take responsibility for decisions and outcomes, create a good working atmosphere and adhere to legal workplace regulations, be a figure head

  • Adaptability

    Work well in challenging and changeable environments, problem solve on the go, make quick effective decisions and be able to prioritise

  • Organization

    Be on top of the whole project, prepare schedules and a production budget using financial skills to secure funding and negotiate salaries

  • Knowledge of the industry

    Have extensive knowledge of and a passion for TV drama, appreciate trends in viewing, predict what will be popular

  • Creativity

    Generate new and exciting ideas, recognize new and exciting script ideas in others, have an entrepreneurial spirit

  • Negotiation

    Have a good business head, be good at selling, persuading, and striking a financial deal

Who does a Producer work with?

Everyone. Producers lead and communicate with the whole production team as well as distribution and marketing teams. They sometimes answer to Executive Producers in television production who serve as the overseeing face of the film studio, financiers, or who are the overall leads on a series.

How do I become a Producer?

While producing is something that can be learned in school, usually one gains experience elsewhere in the production department, such as working up from a Production Assistant, to a Production Coordinator, Production Manager or Line Producer. They do not necessarily attend a film school. You’ll need a combination of business skills and creative vision for this job and an understanding of both sides of the industry.

Build a portfolio: Create a showreel that you can show off to collaborators and financiers.

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

Director

Also known as: Filmmaker

What does a Director do?

Directors are the creative leads of the film. They control a film‘s artistic and dramatic aspects and visualize the screenplay (or script) while guiding the technical crew and actors from pre-production through to the final edit in the fulfillment of that vision.

They are employed by the Executive Producer or Producer, who is ultimately in charge of a production. Directors start with a script, and work with a Screenwriter and sometimes a script editing team such as Story Editor. It’s not uncommon for the Director to be the Screenwriter as well.
It is the job of a Director to imagine the script in a visual form. As soon as a production has raised the cash it needs , they work closely with the Producers to appoint the heads of department, such as the Director of Photography, 1st Assistant Director and Production Designer.

They then work with Producers and Casting Directors to select the actors and with the Director of Photography to develop the filming style, including notes about camera shots and script changes. Some Directors rehearse actors ahead of shooting, though not all do. They ‘block’ the performance with the actors before filming begins, meaning they choreograph where actors are positioned in relation to the camera, where they and the camera will move to over the course of a shot, and how they will deliver their dialogue.

At the same time, a Director will also be instructing other members of the crew, especially lighting, wardrobe, and make-up supervisors. Directors work to get the best performance out of the actors but also need to ensure that all technical aspects are in place to get a great scene filmed.

After filming, they lead the editing of a film, preparing a ‘director’s cut’. That cut will be reviewed by Producers, Distributors, and other collaborators before the final cut is completed.

What's a Director good at?
  • Leadership

    Share the vision of the film with a range of people from different departments, inspire them to do their best work, manage the cast and crew, make creative decisions

  • Imagination

    Envisage the film they want to make, see it, hear it, create the vision and execute it

  • Arts knowledge

    Have a passion for and deep knowledge of film and TV drama, appreciate all genres of art, so as to be able to draw ideas from a range of sources

  • Production

    Understand the film or TV drama production process from start to finish, from both technical and creative points of view

  • Staying calm under pressure

    Work methodically within a high-stress environment, make creative decisions when things don’t go to plan

Who does a Director work with?

Directors hold the creative vision for the whole production, so they have relationships with every department head. In pre-production, they work particularly closely with the Producers, Casting Directors and the production designer. During production, they have close on-set relationships with the Director of Photography and the First Assistant Director. In post-production, Directors work with the Picture Editor and Sound Editor to ‘cut’ the film or programme to create a desirable final product.

How do I become a Director?

There are many pathways to becoming a film Director. Some start as Screenwriters, Cinematographers, Producers, film Editors or actors. Others go to film school and start by making their own independent short films before “graduating” to feature-length works.

Whatever the route, this is a role that requires extensive knowledge of the film or TV drama production process. It’s worth starting your career by getting work as a Production Assistant on set or in a production office before working your way up through entry-level positions

Here are some more tips:

Training: Training is always a good idea. In Canada, there are tons of courses at college or university. Also lots of stand-alone courses. Both extended and short-term. You can also plunge in, try to get on-set, and gain the experience. Here’s a list of uni & college programmes.

Build a portfolio: Create work that you can show off to employers. Direct your own short film, maybe using your smartphone, and edit it. This process is very 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.

Reel Opportunities

Fight Choreographer

What does a Fight Choreographer do?

Fight Choreographers design and direct combat sequences for film and TV. Much like dance choreographers, they instruct actors on how to move in various ways, in order to make fight scenes appear realistic and/or historically accurate, while also ensuring the safety of the cast and crew. While knowledge of various fighting styles is necessary for this career, Fight Choreographers must also understand theatrical staging and the principles of choreography. Before choreographing fights, individuals must first be trained in how to fight in particular styles, such as hand-to-hand combat, fencing, and martial arts.

What's a Fight Choreographer good at?
  • Physical Fitness

    They are physically fit and are knowledgeable in physical fitness, are aware of the intricate movements of the human body, and have some skills in martial arts or gymnastic

  • Flexibility

    Thrive in changing situations, enjoy spontaneity

  • Choreography

    Able to plan out large fight and stunt sequences

  • Physical Attributes

    Good Eyesight, quick reflexes, and flexibility, good sense of timing

  • Organizing

    Need to have the skill to organize the stunt crew, paperwork, and plans for each scene

Who does a Fight Choreographer work with?

Fight Choreographers will work with the director and the actors to gain an idea of what a fight scene should entail. They will also work with stunt performers when the actors are unable to perform the fight sequences or part of the fight sequences. They will teach the Stunt Performers and actors the moves of the fight. They will also work with the Stunt Coordinator to go over the specific stunts performed in the fight.

How do I become a Fight Choreographer?

Fight Choreographers should be physically active and be trained in some form of martial arts, gymnastics, or combat discipline. Many Fight Choreographers start out as Stunt Performers before they can take on the role of Fight Choreographers. Fight Choreographers may also find it useful to choreograph a dance or large-scale theater productions, to gain knowledge of planning and working with a large number of people.

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

Stunt Coordinator

What is a Stunt Coordinator?
What does a Stunt Coordinator do?

A Stunt Coordinator is in charge of coordinating and arranging the stunts for a film or TV show and hiring the Stunt Performers to do them. In many cases, the Stunt Coordinator budgets, designs, and choreographs the stunt sequences to suit the script and the Director’s vision. They are usually an experienced Stunt Performer.

Many stunts performed by Stunt Performers are very dangerous and the Stunt Coordinator is in charge of making sure safety measures are in place. They will collaborate with the cast and crew to create the best possible way to execute the stunts that are required in the film.

What's a Stunt Coordinator good at?
  • Physical Fitness

    Physically fit, is aware of the intricate movements of the human body, some skills in martial arts or gymnastics

  • Choreography

    Able to plan out large fight and stunt sequences

  • Organizing

    Need to have the skill to organize the stunt crew, paperwork, and plans for each scene

  • Flexibility

    Thrive in changing situations, and enjoy spontaneity

  • Physical Attributes

    Good Eyesight, quick reflexes, flexibility (Body), and a good sense of timing

Who does a Stunt Coordinator work with?

Stunt Coordinators work with the Director and the Producer to get the feel of the film and to identify the planned stunts. They work with the Stunt Performers to rehearse the choreography of the stunts beforehand while having safety measures in place. Stunt Coordinators will also work closely with the onset crew such as Grips, to make sure everything is in place for the stunts.

How do I become a Stunt Coordinator?

Many Stunt Coordinators start out as Stunt Performers before they can take on the role of Stunt Coordinator. Stunt Coordinators should be physically active and be trained in some form of martial arts, gymnastics, or combat discipline. Stunt Coordinators may also find it useful to choreograph a dance or large-scale theatre productions, to gain knowledge of planning and working with people.

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 Director

What does a Casting Director do?

Casting Directors find the stars to bring the characters in a film or TV drama to life. They are hired by the production company to match actors to their roles.

Casting Directors read scripts and meet with Producers and Directors to get a sense of the type of person they are looking for. They have to find someone who looks right for the role as well as acting it well. They need to understand the art of acting. Sometimes producers will have a lot of demands. Other times they won’t give much guidance at all. Casting Directors consider the actor’s availability, fees and how much box office buzz they’re going to create. While an experienced Casting Director may consult on the leading roles, the bulk of their job is to fill the many supporting and small parts that the film requires.

They are then in charge of putting out a “casting call” (an announcement to actors and their agents that auditions will be held for certain roles), creating a list of available roles and brief descriptions of the characters, choosing the actors who will be called in to “read”, managing the audition process, and working with director and producers to make the final selections and negotiate their deals (such as what they will be paid, and other aspects of their contract/agreement with the production). After the film is cast, the Casting Director’s job isn’t quite done! They remain the main liaison between the production and the performers’ agents/managers throughout the production.

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

    Have strong knowledge of and a passion for film or TV drama and an appreciation for changing trends in the industry

  • Knowledge of actors

    Understand the art of acting and be aware of a wide range of new and existing talent, have a good memory for actors you have seen in the past

  • Eye for talent

    Be able to spot actors with star quality and who will fit well into individual projects and roles, have the patience to conduct a long and thorough search for the right actor for each role

  • Communication

    Communicate well with the Producer and Director to understand their requirements and be able to give direction to actors

  • Negotiation

    Be diplomatic, work with agents to negotiate contracts, have good financial skills, stick to a budget

Who does a Casting Director work with?

Casting Directors work with Producers and Directors (and sometimes Writers). They work with the Director to find what they are looking for in an actor and search for potential candidates. They also work with the incoming actors at the auditions to make them feel comfortable and prepare them for their sides (small sections of Script).

How do I become a Casting Director?

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. This role is learned on the job, by assisting established casting Directors and working your way up. Networking and reaching out to casting companies is one way to get started in this field. Starting with an internship, you’ll learn the ropes by helping to run the auditions, with tasks such as bringing actors into the room, setting up microphones and camera equipment, reading out the lines of the “other characters” for an actor during their audition, and so on. Interns can apply for opportunities as casting assistants and work their way up to casting associate and beyond.

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

Craft Service and Catering

Also known as: Crafty

What does a Crafty do?

Craft services, also known as crafty, is the department of film, TV, and video production which provides cast and crew with food, snacks, and drinks throughout the workday.

On smaller productions typically there is one main “craft table” where the snacks and coffee are set up – and that table remains stocked all day, every day. The craft area on these smaller productions may also be where you might go for other types of supplies, such as a first aid kit, bandages, aspirin, gum, antacids, toothpicks, hand sanitizer, sunscreen, and hand-warmers. On larger productions, craft trucks may be brought in to provide quick warm meals throughout the day like hot dogs or chili, along with other quick-grab items like prepackaged sandwiches or fruit.

Catering refers to complete hot meals, which are provided by a separate person or company to craft, usually a restaurant or catering company. On most larger productions “lunch” is generally catered, but can be any time of the day. This is usually pre-selected and ready at a specific time to keep the production on schedule.

What's a Crafty good at?
  • Scheduling

    Crafty must schedule food preparation to fit the shooting schedule of the production, as no one has time to wait for lunch

  • Food Handling skills

    Have the knowledge and the certifications to be able to handle food properly and safely

  • Customer Service

    Interacting with large groups of hungry people requires patience and a smile

  • Multi-tasking

    Often there are several different meals being prepped at the same time

Who does a Crafty work with?

Crafty and Catering work independently, but interact with all cast and crew on a set.

How do I become a Crafty?

There is no specific degree required for a craft services career, but an interest in food is an asset, as is a strong understanding of food safety. Catering companies are usually run by entrepreneurs with a background in Culinary school or in the food and hospitality industries. Gaining your food safety certification would be necessary to begin your career.

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

Key Grip

What does a Key Grip do?

The Key Grip is the head of the grip department on a production. Key Grips have the same qualifications as Grips, but they are the ones in charge of all the grips working on the production.

Before filming starts, the Key Grip breaks down the script and works out (with the DoP and Director) what equipment will be needed to support the cameras for each scene. They make a list of any special equipment they may need and work with the production to get the best crew. They go on scouts to check out the location. If filming is taking place at a location with extreme climates, like the Sahara desert or the top of Mount Everest, they might need to adapt the equipment for the camera maneuvers.

Key Grips need to figure out how to correctly build the rigs and equipment so the rest of the team can execute the creative vision. They map all the supports for the lighting and camera departments to coincide with the plans created.

During production, the Key Grip will be in charge of the grip department and organize the construction or adjustments to any structure created. They do this with the help of the Best Person Grip, who manages the day-to-day tasks.

What's a Key Grip good at?
  • Knowledge of cameras and supports

    Understand the technical requirements of cameras and of the baseplates, dollies, cranes, and jib arms on which they are mounted

  • Leadership

    Motivate and communicate well with everyone throughout the project, take responsibility for decisions and outcomes, create a good working atmosphere

  • Innovation

    Think quickly of practical solutions to problems, adapt equipment to particular environments

  • Communication

    Listen to the Director of Photography, be able to explain and share information with actors and the rest of the crew, especially when under pressure

  • Lifting

    Know how to lift safely, and have the stamina

Who does a Key Grip work with?

The Key Grip will work very closely with the Grip Department. They also will work closely with the Director of Photography and the Director to work out the rigging plans for production. Along with the Director of Photography, they will also work alongside the Camera department and electrical department.

How do I become a Key Grip?

The best way to begin would be to contact your local IATSE union for trainee programs. They may be able to place you on a production willing to take on a Grip Trainee. After you’ve met the qualifications of a Grip, you can begin to apply for positions on unionized productions.

After being a grip for a number of productions and feeling confident in the field, you can use that experience to become a Best Person Grip. This is the second in command in the Grip department, before finally moving up to Key Grip.

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

VFX Supervisor

Also known as: Lead Visual Effects (VFX) Artist, Senior VFX Artist

What does a VFX Supervisor do?

This role is responsible for overseeing all VFX work and managing technical and artistic VFX personnel. While it is a creative role, most Visual FX Supervisors possess a strong technical background and are capable of making informed decisions about the most efficient and effective technique to employ to solve the problem at hand. Often a supervisor will work in tandem with a Visual Effects Producer and Computer Graphics Supervisor.

VFX Supervisors begin their work on a project in the early stages of pre-production. They are the main point of liaison between a VFX studio and the Director or Producer of the film or TV program. Together, they decide on what VFX is needed for every shot of the film. VFX Supervisors then work with the VFX Artists to create prototype materials to present. These can include concept art and 3D computer-generated images (CG). The prototype materials help to inform the style of the VFX in the production.

VFX Supervisors are present for filming during production so that they can see if the shots are satisfactory and will work with the VFX elements. VFX supervisors continue to lead their team when the film is being put together during post-production. They oversee the quality of all work produced and make sure that it is in line with the vision of the Director and/or Producer.

What's a VFX Supervisor good at?
  • Art

    Have excellent design, layout, colour, and composition skills

  • Knowledge of photography

    Understand cameras, cinematography, and how films are made, be able to influence the shoot so it works for the VFX

  • Knowledge of VFX programs

    Be adept at using relevant programs such as Maya, Blender, Nuke, and Photoshop

  • Collaboration

    Work in pre-production with the director or producer to decide on which shots will need VFX work, respond to their creative and artistic direction

  • Leadership

    Share the director or producers’ vision of the film with the VFX artists of all departments, inspire them to do their best work, manage their output in terms of quality and deadlines

  • Communication

    Be able to clearly articulate what needs to be done on-set to achieve the desired VFX shots, be able to relay information between the production and your artists

Who does a VFX Supervisor work with?

VFX Supervisors work with film Directors and Producers. Together, they decide on what VFX is needed for every shot of a film. They also lead all of the different kinds of VFX Artists within a VFX company or studio.

How do I become a VFX Supervisor?

The VFX Supervisor job is the highest leadership role within an entire VFX company or studio; therefore, you will work in other, more junior, VFX roles first before reaching this position. VFX Supervisors need the same technical skills and relevant software proficiency as Junior VFX Artists do, so you could start VFX work as a Roto Artist or Prep Artist and progress from there. In this case, an important thing that you can do is to create a show-reel to illustrate your abilities (even established VFX supervisors can have their own show-reels). Alternatively, you can start work in the production department as a Production Coordinator or Production Assistant and go from there.

Educational requirements: A college degree in film and TV production, computer animation, or art and design is key. These are taught at many colleges, universities, and art schools. Training in the use of visual effects and animation software is a must.

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.