Picture Car Coordinator

  • Picture Car Coordinator

What would Knight Rider be without the wit and wisdom of KITT; how would Bo and Luke get out of all those predicaments on The Dukes of Hazzard without the good old General Lee? Those automotive stars aside, any time you see a car in a film or TV show, a specialized technician known as a picture car coordinator is on set as well. Picture car coordinators locate and modify vehicles to the needs of the production; this includes customizing cars so that they can safely perform stunts or produce certain shots essential to the director’s vision.


Duties

Picture car coordinators oversee the modification, movement, usage, and repair of vehicles that appear in a film or television show. They make sure that the rigid timetable of the production is not interrupted by mishaps like a classic hot rod that fails to start. These technicians maintain communication with the builders of the specialized vehicles, so that if any problems arise or parts need replacing,  mechanics are available to quickly fix the issue. They may oversee a team of mechanics, fabricators, and painters during production. Picture car coordinators are also consultants, responsible for providing input on the type of vehicles that would be appropriate for certain aspects of the film or its characters. They decide how many duplicate versions to make and what modifications need to be done to each car so that it performs its required role. They also plan and implement the budgets for moving, fueling, maintaining, and modifying the cars.

Skills & Education

Obviously, a picture car coordinator must know vehicles inside and out. Although academic qualifications are not a requirement, training and experience as a mechanic is invaluable. You must be creative and innovative with modifications to maximize the vehicle’s effect in the film. The picture car coordinator must also be a good manager, with an eye for detail and excellent negotiation skills in order to procure the desired vehicles. Accounting is also part of the role, since the job depends on creating and keeping within allotted budgets for specialized vehicles, as well as reporting on those budgets to producers. Good communication skills are necessary to communicate effectively with the special effects, camera, and transportation departments within the production.

What to Expect

Picture car coordinators work very long hours to meet the demands of the film’s timetable and ensure all vehicles are in working order. You may spend time in an office environment, planning and tweaking budgets, as well as overseeing the team fabricating or repairing the vehicles. You may be called upon to communicate with the film’s director, production designer, and producers; you will definitely interact with the transportation department. A knack for multi-tasking and planning is a must for the picture car coordinator; you must have the required vehicles on site and running from start to finish during all filming hours.

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