Film School: Who’s Who On A Film Crew?

Who's Who in the Movie Credits | Filmmaker IQ Who's Who in the Movie Credits | Filmmaker IQ

Handy explainers about who’s working behind the camera on a shoot.

Quick Overview

“Unit? Gaffer? Grip? Wha…?” Need a little further demystifying? Vimeo Video School‘s short, handy explainer will tell you Who’s Who on a Movie Crew:

… and honestly, so will this (via Aimee La Joie / No Film School):

Filmmaker IQ offers a more detailed look at Who’s Who in the Movie Credits:

Luc Forsyth explains All Documentary Film Crew Jobs in 15 Minutes:

In More Detail

CrashCourse‘s series goes through, role by role, step by step, Film Production with Lily Gladstone:

In Depth Cine has a series of videos on the various crew roles on a movie set:

As a case study, the promotion for limited series The Offer (2022) features interviews with departments including production design, hair and makeup, and props (via Paramount+):

Tips Before Your First Time on a Film Set

I wish someone had given me the heads-up on even half of these things before my first (disastrous) time on a film set. Danny Gevirtz‘s show-and-tell, in which he doesn’t just describe, but also demonstrates how a ‘Gary Coleman’ isn’t a person, and ‘Neg’ doesn’t mean what you think it means, is such a valuable primer on professional production protocol:

Two tips I’d add:

  • Stay out of Eyelines – not just actors, but anyone you’re not personally in communication with. As Danny mentions in his lens handover tip, eye contact serves a particular function on a film set
  • Make Friends with Unit Production Manager – if it’s your first time on a film set, chances are you’re a production assistant or “runner” (someone who mainly fetches coffee for the key crew). This means you’re part of the “Unit” – and the boss of the Unit is not only your point of contact for your specific jobs on the shoot, but also your best way to gauge the atmosphere of the shoot, how you can best fit into things, and how to be a help and not a hassle – all of which will help get you more out of your time on this shoot, as well as more work in future.

“Pull your head out of the technical, and engage in other aspects of your life.” Knowing the technical is only part of the job – the rest, and perhaps even more important, is dealing with other people. Here’s a panel discussion on soft skills – that is, how to deal with other people on the crew – featuring gaffers (and popular YouTubers) Andrew Lock, Luke Seerveld, and John Roche (via Aputure):

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