Ever been on a set confused about who does what and how everything works? Most actors walk on set familiar with the title of director and maybe even producer. Although these positions are important to know, there’s a lot more that goes into a film or television crew. To help you out, here’s a list of 10 crew positions all actors should know about.
1. D.P. (Director of Photography)
Also known as the cinematographer, The Director of Photography is the head of the Camera Department and is in charge of all things visually within a production. If you ever shoot in Canada, you might see this position referred to as D.O.P.
2. E.P. (Executive Producers)
As mentioned in the title, this position makes executive decisions and has the final say. In addition, an EP could discover a project and (or) fund it.
3. A.D. (Assistant Director)
Their job is to run the set. People tend to think that the director does this, but the AD makes sure everything runs on time, shouts all the calls except for “Action!”, and generally conducts everything else that occurs on set. There can be three levels within this position: 1st AD, 2nd AD, and 2nd 2nd.
4. A.C. (Assistant Camera)
This person knows EVERYTHING about the camera(s) operated during the production. As the DP’s right hand man, the AC is in charge of setting up the camera(s) and making sure all the equipment and proper tools are attached. There are two levels within this position: 1st AC and 2nd AC.
5. Scripty (Script Supervisor)
Assisting both the director and post production staff, the scripty meticulously keeps track of all things contained within the script. Some of their duties include compiling script notes consisting of the best/worse takes, jotting down time codes for each scene, and most importantly, keeping up with continuity. A good script supervisor is crucial to making sure things flow smoothly in post.
6. Production Designer
The production designer is head of the Art Department. He or she is responsible for establishing a visual blueprint of the director’s vision of the script and bringing the look of the characters and settings to life.
7. G & E (Grip and Electric)
G & E is a department that falls directly under the Camera Department. It is facilitated by the Gaffer, who is responsible for lighting. The other members who make up this department are grips and electricians, who assist with lights and power on a production.
8. Sound Mixer
The description is in the name, but this crew member also mics up talent in addition to making sure sound is clear and smooth on set. If you ever hear “sound speeds!” on a set, it is the sound mixer informing everyone that sound is presently recording.
9. H & M (Hair and Makeup)
You might get confused when you first see your name next to this on a call sheet (I once did). But trust me, it doesn’t mean you’re going to the hipster clothing store in the mall. It’s just the abbreviation for the person assisting your wardrobe and overall appearance on screen.
10. P.A. (Production Assistant)
These folks assist the production in any way possible. If you are talent on a set, you might have a PA assigned to you by the title: Talent PA. In this scenario, the PA is responsible for transporting you to and from set and making sure your production needs are taken care of.
As your career continues, you will see and interact with many more crew members, such as Production Coordinators, Line Producers, Steadicam Operators, etc. However, by using this list you’ll be on a great track to differentiating positions and knowing all that goes into a production!
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