Paint Coordinator

  • Paint Coordinator

The paint coordinator on a film or television show is hired by the production designer or art director and is responsible for the supervision and organization of the paint department, as well as the execution of all paint assignments, including painting sets, props, backdrops, signs, and permanent buildings or soundstages.


Early in the pre-production phase, the paint coordinator will meet with the production designer and art director to review design drawings for special props and scenery and to discuss the style and color pallets for all paint projects. He or she must also communicate with the construction coordinator and prop master to establish a delivery timeline, by which carpentry elements will be completed and delivered to the painters. Based on the schedule and scale of the props and scenery to be painted, the coordinator will determine the number of crewmembers to hire, including a paint foreman and lead painter, as well as scenic artists and scenic painters. This person is then responsible for contacting vendors to obtain quotes for purchasing materials and equipment and will formulate a department budget according to those estimates. After the line producer has approved the proposal, the coordinator can procure necessary paint, brushes, rent scaffolding, and other equipment. This person will be tasked with disseminating funds within the department as required and must retain all receipts for final accounting during post-production.

During the painting process, the paint coordinator shall supervise the crew and ensure that all artists adhere to the design specifications as outlined by the production designer and art director. Depending on the size of the project, the coordinator may take on the role of the lead painter and paint foreman or may only supervise the work of others. He or she will continually review work for quality and instruct artists in proper techniques. The paint coordinator shall be responsible for seeing that all assets are completed on time and will communicate with relevant departments for the transportation of scenery and props to the shooting location for principal photography.

Skills & Education

A college degree in film and television production with an emphasis on scenic design is encouraged. A major in fine art or theatrical design is also applicable and should include courses in traditional drawing, painting, photography, sculpture, and art history. Training in faux painting techniques and the use of common finishing materials are necessary. Since lighting and color react differently through a camera’s lens than through the human eye, the paint coordinator must understand the principles of lighting for film and television and how that affects color choices for scenery. Of course, artistic talent is the most crucial prerequisite. An understanding of the use of lens filters is also beneficial. This position demands an individual who is an effective leader and able to manage multiple projects simultaneously. This person must be capable of creative collaboration as well as an excellent communicator.

What to Expect

As a department head, the paint coordinator is a senior crewmember who has at least five years of experience in professional film and television production. Previous work in theatrical production is also applicable. The typical path toward this role begins as an entry-level painter within the paint department. This can lead toward employment as a scenic painter with more responsibility and subsequently to promotion as a lead painter and then, paint foreman. Artists may work on a freelance basis or can obtain permanent employment for a scenic design and construction studio that caters to the film and television industry. Large motion picture studios have in-house paint shops that employ a full-time staff. Paint coordinators, like other members of the paint department, are eligible for membership in IATSE, the union that represents artists and technicians within the entertainment industry.


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