Knowing more about the film industry and the potential career options available to you will help you focus on an area of expertise.
Ravensbourne graduates can enter many areas of the industry. Just some of the roles open to them are listed below.
Single camera operator - TV
On high budget television dramas or commercials, the camera operator's main role is to support the Director of Photography (DoP or DP) and the Director by accurately carrying out their instructions regarding shot composition and development. Camera operators also cover other drama productions, documentaries, current affairs and news, operating Portable Single Cameras (PSC) and shooting on various formats.
Camera operator – Film
Camera operators perform a vital role within the camera department on feature films. They support the Director of Photography (DoP or DP) and the Director by accurately carrying out their instructions regarding shot composition and development.
Director of photography (DoP)
The role of the DoP or cinematographer is to provide a film with its unique visual identity or look. Most DoPs work on commercials and promos as well as on feature films. The hours are long, and some foreign travel may be required, involving long periods spent away from base, but the work is highly creative and very rewarding.
Recording all sound on set or on location is the work of the production sound crew, which includes production sound mixers, boom operators, and sound assistants (on bigger films, sound trainees may also be employed). Although film is considered a primarily visual medium, much of the storytelling and emotional resonance of a script is conveyed through dialogue.
The director is the driving creative force in a film's production, and act as the crucial link between the production, technical and creative teams.
First assistant director
(aka First AD or First)
The first assistant director (AD) is the director's right hand person, taking responsibility for a number of important practicalities so that the director is free to concentrate on the creative process. During pre-production, first ADs break down the script into a shot-by-shot storyboard, and work with the Director to determine the shoot order, and how long each scene will take to film. They then draw up the overall shooting schedule (a timetable for the filming period). Once the film is in production, first ADs are in charge of making sure that every aspect of the shoot keeps to this schedule.
Second assistant director
The second AD's main function is to ensure that all the first AD's orders and directions are carried out. Seconds have two main responsibilities during production: they prepare and draw up the 'call sheet' (a document detailing daily filming logistics, which is distributed to cast and crew), under the supervision of the first; and they oversee all the movements of the cast, ensuring that the principal actors are in make–up, in wardrobe, or standing by on the set at the correct times.
On smaller productions, on which there is no third assistant director, seconds may also be responsible for finding and looking after background artistes (extras). Most seconds also assist the first in liaising between the set or location and the production office, updating key personnel on the timings and progress of the shoot.
Third assistant director
The key duties of most thirds revolve around the movement and activities of background artistes (extras). Thirds may be required to direct the action of extras, or of vehicles appearing in the background of the shot, especially in large crowd scenes. Thirds also act as messengers on the set or location, and are often required to convey messages and relay information to cast or crew members, usually by radio link.
The role of runner is the accepted and conventional entry-level position within the film production industry - the first rung on the ladder. Many highly successful directors, producers or technicians began their careers as runners. Within the industry, the role of runner is viewed as basic, on-the-job training. Runners may be asked to do anything that is required on the set or location to aid the progress of the shoot.
They are responsible for all the organisational aspects of production scheduling and budgeting. They assist producers to interpret and realise the directors' vision, both financially and logistically.
Production managers prepare production schedules or script breakdowns to confirm that sufficient time has been allocated for all aspects of the production process, and to verify the producers' budgets and schedules. On drama productions they use Movie Magic (a specialist scheduling and budgeting software package) which provides logistical breakdowns of scripts, detailing all aspects of production requirements. These include: how many and which actors are needed on which days; what locations are required each day; crewing requirements etc.
Location managers research and assess suitable locations, negotiate contracts and payments, and present their findings to producers and other decision makers. They oversee all logistical aspects of the location during shooting. They assess any possible problems or difficulties, including checking whether suitable local power supplies are available, or if there is sufficient space for any required generators. They also consider the climatic, physical, environmental and health and safety factors which may affect the use of locations.
Script editors/supervisors provide a critical overview of the screenwriting process, and liaise between the producer or development executive and the screenwriter. Script editors/supervisors do not offer solutions, but instead use their analytical skills to help screenwriters identify problems, explain the potential consequences of screenwriters' choices, and thereby help to strengthen and develop screenplays.
Edit assistants provide basic technical and practical support for editors, operators, colourists and other senior personnel. They also help with spotting and rectifying mistakes and omissions in the post production process. They are responsible for preparing edit suites for use, and ensuring that all editing consumables are replaced as necessary; operating caption generators as required during linear editing sessions; and troubleshooting any problems with the technology in edit suites. They may carry out some simple cutting and editing work as required.