Whether picking up Slash for a wicked guitar solo or following Kristin Chenoweth as she belts a glory note, the spotlight operator’s primary responsibility is to highlight the focal person or persons on stage. A followspot serves to direct the audience’s attention and fill in the gaps of the stage lighting.
For television writers, the first step is an entry-level gig as a staff writer. This is a less glorious title than it appears, and does not receive a credit, but it is the probationary proving ground that trains emerging storytellers in the art of creating episodic television. Under the Writers Guild of America minimum basic agreement, staff writers are paid a weekly salary and contracted for a designated period during the life of a series.
High-profile celebrities and media moguls have people to see and places to go. They don’t pick up their own dry cleaning; that’s where the personal assistant comes in. These champions of indentured servitude gladly perform menial tasks for the reward of jet-setting with the star to Paris, or rubbing elbows backstage at the Grammys.
Animation has come a long way since the days of plain white walls and two-dimensional cartoon characters. Today’s animation features deep, rich textures that make walls appear real, faces look lifelike, and even fantasy monsters seem like they could really be waiting under your bed. Much of this textural detail is thanks to the texture artist, also known as a texture painter, whose graphic art is used to define the surface qualities of a 3-D computer model. Most of the textures created by texture artists are used in video games, films, and television shows.
Match moving has fast become a standard visual effects technique in almost every instance where live-action materials and computer-generated imagery are combined, allowing real and virtual scenes to be seamlessly composited together, appearing as if from the same perspective. With just about every movie released today featuring at least some computer graphics, a proficient match mover can find entrance into the industry and take the first steps in a long career in filmmaking, visual effects, and the CG field.
Working on an agent’s desk is a special circle of assistant hell, but if you can survive, the payoffs can make it worthwhile. Picture poor Lloyd, toiling away under Ari Gold’s abuse in Entourage, and you are not far off from reality. If the word “abuse” has not already caused you to re-evaluate your career aspirations, then you may have the right attitude to survive the boot camp that is being an entertainment agent’s assistant.
The animation technique of rotoscoping is nearly a hundred years old, but the advancements in technology and technique have made being a rotoscope artist today far different than in your great-great-grandfather’s day. While today’s rotoscope artist works almost exclusively with computers and continuously evolving rotoscoping software, the fundamentals of rotoscoping remain the same as a century ago: Rotoscope artists provide traced outlines (mattes) so that live-action objects can be integrated into layers for films, television shows, and video games.
Rendering is the pivotal process in CGI of turning computer data into a sequence of viewable images; the render wrangler is responsible for monitoring and controlling the rendering process, while also managing rendering priorities based on the needs of department supervisors and production management. Render wranglers can work on projects from the pre-visualization stage until the project is delivered for compositing, working with the CG department. As an entry-level position, becoming a render wrangler can be a great starting point for those desiring a career in computer animation.
An A&R scout works for the record label and is responsible for finding new musical talent and developing that talent. A&R scouts are the first point of contact between artists and record labels, and by keeping up with musical trends and acts as they appear, scouts bring up-and-coming bands and solo acts to the attention of the A&R department. A&R scout is the lowest rung of the A&R ladder, below the A&R executive but critical to the discovery and development process.
An individual in the props department is part artist and part technician; this job requires the creative talent of a painter and the mechanical know-how of a carpenter. The props tech is a treasure-hunter and master craftsman who applies considerable skills to the visual interest of a play, film, or television show.