Reel Opportunities

2nd Assistant Camera

Also known as: 2nd AC

What does a 2nd Assistant Camera do?

The 2nd Assistant Camera is an important role on the camera team. They are responsible for the accessories for the cameras, including changing memory cards and charging batteries.

The 2nd Assistant Camera works mainly with the “clapboard” or “slate”– the black and white board that’s become iconic for the beginning and end of film takes. A traditional way to sync audio with each take, the 2nd AC uses the slate to indicate for an Editor when the camera has started and stopped recording. The 2nd AC will mark on the slate what scene, take, and camera memory card the production is on. Modern clapboards or slates are digital and include a timecode generator on an LED display. The 2nd AC clearly lists out the information on the slate before clapping the sticks at the beginning (or sometimes the end, known as tail-slate) of the take. This helps keep all the shots organized for the post-production team and allows the picture and audio to be synched together.

The 2nd Assistant Camera will also keep track of all of the camera data for each shot. They fill in reports called “camera logs”; that mark the focal length, the scene, the take, and some small notes. They will also mark which take is the director’s favourite, so the editor has an easier job looking through the footage.

In addition, they will assist the 1st Assistant Camera in marking spots for focus and helping in the organization of the equipment.

What's a 2nd Assistant Camera good at?
  • Photography

    Have a good eye and understanding of composition, light, colour, focus, and framing

  • Technical knowledge of cameras

    Have a good understanding of the latest motion picture equipment, cameras, lens, filters monitors, and lights

  • Taking instruction

    Listen, do what’s asked accurately, stay calm under pressure, pay close attention to detail

  • Communication

    Work well with crew members, onscreen contributors, presenters and production staff, be responsive

  • Handling cameras

    Be well-coordinated, prepared to lift and move heavy camera equipment frequently throughout a shoot

Who does a 2nd Assistant Camera work with?

The 2nd Assistant Camera will work directly under the camera operator of the production or the operator of the camera unit. They will be close with the 1st Assistant Camera and the Camera Operator. The 2nd AC will work in tandem with the 1st AC to make sure everything is set up for the camera department to thrive. The 2nd Assistant Camera will also work with the DOP (Director of Photography). They may also work with the Assistant Editor in sharing the information of the camera logs.

How do I become a 2nd Assistant Camera?

Like many other departments on a set, it is possible to learn on the job by starting out in the lowest tier as a Production Assistant and working your way up. Another way to gain an intimate knowledge of the gear is to work at a camera rental house. Many equipment rental companies encourage their employees to learn about the equipment that they offer, and it can be a great way to gain experience that you will later use on set. You can also look into the local camera unions in your area and try to gain experience from them. They can provide qualifications to help acquire entry-level positions on sets.

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 Camera

Also known as: AC, Focus Puller

What does a 1st Assistant Camera do?

The 1st Assistant Camera (1st AC) is responsible for maintenance of the camera, such as keeping it clean or adjusting the focus. Often, an AC whose main job is to maintain the camera lens’ focus during each scene is called the “Focus Puller”.

Pulling focus is not an easy job onset and is very important for production. The 1st Assistant Camera will sit next to the camera operator and use a dial to bring the picture in and out of focus. The 1st Assistant Camera will need to know exactly where the actor, or the object, that needs to be in focus is, so they can correctly mark the dial and pull to it.

They also manage the camera equipment and make sure it is organized on set. They will help with preparing the equipment, cleaning the lenses, and even setting up and tearing down the camera rig each day.

What's a 1st Assistant Camera good at?
  • Photography

    Have a good eye and understanding of composition, light, colour, focus, and framing

  • Technical knowledge of cameras

    Have a good understanding of the latest motion picture equipment, cameras, lens, filters monitors, and lights

  • Taking instruction

    Listen, do what’s asked accurately, stay calm under pressure, pay close attention to detail

  • Communication

    Work well with crew members, onscreen contributors, presenters and production staff, be responsive

  • Handling cameras

    Be well-coordinated, prepared to lift and move heavy camera equipment frequently throughout a shoot

Who does a 1st Assistant Camera work with?

The 1st Assistant Camera will work directly under the Camera Operator of the production or the operator of the camera unit. They will work closely with the Camera Operator and be by their side for most of the production. They will also work closely with the 2nd Assistant Camera as they both will help in the daily functions of the camera department. The 1st Assistant Camera will also work with the DOP (Director of Photography).

How do I become a 1st Assistant Camera?

Like many other departments on a set, it is possible to learn on the job by starting out in the lowest tier of the Camera Department and working your way up. Another way to gain an intimate knowledge of the gear is to work at a camera rental house. Many equipment rental companies encourage their employees to learn about the equipment that they offer, and it can be a great way to gain experience that you will later use on set. You can also look into the local camera unions such as IATSE and try to gain experience from them. They can provide qualifications to acquire entry-level positions on sets.

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

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

3rd Assistant Director (3rd AD)

Also known as: Thirds

What does a 3rd Assistant Director (3rd AD) do?

Thirds are the 1st AD’s right-hand on set. They are responsible for coordinating extras, preparing and cueing them, as well as sometimes directing them in any required background action. They may have to keep members of the public out of shot, or off the set and/or the location, and will liaise with the Location Manager regarding the security and tidying up of studios and locations after filming.

The 3rd AD reports directly to the 2nd AD. The 3rd AD’s key responsibilities include moving actors from point A to point B, organizing extras, and supervising Production Assistants. The individual may also serve as the set messenger, conveying information between cast and crew members – usually by radio.

Because the responsibilities of 2nd and 3rd AD overlap, the specific function on-set may vary from film to film. However, it will most likely include things like keeping the public out of the Director’s shots so that they don’t disrupt the expensive production schedule, locking up a studio, and securing a location when filming is completed. There may even be some directing involved – cueing extras and drivers of on-set vehicles and generally coordinating the background action.

What’s a 3rd Assistant Director (3rd AD) good at?
  • Multi-tasking

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

  • Attention to detail

    Ensure everything is on screen as it should be - cueing extras and even directing

  • 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

  • Organization

    Plan, multi-task, work calmly under pressure

Who does a 3rd Assistant Director (3rd AD) work with?

The 3rd AD reports directly to the 2nd AD and on set works closely with the 1st AD.

How do I become a 3rd Assistant Director (3rd AD)?

Like many roles in film and TV, there are many routes to becoming a 3rd AD. From getting degrees, diplomas, certificates, internships, apprenticeships, or even freelancing and volunteer work, there is no standard recipe. Training on-set is also a great route, and there are lots of ways to do it, both extended and short-term.

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

2nd Assistant Director (2nd AD)

What is a 2nd Assistant Director (2nd AD)?
What does a 2nd Assistant Director (2nd AD) do?

The 2nd Assistant Director is the right-hand man of the First Assistant Director (1st AD). The main responsibility of the 2nd AD is to ensure that all of the 1st AD’s orders and directions are followed. Under the supervision of the 1st, the 2nd AD’s prepare and draw up the ‘call sheet,’ which is the document that details daily filming logistics and is distributed to all cast and crew; they supervise all cast movements, ensuring that the principal actors are in makeup, wardrobe, or standing by on the set at the appropriate times.

The 2nd AD may also be in charge of finding and looking after background artists (extras) on smaller productions without a Third Assistant Director. The majority of 2nd ADs also assist the 1st AD in liaising between the set or location and the production office, keeping key personnel up to date on the shoot’s timings and progress.

The film’s 2nd Assistant Director reports directly to the 1st Assistant Director. The 2nd AD will typically use a headset and/or walkie-talkie to communicate with the film’s 1st Assistant Director at all times.

What’s a 2nd Assistant Director (2nd AD) good at?
  • Planning

    Co-ordinate the schedules of various departments including camera, make-up, hair, costume, design, and visual effects, think ahead and create call-sheets

  • Time-management

    Coordinate logistics, make arrangements, and draw up detailed plans for the 1st AD's review

  • 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 2nd Assistant Director (2nd AD) work with?

The 2nd Assistant Director works directly with the 1st Assistant Director. They also manage the movements of the actors and work closely with the hair/makeup and wardrobe departments.

How do I become a 2nd Assistant Director (2nd AD)?

Like many roles in film and TV, there are many routes to becoming a 2nd Assistant Director. From getting degrees, diplomas, certificates, internships, apprenticeships, or even freelancing and volunteer work, there is no standard recipe. Training on-set is also a great route, and there are lots of ways to do it, both extended and short-term.

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 Coordinator

What does a Production Coordinator do?

Production Coordinators help ensure a film or television project runs smoothly. Working under the Production Manager or Producer, they help to arrange the day-to-day running of the production office and the team to make sure everyone has the information they need to work effectively.

Production Coordinators can also be the key travel coordinators on small to mid-sized productions. They organize travel plans, book flights and hotel rooms, and they also acquire necessary travel visas for the cast and crew. Production Coordinators are also the main contact at the production office and usually are responsible for communications and document deliveries such as sending out schedules, scripts, script revisions, and call sheets.

Production Coordinators need to communicate well with everyone. They liaise with production and post-production. It’s their job to help to keep everyone informed and on target so the project is finished on time and on budget.

What’s a Production Coordinator good at?
  • Communication

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

  • Organization

    Be good at managing projects and working to deadlines, be organized, show attention to detail, be able to multitask and prioritize

  • Software knowledge

    Be able to use database and scheduling software, be good at learning new software, understand common file formats and resolutions

  • Resilience

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

Who does a Production Coordinator work with?

Production Coordinators work closely with office staff throughout production and post-production. They usually report to the Production Manager.

How do I become a Production Coordinator?

There are a few routes into becoming a Production Coordinator. You need to show you have very strong teamwork and organizational skills as well as a good understanding of the way a film is made. Entry level as a Production Assistant in the office is a great way to work your way up to Production Coordinator.

Here are some more tips:

Educational Requirements: You can take courses in business studies, film studies, media studies, English, math, and economics.

Get an Internship: Internships are jobs with training. They’re a great opportunity to earn while you learn. You might be able to get an internship as an Assistant Production Manager or project manager.

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

Prop Master

Also known as: Property Master, Prop Person

What does a Prop Master do?

A prop is any moveable item that can be seen on a film. It could be a hat, gun, cushion, wine glass, lightsaber, carpet, kitchen unit, tree or aircraft. Prop Masters run the property department which makes, stores and transports the props as well as preps the props for each day’s shoot.

Prop Masters usually start work a few weeks before shooting begins. They work with Production Designer, Set Decorators and Art Director to work out what props are needed. They do research and then draw up properties lists, deciding which are to be hired and which are to be made. They create a ‘set and strike’ schedule to share with location and construction departments.

Where props are to be made, Prop Masters recruit the Carpenters and prop makers and manage the schedule for production. Where they are hired, they work with the Production Buyers to source them.

When shooting is finished, they return all hired props and organize the sale or safe disposal of everything else.

What's a Prop Master good at?
  • Understanding film

    Pick up the Director’s vision, break a script down for props requirements take account of the need for continuity

  • Historical knowledge

    Research different eras, dress a set authentically

  • Craftsmanship

    Work with a wide variety of materials, craft and repair items

  • Moving items

    Handle large, heavy but fragile items

  • Communication

    Work closely with the Production Designer and other departments, share the vision with the props team

  • Organization

    Manage staff, budgets, complex schedules, transport and storage

Who does a Prop Master work with?

Prop Masters report to Production Designer and Set Decorators as part of the art department. They work closely with the Director, Art Director, Production Buyers, Location Manager and Construction Manager. They also might work with the Script Supervisor to maintain set continuity (keeping track of whether a glass is full or empty, where a particular item is placed at the start or end of a take, how objects move, and so on).

How do I become a Prop Master?

This is a senior level role, so college-level technical education in art and design, along with several years of experience in the art department, are required. Apprenticeships or on the job training are also possible. This position requires the ability to work well with your hands and construct materials to form props when needed, as well as organizational skills and an interest in the historical accuracy of items and scenes on a film set.

Here are some more tips:

Learn how to drive a van or a truck: Being a Prop Master can often involve moving heavy props and travelling around different locations. Learning to drive is essential for this, as is learning how to move large, heavy but fragile items safely.

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

Camera Operator

Also known as: Cameraperson, Studio Camera Operator, Steadicam Operator, Cameraman

What does a Camera Operator do?

Camera Operators are responsible for capturing the action on a film or television production. They play an integral role in the film and television production process, working closely with the Director of Photography, ensuring that the shots produced are in line with the visual style and tone of the project. They know how to choose which cameras to use in certain conditions and consider the composition, framing, and movement of a shot. They can also shoot what’s happening live, whether that’s on location for a news programme, documentary, or a large multi-camera studio show.

On larger productions there may be more than one Camera Operator, known as Camera A and Camera B. This allows for simultaneous coverage of a scene from various shots and set-ups. Each Camera Operator would have several Assistant Camera and Grips working as part of a cohort or mini-team in order to achieve each shot. On smaller productions, one Camera Operator would be responsible to cover all shots, and scenes may be played out several times in order to get a variety of angles and framing choices.

When shooting on location, such as on documentaries, they might be the only Camera Operator working in all kinds of conditions — underwater, in a snowstorm, or in a desert. They often operate a variety of different cameras, including handheld cameras mounted on a body frame (Steadicam) or a drone. They are responsible for taking care of the kit wherever they are shooting, and on smaller productions often own their equipment. They are also skilled at lighting composition.

What's a Camera Operator good at?
  • Photography

    Have a good eye and understanding of composition, light, colour, focus, and framing. You may specialise in certain genres, but you must also be able to adapt to different shooting styles

  • Technical knowledge of cameras

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

  • Communication

    Listen, do what’s asked by the producer, director and work as a team with other crew and production staff

  • Multi-task

    Watch, listen, think quickly, and problem solve on the go, all whilst carrying out complex technical tasks, adapt to requirements of different shoots

  • Concentration

    Be patient, maintain focus over long programme shoots, stay calm under pressure

Who does a Camera Operator work with?

Camera Operators report directly to the Director of Photography and the 1st AD. Sometimes they may even take direction directly from the Director. Camera Operators work with the Grips to move and set up camera equipment and talk to the Gaffers about lighting too. They often have a Camera Assistant or two working with them. Lastly, they work directly with the Digital Imaging Technician on preserving data from memory cards.

How do I become a Camera Operator?

Camera Operator is a senior and experienced position. Most work their way up into this role from a position like Camera Assistant.

Here are some more tips:

Educational requirements: You may find courses in a combination of subjects that include art, art and design, graphic communication or photography, along with maths and physics.

Get an internship: Internships are jobs with training. They’re a great opportunity to earn while you learn. If you can’t get an internship with a broadcaster, it might be worth trying to find one outside the TV industry, where you can develop your skills and your craft. You can then move into TV at a later point. Before taking any internship , check what you’ll be learning with your prospective employer and college, so you can be sure it will give you the skills you want.

Work for an equipment company: Contact an equipment rental company. Ask if you can become a kit room assistant for them. That way you will get to learn more about the kit and build up contacts.

Get a degree: It’s not essential to have a degree in order to become a Camera Operator. There are, however, degree courses that specialize in television production and photography that you might consider.
Get work experience: Try to get work experience by writing to local production companies and asking if they offer any.

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

Editor

Also known as: Picture Editor

What does an Editor do?

An Editor is in charge of “cutting” and assembling the raw footage of the film into a cohesive final product. Films tend not to be shot in the order in which the story unfolds, so Editors might be working on scenes from the end of the film before the beginning is even filmed.

Their job is to take scenes in non-story order, analyze every shot (which sometimes means hundreds of hours of footage), and meticulously select and assemble the takes that will achieve the desired emotional and thematic impact of a film.

In pre-production, Editors work closely with the Director to decide how to make the most of the script. Once filming starts, they look at the dailies each day, checking technical standards and the emerging sense of story and performance and editing it into a series of scenes. By the time the film wraps, Editors will have spent hours reworking scenes and cutting them together to create a rough assembly.

During post-production, the Editor and Director will work closely to refine the assembly edit into a Director’s cut, which must be approved by Producers, until they achieve the final cut, (also known as “picture lock”). After that, the music and sound are added to the mix, a process that Editors will oversee.

When it comes to Editors in the animation realm, the planning process is more labor intensive as no footage is produced that hasn’t been precisely planned. In live-action, Editors work with existing footage in post-production, choosing between a variety of shots. In animation, the whole film, including each of its scenes and their order, is planned out beforehand. So essentially, in animation, the editing happens first.

What's an Editor good at?
  • Storytelling

    Understand how to use pictures, rhythm, pace and tension to tell a tale

  • Visual awareness

    Have a good eye, know what look fits the style of the film

  • Using edit software

    Be adept with tools like Avid Media Composer, Adobe Premier, Final Cut and Lightworks

  • Communication

    Work well with the director, and share the process with the edit assistants and the script supervisor

  • Attention to detail

    Be patient, show attention to detail and good organizational skills, often under pressure

Who does an Editor work with?

Assistant Editor
Assistant Editors take charge of the day-to-day running of the cutting room, leaving the editor free to concentrate on editing the film. Their primary task is to communicate with other departments, like production, camera and sound. They check camera sheets when the rushes arrive and note any technical problems. Sometimes the editor asks the first assistant to do an assembly cut.

Second assistant editor, third assistant editor and edit assistants
First assistant editors might be helped by several assistants, depending on the size of the production. The assistants label files and do simple cutting, editing and sound syncing. They read oscilloscopes and audio meters, TV and video signals, are familiar with technical specifications for different broadcasters, and understand compression.

Sound Editor
Sound Editors are responsible for all sound post-production. They are the picture Editor’s main point of contact for everything concerning the production soundtracks.

ADR Recordist
The ADR Recordists have a close working relationship with the picture Editors due to script changes and replacement dialogue with the actors.

Colourist
Colourists contribute to the mood and look of a film by defining its colors. They work with the director and director of photography to decide the palette.

How do I become an Editor?

The traditional route to becoming an Editor is to start as a Production Assistant and go on to become an assistant editor. It’s common to work as an Assistant Editor in lower budget productions before moving into feature films.
Here are some more tips:

Educational Requirements: A program in Media or Film studies, concentrating on post-production, is useful. Experience using editing software is key, as is working on small projects to build your portfolio.

Get an internship: Internships are jobs with training, so they’re a great opportunity to earn while you learn. Before taking any apprenticeship, check what you’ll be learning with your prospective employer and college, so you can be sure it will be giving you the skills you want.

Edit: Make videos. Set up a YouTube channel showing off your work.

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 Scout

What does a Locations Scout do?

The Location Scout is a member of the production crew responsible for finding locations to be used for filming.

Sometimes, films and TV shows are shot on a set . However, films often use real locations to shoot in. They might be tasked with finding the perfect suburban home with a blue door, and then ensuring the residents of that home are willing to have a film crew shooting on their lawn. There are many databases of available locations for them to search online, but one fun part of the job also involves scouting locations by traveling to them to check them out in person.

A Location Scout is someone whose job it is specifically to visit potential locations in order to ensure they have everything the Producer and Director needs – this is a great entry level position within the locations / production department.

What's a Locations Scout 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

  • Cartographer Skills

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

Who does a Locations Scout work with?

Location Manager
Location Managers manage the shooting 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.

How do I become a Locations Scout?

Some key skills to becoming a good Location Scout include the ability to read, 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 becoming a Location Scout, some have a background in geography, and real estate. Gaining experience on-set as a Production Assistant, and working towards the locations department is an excellent way to get into the field.

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

Boom Operator

What is a Boom Operator?
What does a Boom Operator do?

A Boom Operator’s primary responsibility is to capture sound on a film or TV production through the use of a microphone on a long pole or arm called a boom pole. The Boom Operator stands beside the Camera Operator and holds the boom pole above the heads of the performers keeping the pole and its shadow out of the shot. In a moving shot, the Boom Operator must follow the action while remaining unseen.

On larger productions, the Boom Operators’ sole job is to hold the boom pole. They report directly to the Sound Recordist or Sound Mixer. On smaller productions, the Boom Operator may also be responsible for affixing body mics known as ‘lavs’ or placing other mics throughout the location. In these cases, the Boom Operator and the Sound Mixer may be one and the same.

What's a Boom Operator good at?
  • Communication

    Have great people skills, put cast members at ease when fitting personal mics and be able to collaborate effectively with other team members to ensure the sound fits with the visuals.

  • Problem-solving

    Be resourceful and find effective solutions to technical problems and recording challenges.

  • Technical knowledge

    Be able to operate, maintain and repair sound equipment, keep up-to-date and use innovations.

  • Knowledge of the production and post-production process

    Have a good understanding of all crew roles and aspects of how a programme is made from pre- through to post-production.

  • Physical fitness

    The film industry is characterized by very long filming days, which means that boom operators often have to hold up the boom mic consistently throughout an entire day—for many days in a row. This can cause a lot of strain on your arms, shoulders, and back.

Who does a Boom Operator work with?

Boom Operators work intimately with all on-screen talent and contributors, fitting personal mics and monitoring their sound output. They communicate with all members of the production and crew, especially Camera Operators and Directors. The Boom Operator reports to the Production Sound Mixer, the senior-most sound crew member on set. On lower-budget films, the Boom Operator and the production’s Sound Mixer are often just one person, referred to as the “Sound Recordist.”

How do I become a Boom Operator?

Though there is no formal requirement, the basic skills common to all successful Boom Operators include cursory knowledge of electronics and sound recording equipment, excellent aural skills, strength and dexterity, memorization skills, good timing, attention to detail, and the ability to work in teams.

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

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

Transportation Coordinator

What does a Transportation Coordinator do?

The Transportation Coordinator is responsible for managing the transportation department and overseeing the transportation needs of the film crew and staff. They are in charge of getting everyone and everything from place to place. They are responsible for renting 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. They will also be in charge of hiring Drivers.

Transportation Coordinators are master schedulers. On larger productions they might oversee a fleet of cast and crew cars, as well as cargo transports, making sure everyone and everything arrives on time. They must be skilled in transporting cargo, and are responsible for handling the logistics of transporting cast and crew plus the associated equipment to the location of the film shoot. They must have motivation to work well under pressure and the ability to work long hours despite various weather conditions.

What's a Transportation Coordinator good at?
  • Organization

    Be good at scheduling and keeping track of transporting cargo

  • Communication

    Manage a 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 Transportation Coordinator work with?

The Transportation Coordinator works mainly with the Drivers and Transportation Captains, as well as the production office personnel such as the Production Coordinator and Assistant Production Manager.

How do I become a Transportation Coordinator?

Transportation Coordinators usually start out as Drivers then work their way up to Transportation Captains and eventually Transportation Coordinators. They work their way up by learning and exhibiting organization skills and scheduling skills. Since everyone and everything needs to be in place at a certain time and it is our job to get them there, it is an important job. No specific credentials other than a drivers’ license are required.

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.

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VFX Producer

Also known as: Executive VFX Producer, Show Producer, Bidding Producer

What does a VFX Producer do?

VFX Producers manage the whole process of creating the VFX for film or TV. They make sure that the client, usually the film or TV series’ Producer or Director, is happy with what the VFX studio makes.

VFX Producers create the “deck” document through which they persuade the film or TV series’ Producer to take their VFX studio on to do VFX work on a project. VFX Producers put together the team of VFX Artists and other technical staff. They set the schedules for the work and they manage the budget.

While filming is happening, VFX Producers work closely with the live-action production crew. They also work with the Editor in post-production. They communicate between the crew and Editor. How much they interact with the client varies between studios. They might report to them on a weekly or even daily basis.

What's a VFX Producer good at?
  • Organization

    Effectively plan and manage the project using VFX production pipeline organization software, be able to budget accurately

  • Leadership

    Be confident in giving direction and leading a team, communicate well with everyone, create a positive atmosphere within the team

  • Knowledge of VFX

    Understand all aspects of VFX pipelines, know the processes, the creative challenges and the software used by the artists

  • Problem-solving

    Anticipate any issues that might occur during the project, adapt to changing timescales and technical issues

  • Working with clients

    Communicate well with the film and TV producers, keep them informed it things don’t go to plan, be diplomatic, keep good relationships

Who does a VFX Producer work with?

VFX Producers communicate with the Producer or Director of the production company making the film. Within their own studio, they work closely with the VFX Supervisor, who oversees the creative work. The VFX Producer then works with the Production Manager and Production Coordinators to make sure the work is done on time.

How do I become a VFX Producer?

VFX Producer is a senior position so you’ll need a lot of experience in VFX first. Some get to the role of VFX Producer by working first as a Production Assistant in VFX and then as a Production Coordinator and then a Production Manager. Others come in through a VFX art route; you can start off as a Junior VFX Artist and then gain experience to become a Compositor or Technical Director (TD) and then move into production management.

You need to have excellent leadership and organization skills. A degree in VFX or a related course is a good idea for this role. VFX Producers have excellent project management skills.

Here are some tips:

Get a degree: You could either take a degree that equips you with the technical skills of a VFX artist or a degree in film production.

Create some VFX sequences: A good way of understanding the processes in VFX, is to learn the software, and start making some.

Look outside the industry: See if you can get a job as a Production Assistant with a 3D animation studio or company. This will help you build contacts, skills and knowledge related to VFX. While you are trying to break into VFX production, get management or project management experience. Any job that involves planning, organizing and budgeting will give you good experience.

Take a short course: Hone your skills in production management by taking a specialist course.

Search for jobs: Research VFX companies you’d like to work for. Go to their websites and check if they are advertising for junior roles. Even if they aren’t, send in your CV and showreel and ask them to bear you in mind for future roles or work experience. Keep looking on job websites too.

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.