Studio Head (Mogul): responsible for direction studio takes: decides on personnel, genres, styles, budgets, etc; but subservient to those who control finances, who are usually removed from the studio itself.

Producer: most responsible for the nuts and bolts of a production; chooses property and brings together the writer, director, and others who will determine the shape the production will take; usually steps aside during actual filming; monitors post-production work; assisted by production assistants; some producers known for making their own imprint upon their productions: David O. Selznick (REBECCA, GONE WITH THE WIND), Arthur Freed (SINGIN' IN THE RAIN, GIGI), e.g.

Writer: turns producer's property (novel, play, etc.) into the final shooting script: first, a treatment is written (a detailed narrative account of all the principal situations and sometimes key passages of dialogue), followed by the final shooting script; common for scripts to be written in collaboration; involvement often ends before shooting begins: common for scripts to be changed during or after shooting without input from writer.

Director: the creative center of a production: may choose key creative personnel; shapes and guides creative contributions of dozens of artists and technicians; may take active roles in post-production; bears artistic responsibility for final result.

Actors: stars: most familiar part of production team to public; also: character actors (usually in supporting roles), actors who do bit parts, and extras.

Cinematographer/Director of Photography: works with director to determine the look of the film, insuring visual consistency: uses his knowledge of film stock, lighting, optical principals, and camera equipment to bring about desired effect; also works with camera crew, gaffer (chief electrician), and lighting crew; his authority second only to the director's on the set.

Film Editor: shapes the tangle of celluloid: hundreds of shots of varying length: into a consistent, coherent dramatic form; often works closely with the director, in addition to working with the sound editor.

Art Director (Production Designer): responsible for the design of a film project: translates the director's ideas into an actual physical environment: constructs sets, finds the right location, etc; fiscally responsible to the producer, but artistically responsible to the director.

Set Decorator: works under the supervision of the Art Director to coordinate the furnishing of the sets; may have to do research for non-contemporary films and acquire obscure items; coordinates work with the property master and director of photography.

Sound Editor: creates the film's soundtrack: combines dialogue, sound effects, and music track into an effective aural complement to the film images; his work begins when the film editor assembles a rough cut of the film: works with an ADR (automatic dialogue replacement) editor to record missing dialogue; works with Foley artist (who creates sound effects not recorded during filming) to assemble sound effects; lays in music track.

Special Effects Coordinator: specialist in miniatures, mechanical effects, pyrotechnics, matte painting, animation, model making, and special photography; works closely with producer, director, director of photography, art director, and editor.

Costume Designer: outfits principal actors, bit players, stunt performers, and sometimes extras with original designs, purchased clothing, or rented costumes; may have to do research for both contemporary and non-contemporary films; consults with the director or producer, as well as with the art director, director of photography, and costume maker.

Hairstylist: attends to all hair dressing needs of the performers in the film: cutting, styling, dyeing, wigs; works closely with the director, costume designer, makeup artist, and sometimes the art director or producer; may have to research hairstyles of a particular period.

Makeup Artist: responsible for actors' cosmetic requirements for film: wide ranging skills: straightforward, contemporary makeup; making an 80-year-old man out of a 30-year-old actor; turning Mr. Hyde into Dr. Jekyll; coordinates with director, costume designer, hairstylist, director of photography, and art director; may have to do research to create a period style.

Composer: views the assembled film with the producer and/or director to determine the general direction of the score; composes the music which will enhance the emotion of the film, create suspense or surprise, and reinforce or contradict what is happening on screen; works closely with the music editor to determine precise timings of the scenes to be scored; often doubles as conductor/musical director.


ADR (automatic dialogue replacement) editor: post-production, responsible for completing or altering film's dialogue tracks

advisor/consultant: ensures accuracy of what goes on screen

agent: represents actors in contract negotiations and writers trying to sell work

animal trainer: has full responsibility for animals on set

atmospheric effects specialist: creates weather conditions called for in script

best boy: chief assistant to gaffer

boom operator: manipulates microphone boom (mobile extension arm)

cable puller: sets up and handles power and microphone cables

camera operator: responsible for all facets of operation of camera

carpenter: builds sets and flats from working drawings prepared by art director

casting director: tailors cast to fit the budget (for producer) and the needs of the script (for director)

choreographer: plans dance sequences, rehearses dancers, works w/camera operator & d.p.

clapper/loader: loads film magazines into camera, operates clapper board, and keeps paper record of all shots and takes

color timer: produces positive print with color values and tones desired

commissary worker: prepares/serves food for those who work at the studio

conductor: leads musicians to suitable interpretation of the score

construction coordinator: builds sets, flats, backdrops, etc. for art director

construction foreman: supervises various sites when work is under way in more than one place

costume maker: builds original designs and special costumes from designer's sketches and actors' measurements

crane operator/grip: runs mobile machines w/hydraulic arms that move vertically/horizontally

dialogue coach: prepares actors when they must speak in a foreign accent or regional dialect

dolly grip: responsible for laying tracks and driving dolly

draftsperson: executes working drawings, renderings, plans, and elevations from which sets are constructed;

works for art director

driver: carries out orders of transportation captain

electrician: works under supervision of both gaffer and best boy

extra: fills in background of scene, provides human element supporting illusion that main characters are functioning in the

real world

focus puller: first assistant camera operator: measures distance from camera to object to be filmed

foley artist: creates sound effects not recorded during filming

gaffer: chief electrician: coordinates and supervises lighting

grip: loads and unloads equipment; moves and positions sets and scenery; erects scaffolding for camera and

lighting equipment; keeps cables free of interference during moving shots

key grip: determines grip equipment needed; supervises all grip personnel

lab technician: develops negative of film; inspects and cleans printed film

location manager: coordinates the planning and administrative details of shooting on location

location scout: assembles photographic documentation of sites under consideration for location shooting

matte artist: facilitates the combining of painted backgrounds with live action

miniature designer: designs and builds models, often from art director's specifications

model maker: works for the miniature supervisor

music arranger: adapts existing music to suit production, re-scoring it as needed; often also the composer, conductor, or both

music editor: determines where music will be in film, which moments it will highlight, and the mood or atmosphere it

should create

music recording supervisor: sees that music is recorded properly

musician: plays for conductor during all rehearsals and recording sessions

negative cutter: cuts the original negative to match the final, approved work print (spliced, trimmed, and edited dailies put

together as the complete film)

nurse/paramedic: handles minor injuries sustained by cast and crew members

optical printer operator: creates optical photographic effects: fades, dissolves, wipes, etc.

playback operator: plays any needed pre-recorded music or dialogue on the set

post-production supervisor: keeps post-production processes on schedule and within budget

process projectionist: projects existing piece of film onto a special screen erected on the set before which the actors work

production manager: monitors all aspects of production to keep it on schedule and on budget

production sound mixer: responsible for all sound recorded live on the set or on location

property maker: makes special props that cannot be purchased

property master: acquires, maintains, and oversees the use of all hand props indicated in the script

prosthetic makeup artist: designs, molds, and applies prosthetic appliances

pyrotechnic specialist: creates real or illusionistic explosive and fire effects

recording engineer: sets microphones, maintains and operates recording equipment

re-recording mixer: balances, manipulates, and combines individual soundtracks: dialogue, sound effects, and music tracks

scenic artist: paints decorative wall or surface coverings, portraits and other special art work, lettering and sign work,

backdrops, etc.

script supervisor: keeps detailed log of each day's shooting activity

second unit director: directs atmospheric shots not involving actors

set dresser: responsible for placement of furniture and other decorations on the set

sideline musician: works on set during shooting but doesn't play instrument: fakes playing

stand-in: substitutes for principal actor while camera and lighting crews set up and adjust equipment

still photographer: photographs actor portraits, behind-the-scenes shots of crew, and any photos used in the production

storyboard artist: translates ideas of director and art director into storyboards

stunt coordinator: supervises all stunt work and stunt performers

stunt person: does the dangerous stunts the actors can't do

supervising sound editor: creates the film's soundtrack, making it an effective complement to film images

title designer: designs the beginning (and sometimes ending) credits for the film

transportation coordinator: supervises transportation of equipment, sets and scenery, and personnel for studio & location work

treatment writer: describes in prose form the main action, sometimes including important dialogue

unit publicist: writes press releases and places stories and articles in magazines and newspapers

wardrobe supervisor: cares for and maintains production's costumes and costume accessories


source: Behind the screen: the American Museum of the Moving Image guide to who does what in motion pictures and television c.1988