The Unsung Heroes Of Film Production

By Staff Reporter | Nov 01, 2018 06:20 PM EDT
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In 2018, we typically consume so much content that it's easy to forget how much work actually goes into shooting a film or television show. We simply see the slick, finished product, edited to perfection and ready to go. For those who work in film, however, the black box of filmmaking is known to be a huge challenge that requires collaboration on a massive level and millions upon millions of dollars if the project is even mildly ambitious.

Typically, we are cognizant of the actors, the director, and the writers as the staff of any film or TV show - the folks who get top billing. In reality, of course, there are jobs like gaffer, production assistant and best boy that most people don't even think about. For a large-scale production, there is literally a small army of industry professionals with specific roles making sure that everything is ready for a long day of shooting. Make no mistake, it takes a lot of Netflix subscriptions to pay the folks behind the names that you see in the credits.

Because the film industry is growing, and because Millennials and Gen-Z tend to jump straight into a career rather than slogging through college, getting a foot in the door to pursue a gratifying job in media production is an increasingly popular plan. The CIE tour is an organization that has recognized how much opportunity there is for young people interested in pursuing this type of career - they organize networking events and match savvy mentors to young, energetic individuals.

The jobs on the following list certainly require a ton of experience, but they are examples of crucial, gratifying, behind the scenes work that many people tend to overlook.

Location Scout


Location scouts get to travel around scouting cool places that could be used as sets, reporting to the locations department and sending in footage to be reviewed and considered. Finding prime locations that make sound logistic sense is a huge responsibility for a shoot to succeed. The director, assistant director and production manager all need to sign off before moving forward, and then permits and insurance need to be sorted out.

Stunt Coordinator

In franchise films like James Bond or the Bourne movies, the stunt coordinator is pretty well the most important person on set, save for the square-jawed actor playing the superspy. Once the location has been locked down, the epic, action fuelled set-pieces need to be choreographed. Most stunt coordinators are athletic, adventurous rogues who've leveraged their love of adrenaline into a well-paying gig!

Prop Master

While you might not think it, the prop master is actually one of the most important people on the set. They work closely with the production designer to determine the vibe of the set and then get to work obtaining every single thing that's needed for the shoot. Most shoots are in or nearby to cities that have massive prop depots that the prop master can dig through until they find the exact lamp, sculpture or pinball machine needed for the scene. If you have a keen eye and passionately love sorting through piles at antique markets, this could be a career just waiting to happen!

Whether or not you want to work in film, it's interesting to consider these challenging jobs and the subtler aspects of the work that happens on a film set. Next time you watch your favorite show, keep an eye out for the finer details!

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