Last time I told you about a bunch of the key people you’ll find on a film set during production time. I got a few more for ya!
These days it’s a pretty rare occurrence that a movie is shot without synced sound, and considering how important sound is to a movie experience, it’s imperative that the shoot has a solid sound team. This department usually consists of 2 people.
First, the Boom Operator is the person with the beefiest arms on the whole crew because he or she usually has to stand with a long, heavy, pole held high above whoever is talking on camera and adjust accordingly with the utmost sensitivity. The second person is the sound mixer, who is responsible for mixing the recorded audio, organizing the audio tracks, and maintaining the audio recording equipment so that it’s ready for action.
The Casting Director seeks out actors to play each part and helps audition roles in the film. This person usually comes on well before shooting, but will generally stay throughout to make sure that if a last minute actor change needs to happen for whatever reason, that it doesn’t disrupt the schedule.
The Locations Manager is usually the first person on the set each day. He or she ensures that the location is ready for the set crew, including taking any safety precautions or needs into consideration and getting the craft team (who’s responsible for feeding the crew) in place. They’ll also make sure that the necessary permits are in place, as well as enforce the “leave the location better than how you found it” rule.
Managers and Coordinators
The Production Manager (PM) works directly with the Line Producer as well as the set crew to help keep things on budget and on schedule from a physical standpoint. They’ll manage the day-to-day expenses of operation and execution, including salaries, production costs, and rental costs.
They’re supported by a team of Production Coordinators (PC’s), who help do a lot of the heavy lifting – like working directly with the crew, making lots of phone calls, and keeping lots of detailed spreadsheets.
Many individual departments will have their own Managers and Department heads, too, so it’s not uncommon to see a whole lot of different kinds of PM’s and PC’s listed in the credits.
Every department also has its own set of Production Assistants (or PA’s). These are usually where most people start out when they first want to enter the industry. These guys do all the gruntwork for whatever department their in – for example, in locations, they’re changing garbage can liners, watching gear trucks, getting coffee for the various key roles, and loading or unloading heaps of equipment.
It’s not a glamorous position by any means, but you gotta start somewhere – and proving yourself as a reliable, hardworking, and friendly PA on a production will 9 times out of 10 give you the knowledge and connections that you need to move up in the ranks. Not to mention that if you really think about it, all those little tasks are actually really important and the production couldn’t happen without someone tending to them! So the role is more significant than a lot of people give it credit for.