What is a Runner?
For a lot of working film and television professionals, the first foray into the industry was in the entry-level position of ‘Runner’. Whilst it may not be the most glamorous of positions, the role offers an opportunity to gain an idea of the inner workings of a production, make contacts and ultimately get a foot on the ladder. It’s all too easy to dismiss the position of Runner as menial or degrading, yet it is the runners of today that will inevitably be making the television programmes and feature films of tomorrow.
What does a rigger do?
A rigger is an individual in charge of assembling gear such as; scaffolding, cables and ropes on set. Riggers manufacture and disassemble essential access and bolster platforms, for example, as well as scaffold towers, cantilever frameworks, and asphalt and rooftop platforms. They should likewise position and remove specific gear for getting to the rig, for example, vertical steps, roof ladders and rope ladders.
What is a First Assistant Director?
First Assistant Directors (1st ADs) act as the intermediary between the Director and the cast and crew, but they are also responsible for coordinating the whole production activity and providing the production office with regular updates from the shoot.
After going through the script, together with the Director, the First Assistant Director is in charge of creating the filming schedule, which has to take into account the availability of cast and crew involved, script coverage, budget and all other details of the production, making the 1st AD a key person in any production. For the rest of pre-production, Firsts oversee and check that all the necessary duties and tasks to prepare and organise shoots have been carried out.
What is a Costume Assistant?
A lot of film productions, depending on the genre and the setting, rely on their costume department for an accurate representation of the setting, period and story. For this reason, the department involves many different roles and a variety of tasks that need to be smoothly carried out during pre-production.
Costume Assistants take care of lots of smaller, daily, or last-minute tasks to help Costume Designers complete their job with the best possible result. This entry-level job is also the perfect way to kickstart a career in the Costume Department.
Costume Assistants help Costume Designers break down the script, in order to identify all the costumes needed by different characters throughout the story. They also assist in research into clothing styles, design and fabrication methods.
What is an Art Department Assistant?
Overseen by the Production Designer, the art department is responsible for the aesthetic choices of everything within a film. The roles are split between designing and selecting off-set, and those working on set. The art department is usually the largest on set.
What is a Production Coordinator?
Working as a Production Coordinator is one of the most responsible positions within a production crew. Being depended on for the day-to-day working of the production, the position is often one of the most enduring but working as a coordinator is a great opportunity to develop your craft as a Producer and enhance your chances of progressing further in the department.
What is a Third Assistant Director?
The role of 3rd Assistant Director is one of the best ways to start your directing career. As a 3rd AD, you can be involved in a wide range of tasks but the main responsibility is to ensure that the first and second Assistant Directors are supported in every capacity. The most common duty of the 3rd AD is to coordinate the movements and direction of extras and maintain a clear channel of communication between cast and crew.
What is a Camera Trainee?
Gaining work within a camera department can often be difficult considering that only experienced and established technicians are entrusted with the craft. However, junior roles with the camera department such as a Camera Trainee can provide an opportunity to gain experience whilst you’re learning the ropes. One of the positives about working as a Camera Trainee is that competent and able trainees are always in demand and considering it’s a key part of developing your skills, making a solitary mistake shouldn’t cost you your job in the early stages of working within the department.
What is a Sound Assistant?
Although the hours are often long and fairly intensive, working within the sound department is a good opportunity to gain a foothold in an entry-level position within the industry. Working under the supervision of a good production sound mixer can be the perfect platform to gain practical experience whilst developing your craft as a sound recordist.
The ongoing discussion on our Watercooler forum headed ‘Camera Person with Own Kit: £100’ gets to the heart of the worries of thousands of TV freelancers. At first reading, it looks as if the debate is about what is a fair rate for the job. In fact, the real subject is whether the team offering the work, and the people who apply to do it, are working within a professional industry, or one for amateur enthusiasts.
Let us be in no doubt that there is a professional television industry. A 2005 Film Council study noted that the UK’s total TV turnover was £13.4 billion in the previous year, and it has grown over the last four years. Skillset estimates that there are some 75,000 people whose livelihoods directly depend on that turnover for their income, which probably includes you and me.
Film and television-making is not a monopoly controlled by the professionals, any more than baking is controlled by Rank Hovis McDougall. You can bake cakes at home, or to sell at your tea shop but if you were employed to make Mr Kipling’s French Fancies, you would not expect to bake them in your home oven, and you would expect to be paid a sustainable rate in return for your employers’ intention to make a profit from them.