Making films is the dream of many young people. Mine, too. That’s why I’ve been working for several years in various positions – from assistant director to production manager and up-and-coming director. Patience and stamina are important prerequisites. You learn that right on the first day of shooting.
Nevertheless, at some point you sit in the movie theater, the lights go out, the first images appear on the screen, the audience smiles, is touched. That’s the reward for all the effort and strain. The road to this moment is usually very long, winding and rocky. Fortunately, one is not alone on this path.
It is walked by many people. But, who does what? Here I describe some of the professions that exist in film. And please visit the website cinevision for more informations.
The film producer decides (not alone) which films should be realized and whether it is worth fighting for a certain topic, idea and story. He has to weigh up whether a film will attract viewers, how much money it will cost and where the budget will come from.
Once his decision on a film has been made, the producer talks to editors, film funding officers, financiers, and key staff members who will be involved in making it happen. The producer has financial responsibility in all phases of film production, from financing and project development to shooting, post-production and marketing.
The artistic responsibility lies with the director. Therefore, a trusting collaboration between the director and producers, as well as the rest of the production team, is very important. The director develops a vision of the story.
He imagines how the basic idea will be creatively realized on all levels. This includes the acting of the actors, the camera work, the film music, the set design and the editing. The director’s main job is to make sure everyone pulls together and gives their best to make the film happen.
A screenwriter, sometimes it is the director himself, develops the story in scenes and images. Screenwriting means making actions and conflicts visually imaginable and developing an arc of suspense.
After all, the audience should be captivated. In addition to creativity, this also requires openness, because the opinions of the producer, the director, the editors and the promoters usually have to be taken into account in the screenplay so that it can be realized.
The producer is responsible for all content-related and organizational steps of a film production. He or she works closely with the producer and the director and – depending on the production – makes many creative and organizational decisions, but must also find solutions when there is turbulence, breakdowns or delays.
The Producer creates shooting schedules and timetables, schedules the team and supervises the individual steps.
How the duties of the producer and production manager differ depends on each individual film production and the size of the team. For example, the production manager’s duties include managing the budget, monitoring costs, hiring team members, scheduling shoots, and working with the film executive and production management team to handle the financial and accounting aspects of the film production.
Cinematographer and lighting crew
The cinematographer brings the story to the screen and thus bears the same responsibility as the director. To do this, he or she works out the film language and „resolution“ with him or her, determining which shots the film will be shot in. In a fictional film, the lighting is especially important so that the picture looks as desired in the end. That’s why the cinematographer has a team of people under him who take care of focus, material, lamps and their setup.
Sound mixer and assistant
Without a good sound, the best film can drastically lose quality. That’s why the sound engineer and his assistant record all conversations and background noises with a sound rod and recording equipment.
The recording supervisor ensures that filming can actually take place at the locations of the film – the subjects. He or she is responsible in advance for obtaining filming permits at the respective locations. With a larger team, there is a set production manager who (with a few assistants) ensures that the schedule is adhered to and that everything has its place, for example, where vehicles are parked, costume, make-up and recreation rooms are located, where the electricity is obtained and where the catering trolley for the team is located.
In addition, the set production manager checks that filming locations are left clean and that safety precautions are observed.
The assistant director is the mouthpiece of the film. He or she mediates between the director and the „heads“ of the individual departments so that the director can realize the film as smoothly as possible. He works closely with the producer and (set) director, is involved in the creation of the shooting schedule and controls or coordinates the course of the shoot.
To this end, he constantly communicates the director’s ideas, organizes meetings, draws up lists and passes on information. Depending on the size of the film production, there are second and third assistant directors who, for example, take care of the extras and everything that the first assistant director can no longer manage.
The production designer creates the „look“ of the film according to the director’s vision. He looks for and designs the motifs and their equipment. To do this, he creates a color concept and how the rooms of the film should look.
The production designer cannot do this alone, which is why he works with an interior and exterior prop designer and several assistants.
The editor cuts the film together with the director. Depending on the director, the editor works independently or as a source of ideas. Often the film is re-created in the edit and many things from the original script change.
The postproduction supervisor coordinates and supervises the steps of postproduction such as editing, mixing, sound design and the production of the various technical final formats for cinema and television. This requires a great deal of technical knowledge – and, as with all other professions, excellent communication skills.