Review of some of key film set personnel

  • Director – Visualizes the screenplay and controls the film’s artistic feel. Also plays key role in all creative aspects of film.
  • Art Director – The look of the sets and even the locations are the responsibility of the art director. The art director handles the design and construction of sets.  
  • Assistant Director – The AD breaks down scripts and makes decisions about shooting order. This job is often more administrative in its function.
  • Best Boy – An administrative person in charge of the paperwork (timesheets, etc) for the head grip’s or gaffer’s crew. An assistant to the head grip or gaffer.
  • Boom Operator – The sound person who handles the boom microphone and its gear. They have to place themselves in the best position to get sound without showing up in the shot.
  • Camera Operator (or 2nd camera). Under the director and director of photography they operate the camera on set.
  • Carpenter / Construction Coordinator – Under the art director – the crew responsible for building sets.
  • Casting Director – Works with producer and director to pick the best talent / actor for the script. Not just the big names but even the supporting actors.
  • Cinematographer / Director of Photography – Brings the director’s vision to light. Responsible for the look and feel of a film. Is over the gaffers, camera operators and other technicians. Creates, mood compositions, and angles. Works hand and hand with the director.
  • Continuity / Script Supervisor- Have you ever noticed when someone’s drink is empty in one shot and then full in another. There is a persons job on set to keep track of all these details to keep this from happening. Consider that scenes are often shot over various days it’s up to the script super to keep track of all the details.
  • Dolly Grip – They operate the dolly, a wheeled platform on which the camera is placed for creating moving shots.
  • Gaffer – The chief electrician is responsible for lighting the set. They are under the DP.
  • Grip – The Swiss army knife of positions, responsible for moving and setting up equipment and sets..
  • Line Producer / Production Manager – An executive that is over the day-to-day operations of a film’s production.
  • Location manager – The person who finds locations for the shoot. They often live near the location of filming and work with film commissions to know the best places for filming that match the needs of the script.
  • Mixer – A sound Tech that mixes sound on location.
  • Nurseryman – Handles the plants for a scene.
  • Producer – This role title can mean various things. From the person who puts everything together and secures the film rights to a title that’s given as a favor to someone related to the film or its actors.
  • Property Master – Handles the props on a set. Keeps track of them and takes care of them.
  • Second Unit and Second Unit Director – The second unit is the film crew that shoots sequences where the principal actors are not required. This is often background and location shots
  • Set Decorator / Set Dresser – Works with art director to furnish sets with items that create the right atmosphere and ambiance. Works to make the locations look real and lived in.
  • Sound Crew – The techs on the set responsible for audio recording.
  • Special Effects – Depending on the type of film you may have various special effects roles. These are often from an outside company that is hired to do the effects.
  • Stand-In – It can take a while to get the light and cameras set up. While setting up they need someone to be a reference point for the camera and lights. This person will stand in the place where the main actors will be later. The skin tone and hair are often similar to the actors they are standing in for.
  • Stunt Coordinator / Stunt Person – Examines and breaks down all stunts in a script. The stunt person is a trained professional that will do a task that wouldn’t be safe for normal actors to do. They are often trained in combat and falling and will wear protective gear.
  • Supervising Editor / Editor – The persons in charge of film editing.
  • Talent – Just another term for actors and performers



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