How to Become an Art Department Coordinator
Becoming an art department coordinator typically involves working with an art department and eventually gaining the experience and understanding needed to move up into a coordinator position for a film studio or production company. The coordinator typically works between the rest of the art department and the executives at a studio to coordinate the efforts needed during pre-production to move forward into production. This can include budgeting, working with art department personnel to ensure deadlines are met, facilitating communication between the art department crew members and the executives at a studio, and ensuring that various aspects of the pre-production process are accomplishes successfully. The skills that are needed by an art department coordinator typically involve both artistic ability and knowledge of what an art department does on a film project, as well as the business sense required to fully understand the technical needs of a film production.
Ultimately, an art department coordinator typically does not need to attend film school. It is much more common for someone in this position to begin working within an art department and eventually working his or her way up to a more executive position. The coordinator of an art department can be thought of as a logistics manager, since he or she does not necessarily oversee the work of members of the art department, but instead ensures that artists have the resources needed for their work and ensures that deadlines and budgets are properly met. Most people working on an art department for a film gain their education through an art school or similar type of program, usually learning the skills and techniques needed by craftsmen within the industry.
If you are interested in becoming an art department crew member, and potentially a coordinator in the long run, then you should have a strong sense for artistic creation and what is needed to complete pre-production for a film. You should also be sure to try to gain some experience working with financial and scheduling computer software, as well as understanding various managerial techniques and procedures, since a coordinator typically works as both a resource manager and artistic envoy to the executives running a production. Communication skills are often central to this type of work, as well as time management and the ability to multitask and coordinate the efforts of various groups and individuals. Film school is rarely a necessity, and may in fact ultimately serve only as a waste of time and money if you are truly interested in working as an art department coordinator.