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Welcome to the

media industrY


runner T

he role of Runner is the accepted and conventional entry-level position within the film production industry - the first rung on the ladder. Many highly successful Directors, Producers or Technicians begin their careers as Runners. Within the industry, the role of Runner is viewed as basic, on-the-job training. Runners may be asked to do anything that is required on the set or location to aid the progress of the shoot. This can make the Runners’ role more varied than any of the other job roles within the industry, although the nature of the tasks they are set may seem menial, and are often tasks that no-one else has the time to complete. A number of Runners may be employed on larger productions. Floor Runners are usually supervised and instructed by Assistant Directors. Responsibilities As the role’s name suggests, Runners first and foremost run errands. Their responsibilities vary widely from shoot to shoot, but usually involve conveying messages, organising props, looking after cast and crew (making and distributing tea and coffee can be an hourly task), driving, delivering technical equipment, and attending to specific requests from the Producer, Director or Assistant Directors. The overall responsibility of Runners is to complete whatever task is assigned to them as quickly and as efficiently as possible. As even relatively small details may cause interruptions or delays to filming, all their duties must be carried out rapidly, so that the shoot can progress smoothly. Skills Whilst Runners’ chores may appear basic, some essential skills are required to take on the role successfully. Runners must be able to complete every task efficiently and quickly, whilst also

paying attention to detail, and using common sense and initiative at all times. Perhaps most important of all, Runners must be able to take and carry out instructions with humility, good grace and enthusiasm, no matter how apparently menial the assigned duty. A ‘can do’ attitude, stamina and drive are all crucial.

Runners must be very observant, as their role involves training and developing their skills on the job. Runners must always be reliable and organised. As all these skills are vital for this role, and for other roles within this department, being able to apply them at this entry-level position is an essential requirement. The work is usually freelance and involves long hours, so Runners must be motivated and flexible. Qualifications/Experience No formal qualifications are required to become a Runner. Appropriate personal skills and qualities are far more important than an academic track record. Work experience placements as a Runner may also be useful. Any personal experience of working on the production of an amateur play, or short film, is likely to be relevant. A full driving licence is the one qualification considered essential for all Runners. Any Health and Safety knowledge or training is also useful; the payment is in most cases minimum wage. Individual course accreditation in certain subject areas is currently being piloted. As part of Creative Skillset’s and the UK Film Council’s Film Skills Strategy, A Bigger Future, a network of Screen Academies and a Film Business Academy have been approved as centres of excellence in education and training for film.


researcher A

programme researcher provides support to the producer and production team. Researchers contribute ideas for programmes, source contacts and contributors and collect, verify and prepare information for film, television and radio productions. A researcher can work on a wide variety of programmes or within one subject area. The work involves organising, planning and researching everything that will happen during the programme - who will be interviewed; location; will the film crew fit; does the budget stretch? The researcher has a responsibility for fact checking, writing briefs for presenters and ensuring that there is adherence to appropriate legislation relating to the production. The role may also be known as a specialist, live-footage or picture researcher, broadcast assistant or assistant producer. The job can be seen as an apprenticeship for the producer role and a chance for ambitious recruits to show their potential.

Typical work activities The variety and type of work carried out by a researcher depends on individual producers and the companies that employ them. Depending on the size and type of employer, researchers may carry out specific research-based tasks or their job might expand into more production-based activities.

Typical work activities

The variety and type of work carried out by a researcher depends on individual producers and the companies that employ them. Depending on the size and type of employer, researchers may In radio, broadcasters carry out specific research-based will do elements of tasks or their job might expand their own programme into more production-based research, assisted by the producers and researchers. activities. Researchers in radio In radio, broadcasters will do will contribute to the elements of their own programme development of websites that enhance programme research, assisted by the producers and researchers. Researchers delivery. In television and film, researchers may in radio will contribute to the development of websites that be involved in a wide enhance programme delivery. In variety of activities and television and film, researchers the role may be roughly may be involved in a wide variety divided into two: factual of activities and the role may research (checking all be roughly divided into two: the information used in making a film is accurate, factual research (checking all the information used in making e.g. period costume and architecture), and picture a film is accurate, e.g. period costume and architecture), and research (examining archives for film, video and picture research (examining photographic material to archives for film, video and be used in documentaries). photographic material to be used in documentaries).


editor A

film or video editor is responsible for assembling recorded raw material into a finished product suitable for broadcasting. The material may consist of camera footage, dialogue, sound effects, graphics and special effects. This is a key role in the post-production process and the editor’s skill can determine the quality and delivery of the final product. The editor may be part of a team and they will usually work closely with the director to achieve the desired end result. The majority of film/video editors are employed on a freelance basis, working on short-term contracts for postproduction studios, television companies and corporate employers. Editors may work on a variety of productions

including feature films, television programmes, music videos, corporate training videos or commercials. Film Editor salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most film editors make between $36,000 - $81,200 per year, or $17.32 $39.04 per hour


T

director

he Director is the driving creative force in a film’s production, and acts as the crucial link between the production, technical and creative teams. Directors are responsible for creatively translating the film’s written script into actual images and sounds on the screen - he or she must visualise and define the style and structure of the film, then act as both a storyteller and team leader to bring this vision to reality. Directors’ main duties include casting, script editing, shot composition, shot selection and editing. While the practical aspects of filmmaking, such as finance and marketing, are left to the Producer, Directors must also always be aware of the constraints of the film’s budget and schedule. In some cases, Directors assume multiple roles such as Director/Producer or Director/Writer. Being a Director requires great creative vision, dedication and commitment. Directors are ultimately responsible for a film’s artistic and commercial success or failure. The pay of a director will depend on the reputation of the director, and if they work for a production company or freelance; if the film is a success then sometimes they get a bonus. While there are numerous training courses and reference books on directing, formal qualifications are not necessary to become a Director. Studying the art and craft of directing is important, but the role can only really be mastered through in-depth practical experience. Writing a screenplay, directing one’s own short film or an amateur play, are all good starting places. Extensive industry experience is also crucial to this role; up-to-date knowledge of filmmaking techniques and equipment is vital, as is learning how to work with actors to create a performance.


floor manager A

floor manager takes charge of the production floor in the studio. He acts as the connection between the director and the people on the floor such as the presenters and the audience. The floor manager has to keep contact with the control room and must therefore have a microphone as well as an earpiece while on the floor. He has to make sure that all technical equipment, props and sets are in good condition before filming begins. The majority of television floor managers are self-employed and work freelance. Consequently, salaries can vary depending on location, set, duration of contract and employer. Floor managers might earn anything from £120 to £400 a day. Those starting out will probably expect salaries between £16,000 and £22,000, while those further along in the profession might be earning over £25,000 a year. This profession is open to those both with and without degrees. Those with degrees come from all degree disciplines, but some take degrees in areas such as media studies, film and television, or drama/theatre studies to give them an edge. This isn’t an entry level position. Regardless of education, everyone usually has to work their way up to a floor manager role from more junior positions, such as working as a runner or an assistant floor manager. Entry through a technical role is often advantageous. Good floor managers will be super organised, quick to react and resolve problems under pressure, have top-notch communication skills and a friendly, approachable manner.


location manager L

ocation managers are responsible for making all the practical arrangements for film or photographic shoots taking place outside the studio. Productions are made in a wide range of places and location managers need to research, identify and organise access to appropriate sites. As well as arranging and negotiating site use, the role usually includes managing sites throughout the shooting process. This involves working to strict budgetary and time limits and maintaining a high standard of health and safety and security. The demands of organising crews and dealing with a range of people make this an intense and varied role. A location manager’s role follows a sequence of activities from pre-planning to the completion stages of a production. No formal qualifications are required to become a Location Manager. Industry experience is key, and the best place to start is in the conventional entry-level role of Runner. Ideally, on-the-job training may then be acquired by progressing to the role of Location Scout, or Assistant to an established Location Manager. A full driving licence is essential for this role, as is a good working knowledge of health and safety requirements. The successful completion of any Health and Safety training courses is extremely useful. Rates of pay vary widely, depending on experience, your reputation within the industry and the type of production. Location managers working on major television dramas or feature films can expect to earn more than those working on low-budget productions.


director of photography P

lans, directs, and coordinates motion picture filming: Confers with DIRECTOR, MOTION PICTURE regarding interpretation of scene and desired effects. Observes set or location and reviews drawings and other information relating to natural or artificial conditions to determine filming and lighting requirements. Reads charts and computes ratios to determine required lighting, film, shutter angles, filter factors, camera distance, depth of field and focus, angles of view, and other variables to produce desired effects. Confers with ELECTRICIAN, CHIEF to establish lighting requirements. Selects cameras, accessories, equipment, and film stock, utilizing knowledge of filming techniques, filming requirements, and computations. Instructs camera operators regarding camera setup, angles, distances, movement, and other variables and signals cues for starting and stopping filming. Surveys set or location for potential problems,

observes effects of lighting, measures lighting levels, and coordinates necessary changes prior to filming. Views film after processing and makes adjustments, as necessary, to achieve desired effects. May direct television productions which utilize electronic cameras. May specialize in special effects and be designated Director Of Photography, Special Effects. New cinematographers with a reel and equipment may only earn $200-300 per 10 or 12 hour day, where established cinematographers can earn between $500-$800 per day on multiple day shoots, and hold out for $1500 and up on single day shoots, without providing any gear. Individual course accreditation in certain subject areas is currently being piloted. As part of Creative Skillset’s and the UK Film Council’s Film Skills Strategy, A Bigger Future, a network of Screen Academies and a Film Business Academy have been approved as centres of excellence in education and training for film.


camera operator C

amera Operators perform a vital role within the camera department on feature films. They support the Director of Photography (DoP or DP), and the Director, by accurately carrying out their instructions regarding shot composition and development. The seamless ease with which the camera moves is key to the narrative flow of feature films, and is the Camera Operators’ responsibility. They are usually the first people to use the camera’s eye piece to assess how all the elements of performance, art direction, lighting, composition and camera movement come together to create the cinematic experience. The DoP or Director often requests a specific Camera Operator, who in turn makes recommendations about the rest of the Camera and Grip Departments. The work is physically demanding, and requires high levels of strength and stamina. Hours are long (12-14 hours a day), and some foreign travel may be required, involving long periods spent away from base. Camera operators often work on a freelance basis. Rates of pay for freelance television camera operators vary according to the type of production. The Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU) lists the recommended going rates of pay by grade and type of production. For example, the going rate for camera operators working a ten-hour day on TV factual/documentary programmes is £285; for commercials £411; and for TV news £227.


sound designer T

he sound designer plans and provides the sound effects in the play. The composer writes any original music the show may require. All the music and/or effects in a play considered as a whole make up the “soundscape.” In addition to the sounds of the words spoken by the actors, a play may also call for sound effects to recreate lifelike noises or use music or abstract and unidentifiable sounds to support the drama. The designer’s work Sound designers and composers begin their work by studying the script, gathering as much information as they can about any sound or music it calls for. As in all other aspects of design, an early meeting with the director and the design team is essential to get a clear understanding of the production concept. Some directors will already have very clear ideas about what the sound effects and/or music should sound like, while others may request that the sound designer/composer sit in on rehearsals to assist with developing effects and music to fit the specific contexts in which they will be used. Once they have a precise sense of what the production needs out of the music or sound, the composer begins composing the necessary musical pieces and the sound designer begins to gather and create the necessary sounds.

While there are no specific educational requirements for this career, aspiring sound designers can develop the necessary skills and experience at art schools, film schools and universities. Good schools provide up-to-date training in well-equipped sound studios. Options range from 1-year diploma programs to bachelor’s and master’s degrees in sound design. There is not a spesific salary set for sound designers, and it also depends on whether they are a sound designer for film, televison or video games. but a rough estimate is around 23,000 – 93,000 a year. Competition to become a Sound Designer is increasingly high and even those entering the film industry at junior levels have a B.Mus (Tonmeister) or similar qualification. Many Sound Designers have also specialised in Film and Television Sound at post-graduate level. Sound is one of the best served areas for film and television training in the UK with provision ranging from specialised short courses, to qualifications at HND, BA and post graduate levels. Individual course accreditation in certain subject areas is currently being piloted. As part of Creative Skillset’s and the UK Film Council’s Film Skills Strategy, A Bigger Future, a network of Screen Academies and a Film Business Academy have been approved as centres of excellence in education and training for film. For more information, please log onto the Creative Skillset website.


F

sound editor (foley editor)

oley Editors are responsible for the post-synchronised sound effects on a film sound track that are added during the sound editing process, excluding any special sounds which are usually created by the Sound Effects Editor or Sound Designer. “Foley” is normally defined as sounds related to movements, whether pertaining to a character or an object (footsteps, fights, fist banging on a door), or to the result of an object’s movement (pouring wine, shards of glass falling from a broken window). Named after Jack Foley (an innovative pioneer of the art at Universal Studios), Foley is recorded in specialised sound studios working to projected pictures. It is a means of adding the subtle sounds that production microphones often miss, e.g., the rustling of clothing or the squeak of a saddle when a rider mounts his horse; or of enhancing explosions or crashes which give scenes the realism that other effects methods cannot provide. Foley Editors are either employed by Audio Post Production Houses, or work as freelancers who are employed directly by film production companies and use dry-hire rooms close to the other Sound Editors. They work on film and television productions, and the hours are long.

Foley Editors are usually graduates of Arts, Music, Electronics, Maths, or Sound Technology courses, who have also specialised in Sound at post-graduate level. Sound is one of the best served areas for film and television training in the UK with provision ranging from specialised short courses, to qualifications at HND, BA and post graduate levels. Sound editors, also known as sound engineering technicians, use a variety of audio tools to record and manipulate what people hear. Sometimes their work focuses on preservation, but other times it involves creating entirely new effects. Sound editors had the potential to earn over $90,000 annually in May 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, although a more typical rate was around $54,000 per year.

Individual course accreditation in certain subject areas is currently being piloted. As part of Creative Skillset’s and the UK Film Council’s Film Skills Strategy, A Bigger Future, a network of Screen Academies and a Film Business Academy have been approved as centres of excellence in education and training for film. For more information, please log onto the Creative Skillset website.


sound mixer P

roduction Sound Mixers are responsible for the difficult job of ensuring that dialogue recorded during filming is suitably clear. Although much of the storytelling and the emotional impact of a script are conveyed through dialogue, most film sets are challenging environments for Mixers because there are often unwanted noises to deal with, or the required camera shots hamper the placing of microphones. It is sometimes easier to re-record actors’ dialogues after shooting (post-syncing), but the majority of Directors prefer to use the actual lines of dialogue recorded during filming by Production Sound Mixers, Boom Operators and Sound Assistants using multiple microphones and DAT (Digital Audio Tape) or hard disk recorders. Production Sound Mixers work on a freelance basis on features and drama productions. The hours are long and the work often involves long periods working away from home. Typical starting salary: £16,000 - £18,000 in an established studio or in television and radio. Typical salary with experience, e.g. after ten years in the role: £30,000 - £35,000. These wages are often supplemented with unpredictability or unsocial hour allowances. Freelance sound technicians can earn £230 - £500 per (ten hour) day. The Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU) publishes a set of guidelines on rates of pay for freelancers.


sound recordist

A

Sound Recordist is responsible for recording the voices and background noise on a TV or Movie shoot, be that in a studio or on location. This means they will have to setup and operate the variety of equipment required to record the audio, whilst working closely with Cameramen and any other members of the sound crew on a large production, this may include multiple Boom Operators and Sound Mixers. One a smaller production, however, these roles may all fall onto one person. The Sound Recordist will apply their technical knowledge and experience to equipment such as boom mics, clip mics, processing units, monitoring devices and mixing desks in order to get the best sound onto tape or digital formats. Employers will look

for job seekers who have exceptional knowledge of their equipment and technology, both hardware and software; proving your expertise and staying up to date with the latest advancements in this area is key. This can also expand to an understanding of the science of sound; learning what kind of materials, surroundings and conditions may affect it, and how to balance those with the equipment at hand. In addition, a Sound Recordist must be a good communicator to work with other members of the sound team and the production overall. Being able to analyse and solve problems, or adapt to different conditions is also a trait that employers will look upon favorably. A sound recordist will recive a very similar salary to a sound mixer.


producer

P

roducers are the main players in the television, film and video industries. A producer will oversee each project from conception to completion and may also be involved in the marketing and distribution processes. Producers work closely with directors and other production staff on the shoot. Increasingly, they need to have directing skills themselves as the producer may also be the director and may take care of all project operations. Producers arrange funding for each project and are responsible for keeping the production within the allocated budget. Creative input and the level of decision making varies, as this is dependent on the client and the brief. Producers are responsible for facilitating a project from beginning to end. They are involved in every stage of the television programme, film or video, overseeing the project from start to finish, both in the studio and on location. Essentially team leaders, they are supported by production assistants, coordinators and managers, depending on the size of the project. Salaries vary considerably depending on the size of the company and the size and scale of the project.


exectutive producer

T

he traditional role of the Executive Producer is to supervise the work of the Producer on behalf of the studio, the financiers or the distributors, and to ensure that the film is completed on time, and within budget, to agreed artistic and technical standards. The term often applies to a producer who has raised a significant proportion of a film’s finance, or who has secured the underlying rights to the project. Typically, Executive Producers are not involved in the technical aspects of the filmmaking process, but have played a crucial financial or creative role in ensuring that the project goes into production. Executive Producers may be well established Producers, who are able to strengthen a production package and attract money to the project. Alternatively, they may have a more specialised background, as a Distributor, Sales Agent or financier, and possess specific skills or contacts that make them critical to the success of the film. The most successful executive producers can earn up to the millions in salary each year. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the average national salary of a movie producer for the motion picture and video industries was $108,580 per year in 2009. Independent executive producers fall on the lower end of the spectrum as projects are usually farther apart than that of a producer contracted or employed by a film studio.


line producer T he Line Producer is one of the first people to be employed on a film’s production by the producer and executive producers. A Line Producer is a key member of the production team for a motion picture. Typically, a Line Producer manages the budget of a motion picture. Alternatively, or in addition, they may manage the day to day physical aspects of the film production, serving a role similar to the unit production manager. Line Producers usually do not act as part of the creative team for a picture. Because Line Producers work on location, they don’t work on more than one film at a time (unlike other producer roles). A Line Producer may also hire key members of the crew, negotiate deals with vendors,

and is considered the head of production. Line Producers are rarely involved in the development of the project, but often play a crucial role in costing the production in order to provide investors with the confidence to invest in the project. As soon as the finance has been raised, the Line Producer supervises the preparation of the film’s budget, and the day to day planning and running of the production. Line Producers are usually employed on a freelance basis. They must expect to work long hours, though the role can be financially very rewarding. Career advancement is based on their experience and reputation. Where a Line Producer has a creative input to the production, he or she is often credited as a coproducer. No

qualifications can prepare anyone completely for this hugely demanding role. Line Producers must have considerable industry experience, which can only be acquired by working for a number of years in film, television and/or commercial production. Individuals usually progress to the role of Line Producer by working their way through a variety of roles in assistant direction, location management and/or the production office. Many start their careers as runners or production assistants. Line Producers must also attend the required health and safety courses. The salary of a line producer usually depends on their experiance but a tipical amount is 4,800 to 5,000 per week.


designer

P

roduction Designers are major heads of department on film crews, and are responsible for the entire Art Department. They play a crucial role in helping Directors to achieve the film’s visual requirements, and in providing Producers with carefully calculated schedules which offer viable ways of making films within agreed budgets and specified periods of time. Filming locations may range from an orderly Victorian parlour, to a late-night café, to the interior of an alien space ship. The look of a set or location is vital in drawing the audience into the story, and is an essential element in making a film convincing and evocative. A great deal of work and imagination goes into constructing an appropriate backdrop to any story, and into selecting or constructing appropriate locations and/or sets. Directors of Photography and Production Designers are largely responsible for informing and realising the Director’s vision. Production Designers begin work at the very early stages of pre-production and are requested by the Director and/or Producer. They work on a freelance basis, and may have to prepare detailed drawings and specifications in order to pitch for work on a number of productions before they are offered work on one of them. Although the work can be very demanding and the hours long, this is one of the most highly skilled, creatively fulfilling roles within the film industry Production Designers are usually graduates of Art, Architecture, Theatre, Interior or 3D Design courses. Subsequently they usually complete a specialist course in Film and/or Theatre Design. •Typical salaries at senior level vary widely. The current BECTU agreement suggests that production designers should negotiate fees on an individual basis for each job. Salaries may vary a great deal from one production to the next and your income will depend on the nature and number of contracts you take on. Negotiating a weekly or daily rate is common. If you are on a low income, you can supplement your earnings with other activities, e.g. teaching, model-making, exhibition design. Only a few designers command high salaries. Those fortunate enough to work on West End productions may receive a percentage of box office takings or royalties.


sources www. prospects.ac.uk www.creativeskillset.org/film www.ehow.com www.IMDB.com www.wikipidia.org

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