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Job Roles Within Media


Runner Runner

Runner Runner Runn Runner


A runner is an entry-level position, it’s the most junior role in the production department of a broadcast, film or video company. There is no single job description as runners act as general assistants and undertake whatever basic tasks are required to ensure the smooth running of the production process. Jobs that a runner usually does: • fetching and carrying items, such as equipment, tapes, cable and scripts. • transporting cast, crew and production staff between tudios and shoot locations. • driving cars, vans or trucks between locations and around sets. • helping set up a location for a shoot.

PAY AND CONDITIONS Starting salaries vary according to the size of the company but on average the starting salary is £8 per hour. Pay is low and there is little reason for it to increase because competition for paids runnner positions is fierce and most runners work on a freelance basis. Getting a position as a runner is often a combination of luck, timing and networking.

GETTING THE JOB Relevant course for becoming a runner are any courses that are within television, film, multimedia, broadcasting, drama and theatre.

Candidates will need to show evidence of the following: • • • • • • • • • •

excellent communication and interpersonal skills. ability to network with a wide range of people (actors, directors, other departments, caterers, etc); physical stamina and resilience; initiative and the ability to problem solve; excellent time management and organisational skills; an understanding of the industry; team-working skills; enthusiasm and motivation; ability to remain calm under pressure; a proactive disposition.

Specialist Researchers work closely with the Production Designer, the Supervising Art Director, Art Director and Set Decorator, but also provide backup in the form of detailed research to the entire Art Department. This may involve anything from finding a visual reference to inspire a specific set, or sourcing details that enable the Draughtsmen* to produce accurate technical drawings, to researching a specific craft or skill that might be needed to make a prop. Supported by the Specialist Researcher, it is the Production Designer’s job to ensure that every detail on sets, which can range from the interior of an alien spaceship to the contents of a Victorian drawing room, is as authentic and believable as possible. •



PAY AND CONDITIONS Salary£24,501-£27,000Additional salary info Starting basic salary £18,000 plus personal commission plan, quarterly incentives and 22 days holiday


Relevant course for becoming a researcher are any courses that are within television, film, multimedia, broadcasting, drama and theatre.

Candidates will need to show evidence of the following:

• resourceful approach to finding things out; • highly organised, methodical approach to work; • good communication skills; • ability to interpret other people’s ideas; • ability to work as part of a team; • knowledge of the requirements of the relevant Health and Safety legislation and procedures.





Editors are one of the key Heads of Department on feature films, responsible for First Assistant Editors, and on bigger productions, Second Assistants and Trainees. The way a story unfolds and grabs the attention of the audience is one of the most important elements in filmmaking. To ensure that the story flows effortlessly from beginning to end, each shot is carefully chosen and edited into a series of scenes, which are in turn assembled to create the finished film. This highly creative, challenging and rewarding job is the work of the Editor, who works closely with the Director, crafting the daily rushes into a coherent whole. Editors work long, unsociable hours, often under pressure, in an edit suite or cutting room. They are employed on a freelance basis by the Producer.

PAY AND CONDITIONS Salary £24,501-£27,000Additional salary info Starting basic salary £18,000 plus personal commission plan, quarterly incentives and 22 days holiday. We need individuals who are prepared to work hard for their success, have the intellectual capacity required to learn quickly, switch between recruitment markets on a regular basis and have excellent written and verbal communication skills.

Candidates will need to show evidence of the following: • • • •


Relevant course for becoming a editor are any courses that are within television, film, multimedia, broadcasting, drama and theatre.

• • •

ability to be creative under pressure; imagination and an understanding of narrative; excellent communication and interpersonal skills; developed sense of rhythm and timing in story telling; highly developed aesthetic visual awareness; ability to lead a team; patience, attention to detail and good organisational skills; knowledge of the requirements of the relevant Health and Safety legislation and procedures.

The 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. On fantasy films, the sets are often part of an imagined world, but the references used to inspire the Production Designer’s ideas are researched and sourced from the real world.




hile 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. As many Directors work their way up over many years from entry level positions, getting work experience as a Runner on a film set or in a production office is an ideal starting point. Observing successful Directors at work, whilst immersing oneself in the practical process of filmmaking, are vital first steps on this fiercely competitive and highly challenging career path.

Directors must have exceptional artistic vision and creative skills to develop an engaging and original film. Unerring commitment and a deep passion for filmmaking are essential, along with the ability to act as a strong and confident leader. Directors must constantly make decisions, but must also be able to delegate, and to collaborate with others. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills are vital to get the best from the filmmaking team. Directors must inspire and motivate the team to produce the film they have envisioned. They need an extensive understanding of the entire filmmaking process, from both technical and creative points of view. A capacity for long hours of intensive work, attention to detail, and the ability to remain calm and think clearly under great pressure, are key skills for this role. Directors also need great self-belief and the determination to succeed.







Training and Qualifications Current Health & Safety and First Aid qualifications are essential for the role of Production Manager. Although no other specific educational or training qualifications are required for this role, a degree in a media related or specialist subject may provide some useful background information. Wide experience in, and knowledge of, the production process is essential. Successful completion of specialist courses in Production Management, and in relevant IT software, e.g. Movie Magic is useful when working on drama productions.

Production Managers work across all genres in television production including documentaries, current affairs, light entertainment or children’s programmes, situation comedies, soaps or serial dramas, or one off dramas. They are responsible for all the organisational aspects of production scheduling and budgeting. They assist Producers to interpret and realise the Directors’ vision, both financially and logistically. Production Managers may be employed by production companies or broadcasters, or work on a freelance basis.

Key Skills include: • • • • • • • • • •

initiative and problem solving skills. diplomacy and sensitivity. resourcefulness and the ability to troubleshoot. advanced analytical skills. budgeting and financial skills. excellent verbal and written communication skills. precise attention to detail and methodical approach to work. excellent organisational abilities. ability to conceptualise ideas. IT skills, and knowledge of the relevant computer packages.

Location 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.

Skills needed:

Location Managers need initiative and a strong imagination in order to visualise and find potential locations that will satisfy the Director’s requirements. Excellent organisational skills and the ability to negotiate are essential in order to successfully gain permissions to film in the ideal locations, as well as to keep location fees on budget. Administrative skills may be required when drawing up contracts and negotiating permissions with local authorities. Trouble-shooting and communication skills are useful during filming, when Location Managers may need to resolve any unforeseen problems involving the location. They must also be extremely reliable and flexible - Location Managers are usually the first to arrive on location and the last to leave, so the hours can be long and unsocial. A high degree of motivation and enthusiasm are required.

Qualifications/Experience 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.







Stills photography provides a good all round understanding of composition and light. The National Film and Television School’s MA in Cinematography provides the opportunity to specialise, and is taught by practising DoPs. Although DoPs do not need to have electrical qualifications, they do need to understand the functions of a variety of lighting equipment, and to have thorough knowledge of cameras, lenses and film stocks. They may have previously studied Drama, Stills Photography, or Art, or taken a Film/Media Studies degree, where useful research skills are also developed.

Directors of Photography are key Heads of Department on film productions, and theirs is one of the major creative roles. They are requested by the Director, and must be approved by the financiers, studio and/or completion bond company. DoPs work closely with the Director and Production Designer to give a film its visual signature. Lighting is one of the fundamental elements in filmmaking; the way in which light falls on an actor’s face, reveals an interior space, or illuminates a landscape, can create mood, drama and excitement for the audience. The ability of cinema to entertain and emotionally move an audience is the result of a highly collaborative process which encompasses performance, editing and music. The role of the Director of Photography or Cinematographer is to provide a film with its unique visual identity, or look.

Sound Designers are responsible for providing any required sounds to accompany screen action. Most Sound Designers are experienced Supervising Sound Editors who carry out a managerial role, steering the work of the entire sound post production process, combined with the specialist role of creating the sound concept for films. As well as creating the sounds for giant explosions or car crashes, Sound design is also the art of creating subtle sounds that enrich the language and feeling of a film. Production 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.

Key Skills include: Key Skills include: • • • • • • •

artistic vision. creativity and precise attention to detail. good colour vision. ability to give and to accept direction. excellent communication skills; diplomacy and tact when working with cast and crew. knowledge of the requirements of the relevant Health and Safety legislation and procedures.

• • • • • • • •

Excellent aural skills. Good communication skills. Diplomacy and tact. Ability to give and to accept direction. Precise attention to detail. Ability to interpret other people’s ideas. Ability to work as part of a team Ability to make decisions under pressure.

When filming begins, Sound Crews arrive on set half-an-hour before call time to prepare their equipment. During rehearsals, when the Director, Director of Photography and actors run through all camera moves and




lighting, the Production Sound Mixer and Boom Operator plan where they should place microphones to obtain the best possible sound quality. After each take, Production Sound Mixers, check the quality of sound recording and, if necessary, ask for another take work. It is sometimes easier to re-record actors’ dialogues after shooting 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 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.




Producers have overall control on every aspect of a film’s production, bringing together and approving the selection of the whole production team. Their primary responsibility is to foster an environment in which the creative talents of the cast and crew can flourish - Producers are therefore ultimately accountable for the success of the finished film. The many responsibilities of the Producer span all four phases of production: development, pre-production, production and postproduction and marketing.

• • • •

Key Skills:

ability to secure finance for the production. ability to prepare and control the production budget. excellent communication skills. ability to work well under pressure and motivate the production team.

Producers are highly self-motivated individuals, who have the final responsibility for all aspects of a film’s production. There are so many ways of being a Producer. Very often the Producer is the first person to become involved in a project, even before the writer, or they may be the agentstyle Producer who focuses on the deal. Generally though, the Producer shepherds the film from inception to completion and beyond, starting long before the film-making process and continuing to talk about and sell the picture long after everyone else has gone on to other projects. A Top film makers work with the same people over and over again, which is why it is important for those who wish to make a career in the Production Office to gain respect by being a reliable, trustworthy and enthusiastic Production Assistant or Runner.


There are no set qualifications for the grade of Producer - however, as the head of a team of both accounting and creative personnel, the Producer has to have an extensive understanding of the nature of film production as well as a strong grasp of business and financial issues. He/she must have experience of working in the film industry, preferably as part of the Production Team.

PAY In 2008, the average salary for this job was £23,000. The median salary for a Media Producer based on all salary survey responses is: £86,500

WHAT IS THE JOB. Executive Producers’ roles vary depending on the type of genre, broadcaster or production. They must be able to identify commercial, marketable projects from a range of proposals. They may help to develop scripts, or to identify others who can help to make projects more marketable. They are responsible for finding suitable markets or outlets. They may attend TV & Film marketing festivals such as Cannes, MIP-TV International Film and Programme Market for Television, etc. to promote their projects nationally and internationally, and to secure funding partnerships during meetings with potential sponsors or co-producers. The cost of a television production may be shared amongst a number of partner organisations who will all eventually broadcast the finished programmes, often in different countries. Executive Producers have overall responsibility for the success of the projects. Also they ensure that a range of publicity and marketing materials are prepared in order to attract co-production partnerships and funding.


KEY SKILLS: • • • • • • •


Highly effective negotiating skills. Excellent verbal and written Communication skills. Excellent presentation, pitching and marketing abilities. Excellent organisational and managerial skills. Initiative and problem solving skills. Effective leadership and mentoring skills.




lthough no specific educational or training qualifications are required for the role of Executive Producer, a degree in a media related or specialist subject may provide some useful background knowledge. Wide experience in and knowledge of the production process is essential. Some specialist courses aimed at experienced producers, e.g. those run by UK MEDIA and funded by the EU, offer training in co-production, developing networks and partnerships, pitching, and other topics.

PAY As of June 2013 the average salary for a executive producer in the US is £68,029 a year which is way above the





Line Producers must possess an in-depth knowledge of scheduling and budgeting, and of all the physical and technical processes of filmmaking. They need excellent industry contacts, and must command the respect of the production crew. Exceptional communication skills are required, as well as the diplomacy to balance the creative expectations of the director, artists and creative personnel with the financial resources available. They always need to plan for the worst, whilst simultaneously being able to inspire others to excel in their work. Unlike Producers, Line Producers are not responsible under Health & Safety legislation for setting up health and safety procedures; however, they are required to carry out risk assessments according to regulatory requirements. They must therefore know how to identify the hazards in the production environment, to assess the level of risk, to recommend action, and to carry out a review of their assessment.


he Line Producer is one of the first people to be employed on a film’s production by the Producer and Executive Producers. 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 Co-producer.


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.



Qualifications/ Experience

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 & Safety courses.

Pay The average VFX Line Producer salary in the United Kingdom is around £40,000 to £43,000 a year, this is from the company Framestore.


Typical Career Routes

Skills Production Designers must have expert knowledge of many art and design related subjects including draughtsmanship, technical drawing, colour theory, architecture, building and construction, history of design, interior design, cameras and lenses, lighting, etc. Production Designers must also have full knowledge of computer budgeting software and computer aided design programmes (CADS).

Qualifications/ Experience 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.

As the head of the largest department on a film crew, Production Designers must have extensive experience gained over a number of years, usually by progressing through the various Art Department roles: Junior Draughtsman, Draughtsman, Assistant Art Director, Art Director. They may also have a background of working in theatre, where they learn the art of set design and construction as well as how to conceptualise ideas and create a sense of drama through visual spectacle. Graduates who have studied Film and Theatre Design may also gain experience working on short films before progressing to junior roles on feature films


The median salary for a Media Production Designer is $41,665 which is £28,050.


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