Huge Roles Out of the Spotlight: Essential Motion Picture Production Careers You Might Not Have Heard Of

July 23, 2012  |  Posted by: Kathy Tyner

When many people think of the careers involved in motion picture production, it’s often the high-profile jobs that come to mind. Everyone knows about the usual suspects, such as camera operators, directors and producers. But there are many more roles in film production that are essential to the project, but don’t often get the recognition they deserve. Here are just a few behind-the-scenes careers in film production that you may be less familiar with, but that are crucial parts of the team.

Special Effects Technician

Many films today are renowned for their incredible special effects. They can help the movie pull off stunts that would be nearly impossible to actually produce, create the perfect atmosphere or mood for a scene, or let the audience suspend disbelief and believe that the impossible is happening before their eyes on the screen. While much of the praise goes towards the director for their vision, the person behind the scenes in charge of making everything happen is the special effects technician. This role – along with their team, and often working under a special effects supervisor – is in charge of creating the special effects that bring films to life, from blizzards and earthquakes to car chases and crashes.

Foley Artist

The creaking footsteps that build suspense in a horror movie. The crack of bone during an epic battle scene. The snow crunching beneath the feet of adventurers. All of these familiar movie sounds are often given little thought by the audience, but they are essential in creating the scene and atmosphere that help make a story more convincing and realistic. The foley artist, working in a recording studio, is responsible for adding these auditory touches to films in post-production, recreating everything from breaking glass and gunshots to squeaky door hinges and dripping faucets.

Script Supervisor

The script supervisor is in charge of making sure that the story that reaches the audience flows smoothly with no gaps or continuity errors. Before production begins, a script supervisor will carefully go over the script for any inconsistencies, estimate running times, and work to coordinate the requirements with the shooting schedule. Once production is underway, script supervisors are responsible for maintaining the latest version of the script (including any changes to the screenplay made by actors or directors), taking detailed notes to prepare reports for the production team, and is the go-between for communication between the director and film editor.

Line Producer

An incredibly demanding and important position, the line producer’s role is critical to keeping the wheels moving on the entire production. Their function is essentially that of a manager, taking care of the day-to-day operations of the production. While their title refers to their responsibility for planning the initial budget – the “line” refers to the boundary between fixed expenses and estimated expenses – they are in charge of (or at least heavily involved with) a multitude of duties.  Pre-production responsibilities include location scouting, production team hiring, code compliance, equipment sourcing – basically, nearly every aspect of getting a production up and running. Once production is underway, the line producer is in charge of monitoring and maintaining the budget and expenses, has the ability to hire or fire crew, is responsible for handling on-location crises, and often acts as a liaison between the producer and the crew.

Still Have More Questions?

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