Filmmaking Jobs: Who's on Set?

Read descriptions of different filmmaking jobs.

Filmmaking Jobs Defined

filmmaking students at work

Reading the credits at the end of a film can be like reading a foreign language. To a film industry newbie, "best boy" and "dolly grip" aren't exactly the most enlightening job titles, after all.

If you're currently outside the film industry, trying to figure out your first steps to getting experience in filmmaking jobs, a little more explanation of the various roles can be helpful.

Decoding Filmmaking Jobs

Art Director – Designs and oversees set construction.

Assistant Director / First Assistant Director – Helps the director by planning the filming timeline and managing the set, the extras and more.

Associate Producer – Assists the producer and communicates with both the production and postproduction crew.

Best Boy – The primary assistant to either the gaffer or the key grip.

Boom Operator – Holds the microphone boom near the action to capture the dialog.

Camera Operator – Follows the action with the camera, according to instructions from the director and cinematographer.

Cinematographer / Director of Photography – Carries out the director's vision for the look of a film. Plans and supervises others to achieve the right camera shots, lighting, set design, etc.

Director – Directs all creative elements of a film, from helping hire actors to choosing locations, and makes sure that his/her vision is successfully communicated to the crew.

Dolly Grip – Sets up the dolly track and operates the dolly, allowing the camera and camera crew to move smoothly as they capture the action.

Editor – Works with the director to produce the final cut of a film that both flows well and captures the director's vision for the project.

Foley Artist – Creates sound effects that can't be captured during filming.

Gaffer – Sets up the lighting on set.

Key Grip – The head grip in charge of setting up equipment to enable the camera crew to capture the right shots.

Line Producer – Handles the budget for a film project.

Location Manager – Scouts locations and obtains permits for filming in those locations.

Negative Cutter – Cuts the actual negative of the film as directed by the editor, director and others.

Postproduction Supervisor – Coordinates the processes and workers involved in finishing the movie after filming has wrapped.

Producer – Runs the business end of a film project, from finding a script to hiring to finances.

Production Assistant – Handles a variety of small tasks necessary for daily operations on the set.

Production Manager – Manages the many business aspects of a production, from getting the right equipment to arranging housing for the cast and crew.

Production Sound Mixer – Records all production dialogue and other production sounds at optimal levels. May also mix the various tracks for dailies.

Set Designer – Responsible for executing the construction of the set according to the art director's instructions.

Take the First Step Toward a Filmmaking Job

In a filmmaking job, as in any occupation, pursuing a degree can be a good step toward achieving your career goals. Film school can give you the skills you'll need for a wide variety of filmmaking jobs—whether you have your eye set on a director role, a cinematographer job, or any of the supporting positions needed to produce a feature length film.