Production Crew Positions 2020 (Film VS Commercial)

By | Published April 10th, 2020 | in FILMMAKING

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 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.




Line Producers

Unit Production Manager

Production Coordinator

Production Secretary

Office PA’s

Assistants (Director/Producers)


1st AD

2nd AD

2nd 2nd AD

Key PA

Set PA’s



Location Manager

Location Assistants

Location Scouts

Unit PA’s



Transportation Captain

Transportation Coordinator


Picture Car Coordinator



Sound Mixer

Boom Operator

Sound Utility



Script Supervisor



Director of Photography

1st Assistant Camera

2nd Assistant Camera

Stedicam Operator



Stills Photographer

Camera PA



Key Grip

Best Boy Grip

Dolly Grip

Rigging Grips




Best Boy Electric


Generator Operator



Production Designer

Art Director

Art Dept. Coordinator

Construction Coordinator


Key Scenic

Scenic Artists

Set Decorator



Set Dressers


Art PA’s



Prop Master

Assistant Prop Master

Prop Maker

Prop Assistants

Food Stylists

Animal Wranglers



Costume Designer

Assistant Costume Designer


Wardrobe Supervisor

Set Costumes




Hair Department Head

Key Hair Department

Makeup Department Head

Key Makeup Department

Special Effects Makeup



Stunt Coordinator

Stunt Performers



VFX Supervisor





Special Effects Coordinator


Special Effects Foreman

SFX Technicians






Assistant Chefs



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. 

Production Crew Positions 2020 (Film VS 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.

About The Author:

Trenton Massey


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The easiest ways to get in touch with us are to request a meeting, give us a call, or shoot us an email.

[email protected]
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