The Director is the driving creative force in a film's production, and acts as the crucial link between the production, technical and creative teams. Directors are responsible for creatively translating the film's written script into actual images and sounds on the screen - he or she must visualise and define the style and structure of the film, then act as both a storyteller and team leader to bring this vision to reality.
Qualifications/ExperienceWhile there are numerous training courses and reference books on directing, formal qualifications are not necessary to become a Director. Studying the art and craft of directing is important, but the role can only really be mastered through in-depth practical experience. Writing a screenplay, directing one's own short film or an amateur play, are all good starting places. Extensive industry experience is also crucial to this role; up-to-date knowledge of filmmaking techniques and equipment is vital, as is learning how to work with actors to create a performance
Composers write music that is appropriate for each film, and consistent with the Director's vision. Ideally working in creative collaboration with Directors, Composers write scores that guide the audience through the drama, increase films' emotional impact, and give them atmosphere. Composers assemble and brief appropriate teams, including Orchestrators, Copyists, and Programmers, and oversee the entire process, from early in pre-production when films are at the assembly stage, through to the final sound mix, or dub.
Qualifications/Experience: Composers usually have some form of musical training, but talent and the drive to write music for films are more important than qualifications. There are some HE courses in Composing for Film and Television, which offer access to studios and orchestras, and the possibility of producing show-reels. However, industry experience and knowledge are equally valued.
Camera of photography
Directors of Photography (DoPs) are key Heads of Department on film productions, and theirs is one of the major creative roles. They are requested by the Director, and must be approved by the financiers, studio and/or completion bond company. DoPs work closely with the Director and Production Designer to give a film its visual signature. Lighting is one of the fundamental elements in film making; the way in which light falls on an actor's face, reveals an interior space, or illuminates a landscape, can create mood, drama and excitement for the audience.
Stills photography provides a good all round understanding of composition and light. The National Film and Television School's MA in Cinematography provides the opportunity to specialize, and is taught by practicing DoPs. Although DoPs do not need to have electrical qualifications, they do need to understand the functions of a variety of lighting equipment, and to have thorough knowledge of cameras, lenses and film stocks. They may have previously studied Drama, Stills Photography, or Art, or taken a Film/Media Studies degree, where useful research skills are also developed.
construction Managers supervise the construction of sets and stages for film productions. They co-ordinate the entire process of set building, from initial planning through to the final coat of paint on the finished sets. Reporting to, and hired by, the Production Designer, Construction Managers lead a team of craftsmen, including Carpenters, Painters, Riggers and Plasterers, and ensure that all sets are completed to deadline and within budget, and that they meet production requirements.
Experience/qualificationsThe range of responsibilities faced by Construction Managers requires that they have a wide variety of industry skills and knowledge, e.g., in carpentry or rigging. In the film industry, many Construction Managers progress through the Carpentry department. Most Construction Managers have accredited qualifications, such as the Advanced Construction Award, or a CITB level 4 NVQ in Carpentry and Joinery.
Editors are one of the key Heads of Department on feature films, responsible for First Assistant Editors, and on bigger productions, Second Assistants and Trainees. The way a story unfolds and grabs the attention of the audience is one of the most important elements in film making. To ensure that the story flows effortlessly from beginning to end, each shot is carefully chosen and edited into a series of scenes, which are in turn assembled to create the finished film.
Training and qualifications: Although no specific qualifications are required for Editors, FT2 (Film and Television Freelance Training) provides industry recognized training for all job roles, including Editing, involving apprentice-style attachments to professional crews, combined with short course training opportunities.
The Location Managers' primary role is to identify and find ideal locations for a film shoot, reporting to the Producer, Director and Production Designer. The role also involves negotiating with each location's owners about a number of issues, such as the cost and terms of the hire, crew and vehicle access, parking, noise reduction, and what official permissions may be required. Once filming has begun, Location Managers are in charge of managing all aspects of shooting in each location, and also ensuring that every location is handed back to its owners in a satisfactory condition after the shoot.
Qualifications/Experience: No formal qualifications are required to become a Location Manager. Industry experience is key, and the best place to start is in the conventional entry-level role of Runner. Ideally, on-the-job training may then be acquired by progressing to the role of Location Scout, or Assistant to an established Location Manager. A full driving licence is essential for this role, as is a good working knowledge of health and safety requirements. The successful completion of any Health and Safety training courses is extremely useful.