Where Do You Fit in the Film Industry?
There are hundreds, sometimes thousands, of jobs associated with filmmaking. In this interactive chart, you can view the hierarchy of diverse roles on set, from pre-production to post-production, to help you identify what career suits you best
Consider for a moment the last feature film you saw in the theater or on Netflix, did you dutifully sit through the entire credit roll? Probably not. Somewhere, the negative cutter on Jurassic Park is crying inside.
Major motion pictures are massive undertakings, moving through the processes of development, pre-production, principal photography, and post-production. The average film crew can easily swell into the hundreds, and even thousands, for mega-budget movies. Therefore, for someone looking dreamy-eyed at the prospect of a career in pictures, it can be a daunting and confusing task to understand where your aspirations fit in amongst the dozens of artistic, technical, and logistical departments. We’ve got your back.
Get In Media has put together an organizational chart that breaks down the different phases of filmmaking, listing the various crew positions associated with each department, and illustrating the hierarchy among them.
Of course, not all productions are the same. Crews, and therefore the departments they work in, vary widely depending on the needs of the film. We’ve put together a chart of the most common roles; consider this an introductory guide to the average studio motion picture.
Download the Film Chart PDF
Click the image below to begin mapping your future in the film industry.
To view and use the Film Chart, you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. Download for free here.
To put large-scale feature film into perspective, consider these numbers:
Disney’s John Carter had an estimated production budget of $250 million dollars, which puts the film well within the top 10 most expensive movies of all time.
Excluding the cast and stunt personnel, John Carter employed 1,976 people in the making of the movie, according to IMDB.com. That is nearly 2,000 people working together through the processes of development, pre-production, production, and post. Furthermore, that figure only accounts for the credited crew, never mind the studio personnel and various contracted parties that supported the release of the film with marketing and promotion.
For comparison, Wingnut Films (Peter Jackson) estimated the total cost for the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy at $285 million dollars, with a combined crew of about 2,400 people.
The Artist, Best Picture winner at the 2012 Academy Awards, was made for just $15 million, with a crew of less than 300 people.
In 2012, the list of Oscar-nominated films for Best Picture ranged in budget from $15 million (The Artist) to $170 million (Hugo).
Crews varied widely, about 200 people (excluding cast) contributed to The Descendants, while Hugo again came in with the largest support team—largely increased by the 3-D and visual effects needed—at approximately 1,100 crewmembers.
Hugo required more than 20 individual technical, artistic, and logistical departments to bring the film to life; there were close to 100 visual effects artists credited on the movie.
In fact, there are so many potential roles in visual effects, that the Visual Effects Society has devised a list of more than 230 standardized job titles for the VFX industry. You will not find all of those roles listed on our chart—they wouldn’t fit on the page—but you can visit the VES website to learn more.
Get In Media’s film industry chart maps out more than 200 careers within 26 departments, ranging from screenwriting and development, to editing and post-production. So, if you are looking to find your place among Hollywood’s filmmakers, consult our chart to learn just how your dream job fits in today’s films.
More Film Industry Resources:
Directors Guild of America
Producers Guild of America
International Cinematographers Guild
Art Directors Guild
Costume Designers Guild
Writers Guild of America, East
Writers Guild of America, West
View all the film and TV industry career profiles on Get In Media here.
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