Careers in Film & Cinematography

Steve Pitts FIlmmaker on set with film crew

Careers in Film & Cinematography

Film crew and Film Connection graduate Steve Pitts works as camera operator on Janelle Monáe film videoLet’s get real: the whole reason you are planning to go to film school is to get a job in the film industry, right? (Of course, if you are a professional student, or just downright weird, this may not apply.)

So it’s no coincidence that getting you a job in the film business is exactly the criteria we used in designing our courses at the Film Connection film school. Now, no film school can promise you a job upon graduation, but if you have the right attitude, passion about the film business, have studied hard so you know the stuff we’ve taught you, and kept touch with the contacts we and your mentor have developed for you while you’ve been studying at the Film Connection, your odds have just gone way up.

It’s a bit like dragging a horse to water: you can’t make it take a drink, but you sure can do everything else to make it possible. With the Film Connection film school, we give you the knowledge, the experience, and the connections you need in order to succeed.  And perhaps most importantly, because our courses are delivered not by “professional teachers” but by real filmmakers, we put you in the right place at the right time to get a job in the film industry. The rest is up to you. Here are just a few of the careers for which the Film Connection film school can prepare you.

Is Cinematography a Good Career?

A career in Cinematography is an exciting and rewarding career. It can be a very rewarding career for creative individuals and gives you the opportunity to be involved in diverse and exciting projects. Being a cinematographer requires technical skill, creativity, and knowledge of cinematic techniques. This makes the career a great choice for individuals who are passionate about storytelling and photography.

Cinematographers are responsible for creating the visual look and feel of a film. They’re in charge of many aspects of filmmaking including the lighting, composition, lens choice, filming techniques, and more. Cinematographers work closely with the director to bring their vision to reality. They often collaborate with many other members of the production team including set designers and costumer designers to ensure elements are aligned and cohesive. Finally, Cinematographers also manage technical aspects of the filmmaking process which can include equipment rentals, and ensuring the production stays on budget.

What Jobs Are Available in the Film Industry?

The following are some of the many positions available at production studios, post-production houses, television stations, film studios and others around the country. In our program, you will be exposed to many, if not all, of these positions.

What is the role of a FIlm Producer?

Film Producer Includes: Producer, Production Manager, Line-Producer, Production Coordinator and Production Assistant. How does making your own movies, television shows, documentaries or commercials sound? That’s what producers do. They are the heart of the industry. In production, you will be responsible for every facet of planning the project and putting it together. During shooting, the director and actors will rely totally on you to manage the production smoothly, thereby allowing them to do their jobs to the best of their ability without distraction. As an experienced production person, your skills will be in great demand. Find out more about jobs in film production.

What does a Director do?

Are you the creative type? Is so, this is the area for you. Directors are the people who make the unreal real—who turn the pages of a script into reality on the screen. In our program, you will work closely with the director and the assistant directors as they shape and mold the projects through their own creative visions. You will also interact on a regular basis with the actors and extras performing in the production and, maybe, eventually direct your own major motion pictures.

What is the role of the Director Of Photography/Cinematography?

Often called an author of light, it is the photographer’s skill that turns the director’s vision into an actual image, whether on film or video. Working as a camera person in our program, you will be exposed to all facets of this unique profession. You will learn the intricate inner-workings of the cameras, how to light and compose the camera shots and how to expose the film in such a way that the resulting image is pleasing to the viewer. Each production big or small requires an entire team of camera personnel, making these skills very valuable in the industry.

What does the Film Editors do?

One of the most important positions in any film or video project, the film editor is responsible for taking the thousands of pieces of film and sound and putting them together in an exact, precise and often creative manner. In our program, you work closely with seasoned professionals and learn to operate the newest state-of-art digital equipment. With these technical skills, the door of opportunity will be open for you in every area of the business, including film studios, commercial production houses, television stations, post production houses and more.

What is a Casting Director?

The ability to deal well with people is important for success in the casting field. As a casting director, you’ll be required to deal with famous stars on a regular basis, as well as choose actors and actresses from their photographs, call them in and audition them. Then your job is to show the best of the best to the producer and director for the final decision making. This job will also teach you the inner workings of the high-powered talent agencies as well as how to negotiate and finalize the talent’s contracts.

What does a Film Location Manager do?

For this position, you must enjoy traveling the world and have a keen eye for what will look good on the screen. You will discuss the locations needed with the producer and director, then you’ll go out and find them—a mansion, an exotic beach, a mountain, the desert, whatever it may be that the script calls for. It is your job to find the most appealing locations that are the most logistically feasible for the production and make the arrangements for the use of it. More on the job of a Location Manager.

What does a flim copywriter do?

Your job is to create the commercials which are heard and seen on both radio and television. Your imagination can be the starting point for an award-winning and money-making commercial. You’re in charge of writing scripts which communicate the client’s message to the public and promote his business. Successful copywriters often expand their careers and advance to writing scripts for TV shows and movies.

What is the role of the Lighting Director/Gaffer on a Film Set?

The Lighting Director is responsible for the overall look of the film or video in all aspects of lighting. The lighting director designs the lighting for project and guides the gaffers in light placement. The lighting director works closely with the director and camera operator to deliver the pictures they are hoping to see.

The gaffer is the on-set lighting director—a very challenging and creative position. Working in this area, you first have to become familiar with all the lights used on a shoot. Then you will learn how to use the light—front-light, back-light, key-light—in many different ways and, most importantly, how using them effects the particular image to be photographed for each camera shot.

What does a Key Grip do?

If you are mechanically inclined, then this is the area for you. As a grip on the shooting set, you will work with dollies to move the camera during a shot, operate camera cranes, install mounts on cars to hold the camera steady while driving, and very often be called upon to use a combination of your mechanical and creative skills to make a camera shot work the way the director envisions it.

What does a Script Supervisor do?

To succeed as a script supervisor requires a very sharp eye for detail and continuity. Ever see an actor in a movie when he has something in his hand in one shot, then a second later it’s gone? As the script supervisor, it is your job to make sure that does not happen. During the shooting, you will watch each actor’s movement very carefully and make sure that movement is matched in every shot. You also keep a written record of every shot taken that will be used as a guide by the editor to piece the film together.

What is the Art Department / Set Designer responsible for?

The Art Department is responsible for the look of the film where sets and locations are concerned. On many occasions, the Art Department will be asked to design and build a set entirely from scratch or may simply be required to “dress” a set in accordance with what is called for in the script. As an extern in the Art Department, you will be involved in scouting locations, purchasing and or renting props, dressing sets, and in some cases participating in the actual construction of a set.

Make-Up & Hair

The make-up and hair departments have one very important thing in common: their talents, along with the actor’s performance, contribute to the creation of a distinct character in the film. Where make-up is concerned, it is often said that the best job is one we can’t see. In effect this is true, but the make-up used on film (both its type and application) is far different than that used by, say, a woman on a daily basis. As a make-up extern, you will assist in all phases of the process and in certain cases even work on extras on especially high-volume days. The hair extern should also expect to learn the special techniques and materials of the artist, including styling and the use of hairpieces.

What does the Wardrobe Departement do on a Film Set?

The Wardrobe Department is responsible for the acquisition, through rental or purchase, of various wardrobe items. You will assist with the coordination and organization of these items during shooting, as well as have the opportunity to learn some tailoring. As a wardrobe and make-Up extern you will be required to deal with the talent on a regular basis. Read more about working in the wardrobe department.

What does the Sound Department do on a Film Set?

The Sound Department is responsible for the recording of all location sound. In this department, you learn microphones and their functions: which mics are used where, and why. You will work with sound recording equipment and learn how sound behaves in particular settings (a closed set versus an existing location). You also will cover what the best approaches are to record sound effectively, and how to mic both individuals and sets for optimum quality. As the sound extern, you will also be asked to run cable for the boom operator, help mic talent, learn the sound paperwork required in editing, and in some cases operate the boom.

What are the Stunts / Pyrotechnics / Weapons departments responsible for?

Stunts and Pyrotechnics are responsible for some of the most memorable and exciting moments in any given film, from stair falls to high falls to burns, car crashes to boat chases. This department is responsible for executing the effects that get our adrenaline pumping. You’ll have the opportunity to learn the techniques of highly trained and experienced stuntmen and pyrotechnicians and receive detailed explanations of every stunt or effect completed in the film.

Many other jobs are available and described in the Film Connection Course, including:

  • Property Master
  • Special Effects
  • Computer Animation

Learn the skills you need to take your idea from paper to the big screen.

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