In a small production, people often wear more than one hat. For example, the Producer, Executive Producer, and PM may all be one person. These descriptions outline a basic definition of the most common positions. When we staff our productions we will make clear the full job description for each member of the staff. Even with job descriptions, we’re a small company and that means we all pitch in to fill the gaps.
Production management includes the financial and creative management of the project including fundraising, distribution, budgets, casting, hiring, scheduling, and rehearsal.
PRODUCER – the CEO and General Manager, involved in all aspects of the production from start to finish including production process, creative, financial, and executive. The producer organizes the entire project and does all the hiring of crew members and keep track of finances throughout the production. The producer participates in the audition process and assists with the casting and hiring of actors, oversees script progress and the final distribution plans for the movie.
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER – the CFO and often the main investor of the project. This person may or may not be involved in management beyond financial. This is the person that signs the checks and raises the money.
PRODUCTION MANAGER – reports directly to the producer(s) Oversees the preparation of the production team, the budget and day to day production decisions. The PM also coordinates with staff to make sure all the gear, sets, costumes – everything needed for the shoot – is in place on time. The PM is responsible for maintaining budget and schedule, and distributing payments to cast, crew, and vendors as contracted.
The PM should be first on set, checks everyone in, verifies all gear has arrived and coordinates with the AD to keep everyone on schedule. The PM will also handle any staff issues that arise and coordinate craft services.
CASTING DIRECTOR – is responsible for auditioning and casting talent. Reports directly to the producer. In small productions, this role is assumed by the director.
DIRECTOR – is responsible for all the creative aspects of the film. The director is the storyteller of the project. The director works directly with the actors on their performances and has final creative control over every aspect of the film. The director plays a large role in casting, script revisions, shot composing and editing.
The art department is responsible for executing the director’s vision for the film. They create the sets, costumes, makeup, props, effects, and graphics.
In a small production, this may be one or two people!
PRODUCTION DESIGNER – is responsible for creating the visual appearance of the film – settings, costumes, character makeup, all taken as a unit. The production designer works closely with the director and the director of photography to achieve the look of the film. In a small production, the designer may also be the Art Director.
ART DIRECTOR – reports to the production designer, and more directly oversees artists and craftspeople, such as the set designers, graphic artists, and illustrators who give form to the production design as it develops. The art director works closely with the construction coordinator and key scenic artist to oversee the aesthetic and textural details of sets as they are realized. In a small production, the Art Director may also be the Production Designer.
SET DESIGNER – is responsible for designing the scenery and set dressing. The set designer is the draftsman, who realizes the structures or interior spaces called for by the production designer. In addition to construction plans, the Set Designer will communicate the design by creating visual representations of each set. In a small production, this person may also be the set decorator, dresser and/or scenic artist.
SPECIAL EFFECTS DESIGNER – creates special effects including fx makeup, prosthetics, weapons, anything that breaks, bleeds, explodes etc… in a small production may also be the FX supervisor on set.
SET DECORATOR – is in charge of the decorating of a film set, which includes the furnishings and all the other objects that will be seen in the film. They work closely with the production designer and coordinate with the art director. In a small production, this person may also be the set dresser and/or designer.
SET DRESSER – is responsible for furniture, drapery, carpets, wall signs, vinyl decals—everything one would find in a location, doorknobs and wall sockets when such items do not fall under the purview of construction. In a small production, this person may also be the set decorator and/or designer.
SCENIC ARTIST – is responsible for the surface treatments of the sets. This includes special paint treatments such as aging and gilding, as well as simulating the appearance of wood, stone, brick, metal, stained glass–anything called for by the production designer
GRAPHIC ARTIST – is responsible for the design and creation of all graphic elements, including signs, billboards, posters, logos, nameplates, and automotive-wrapping — that are created specifically for the film. They will also create graphics that appear in the film such as titles and credits.
CONSTRUCTION COORDINATOR – oversees the construction of all the sets. The coordinator orders materials schedules the work and supervises the construction crew of carpenters, painters, and laborers.
PROPS MASTER, PROPERTIES DESIGNER – is in charge of finding or building, and managing all the props that appear on screen.
HAIR DESIGNER – designs the hair for each actor down to the color, style, and condition for each scene. In a small production, this person may also be the makeup designer or even the costume designer.
MAKEUP DESIGNER – design of makeup for each character and scene, which may include special effects makeup or coordinating with a special effects makeup artist. Makeup designer may also be involved in the design of hair or coordinate with a hair stylest.
COSTUME DESIGNER – is responsible for all the clothing and costumes worn by all the actors that appear on screen and for designing, planning, and organizing the construction of the garments down to the fabric, colors, and sizes. The costume designer works closely with the director and production designer to understand and interpret “character” to achieve the desired tone of the film.
CREW ON SET
On set, the Director is in charge of the overall creative aspect of the shoot, producers and production managers maintain influence over the schedule, budget and logistics.
The AD, the drum major, runs the show and is responsible for keeping everyone on task.
DIRECTOR of PHOTOGRAPHY (DP) – is the Cinematographer, responsible for directing lighting, framing, and composition decisions based on the needs and vision of the Director. The DP will often double as the camera operator. The DP will also coordinate the rental or acquisition of camera equipment, dollies, rigs etc…
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR (AD) – Similar to a Stage Manager in theatrical productions, the AD is responsible for running the day-to-day management in rehearsal as well as during production shoot. The AD is in charge of running the set, organizing the crew, preparing shooting schedules, queuing up the background actors (extras) and organize the entire flow of the shoot. The AD also distributes documents such as scripts and call sheets to the cast and crew and may assist with directing extras. The AD will also inform the cast and crew of procedures, safety, and breaks.
SCRIPT SUPERVISOR – keeps track of what has been shot in accordance with the script including what changes have been made and how to prevent any continuity errors going forward. The script supervisor may also assist at rehearsals prior to shooting.
TALENT – Actors and actresses that perform the action of the script.
CAMERA OPERATOR is the person in charge of working the camera to capture the scenes.
ASSISTANT CAMERA (AC) – Assists the Camera Operator as the focus puller, with equipment changes and may also operate the slate.
GAFFER or CHIEF LIGHTING TECHNICIAN – is responsible for the design and execution of the lighting plan on set. They work closely with the DP to make sure everything is lit correctly.
KEY GRIP – is in charge of supervising camera cranes, dollies, lights, platforms and all on set equipment including the installation and movement of any scenery.
GRIP – Assistant(s) to the KEY GRIP.
SOUND ENGINEER – makes sure the sound is properly recorded on set. They will monitor the sound throughout the shoot.
BOOM OPERATOR – responsible for properly positioning the microphone boom pole during the actual filming. The boom operator is the assistant to the sound mixer.
SPECIAL EFFECTS SUPERVISOR – is in charge of the creative and technical issues of visual effects on a project. They take care of anything that will break, explode, burn, collapse, etc. and work with the director on blocking the actors’ so they don’t get in harm’s way.
MAKEUP ARTIST/HAIRDRESSER – is the person that dresses and maintains the cast’s hair and makeup throughout the shoot.
COSTUME SUPERVISOR – works closely with the Costume Designer and is available on set to monitor the quality and continuity of the actors and actresses costumes before and during takes and will also assist with dressing.
PRODUCTION ASSISTANT – this person provides general help where needed and may be asked to assist any crew member as needed. Basic duties may include dispersing walkie-talkies, setting up pop-up tents and tables, running basic errands as needed. The PA may also be asked to relay calls during a large shoot.
CRAFT SERVICES – Provides refreshment and meals as needed.
EDITOR -The film editor is the person who assembles the various shots into a coherent film. With the help of the director and often input from producers and designers, the editor is part artist and part technician.
SOUND EDITOR – is in charge of the post-production sound of a movie, working with the director and editor to balance the sound. In a small production, the Editor may also be the Foley Artist.
FOLEY ARTIST – is the person who creates the post-sync sound effects for a film. These sound effects are recorded in sync to picture including body movements, footsteps, object manipulations, environmental sounds, and noises.
COMPOSER – composes music for the film. Hiring a composer depends upon having the budget to hire an orchestra or musicians to play the music and record it. In a smaller production, making use of pre-recorded music will be more cost-effective.
MUSIC SUPERVISOR – works with the composer, mixers, and editors to create and integrate the film’s music. In a small production may work with the director and/or production designer to select pre-recorded music.
CALL PROCEDURES ON SET
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR (AD)
Coordinates with key staff and the director to determine when we’re ready to shoot.
This lets the entire crew know to get ready to shoot. If it’s a rehearsal the call is “Rehearsal’s Up!” so everyone knows that it’s not actually being filmed.
“Quiet on the Set” may be called anytime if noise continues after “Picture’s Up”
PRODUCTION ASSISTANTS (PA’s):
PA’s are usually stationed around different parts of the set. When the hear the AD call out any command they repeat it for anyone out of range of the AD.
This lets the sound and boom operators know to begin recording sound.
This lets the AD and crew know that sound is recording.
AD: “Roll Camera”
This lets the crew know that camera has begun recording.
ASSISTANT CAMERA (2nd AC or whoever is assigned to the slate)
Once both sound and camera are rolling slates the shot so sound and camera can sync repeating scene and take.
This lets the director and AD know that camera has the correct framing and focus and are ready to go.
Action begins and continues until the director calls cut.
If someone isn’t ready the call is “Hold!” which will be repeated by the AC, everyone will wait in place until the AC either moves forward or calls for a break.
Most of the above transcribed from the following sources: