Production Crew Positions 2020 (Film VS Commercial)

By | Published April 10th, 2020 | in Crew, Production

Production Crew Positions 2020 (Film VS Commercial)

With the evolution of film crew roles and their typical association with technology, comes new career opportunities and pathways for people to work their way into the film industry.

For beginners, all of the many roles available to master might seem a little vague and clarification can go a long way when starting your journey and you’re trying to decide what direction you want to go.

Well that’s where we can help…

But first, it’s important to know that there’s different approaches to different types of production. Say for example — Film & Commercial Advertisement Production. They’re two different worlds, but share many similarities. 

Let’s take a look at some!


Film

Film created the foundation for all types of production and it all starts with cinema. From there Journalists, Documentarians and Advertisement Agencies began using the medium for their benefit. With that evolution, came job roles that had slightly different descriptions depending on which type of production you were working on. 

With that also came a list of expendable roles. With film, there are such things as ‘skeleton crews’ that are appropriately minimized to match the material being captured, but there’s no such thing as expendable film roles. Same goes for other types of production, but one thing you won’t typically see on a professional film set is a crew member wearing multiple hats.

PRODUCTION

Director

Producers

Line Producers

Unit Production Manager

Production Coordinator

Production Secretary

Office PA’s

Assistants (Director/Producers)

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR

1st AD

2nd AD

2nd 2nd AD

Key PA

Set PA’s

 

LOCATIONS

Location Manager

Location Assistants

Location Scouts

Unit PA’s

 

TRANSPORTATION

Transportation Captain

Transportation Coordinator

Drivers

Picture Car Coordinator

 

SOUND

Sound Mixer

Boom Operator

Sound Utility

 

CONTINUITY

Script Supervisor

 

CAMERA

Director of Photography

1st Assistant Camera

2nd Assistant Camera

Stedicam Operator

Loader

DIT

Stills Photographer

Camera PA

 

GRIP

Key Grip

Best Boy Grip

Dolly Grip

Rigging Grips

 

ELECTRIC

Gaffer

Best Boy Electric

Electricians

Generator Operator

 

ART

Production Designer

Art Director

Art Dept. Coordinator

Construction Coordinator

Carpenters

Key Scenic

Scenic Artists

Set Decorator

Buyer

Leadman

Set Dressers

Greensmen

Art PA’s

 

PROPS

Prop Master

Assistant Prop Master

Prop Maker

Prop Assistants

Food Stylists

Animal Wranglers

 

COSTUME & WARDROBE

Costume Designer

Assistant Costume Designer

Shoppers

Wardrobe Supervisor

Set Costumes

Seamstress

 

HAIR & MAKEUP

Hair Department Head

Key Hair Department

Makeup Department Head

Key Makeup Department

Special Effects Makeup

 

STUNTS

Stunt Coordinator

Stunt Performers

 

VISUAL EFFECTS

VFX Supervisor

Designers

Animators

 

SPECIAL EFFECTS

Special Effects Coordinator

Supervisor

Special Effects Foreman

SFX Technicians

Armorer/Pyrotechnics

 

CATERING

Caterer

Chef

Assistant Chefs

 

CRAFT SERVICES

Key Craft Service

Craft Service Assistants 

 

Essential VS Expendable

Like I mentioned up top, when it comes to film, no roles are expendable — they’re all essential. Depending on the needs of the scene, those essential roles shift around. For instance, if a film requires absolutely no special effects, that’s an entire department that’s omitted. The job roles within one department can be minimized as well. Say for instance there’s no food or plants involved in any scene, you won’t have a need for a Food Stylist or a Greensman. 

Commercial

With Commercial production, you can break a lot more rules. People tend to wear many hats with commercial production in any one department. For example, your best boy might turn into your dolly grip and your rigging grip and your gaffer might handle all electric duties. Your Producer might be the Line Producer and Production Coordinator and you may operate with only one 1st AD if you’re only dealing with a couple actors and a simplified set.

Commercial Productions typically cram a lot more into one day than Films do. Films typically run on 12 hour days where Commercial Productions typically run on 10 hour days with OT past that. Most producers will avoid OT at all costs so you’ll be working a lot faster to make up for that loss of two hours.

Essential VS Expendable

Though it isn’t recommended, these days a lot of commercial crews forgo once thought essential roles in the days of film. Roles like Script Supervisor and Loader are easily missing on a lot of Commercial Productions today utilizing digital camera technology. A lot of times your 2nd AC will act as Media Management with your DIT nonexistent. Commercials try to keep their budgets on the lower end so sacrifices are sometimes made when acquiring essential crew members. If it’s a significantly large commercial production with a big budget though, you will see all of these previously omitted roles on the call sheet. And if the production is all union, your crew will resemble something closer to a union feature film crew.


To wrap it up…

If you’re just getting your bearings, feel out all of the film roles you can and don’t rush into a decision. We’re talking about a career that you could still have 30 years from now. Make sure it’s something you enjoy doing and that you excel in. 

Many take different pathways into the business. Not everyone’s journey is the same, but having a handle on what to generally expect with different types of production will help you prepare accordingly and challenge you to learn as much as you can.

Who Are We?

Ambient Skies is a full service entertainment production company focused on creative storytelling for commercials, documentaries, and narratives.

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About The Author:

Trenton Massey