Hats in Brief by James Jaeger
The following definitions should be used only as a guide in understanding the hats. These job descriptions are not exact. Refer to actual hats for exact functions. Where possible, definitions that depend on earlier definitions are given later in sequence.
A specific set of duties and responsibilities that, when done, result in an exact Product or service. A Hat is a job description booklet or pack of materials and should not be confused with a Post or a Title.
An area of responsibility that is described, defined and governed by one or more Hats.
The Company name given to a Postholder and is usually derived from the highest Hat connected with the Post if more than one Hat is being worn. The purpose of a Title is to serve as a convenient way of identifying the person who is holding a post. Examples of a Titles are President, Gaffer, Vice-President, Make-Up Artist, AD, Production Manager, Director of Photography, UPM.
A person, partnership or corporation is sometimes referred to as an entity.
1. The executive who packages the project and supervises the production of the film from conception to distribution. Usually reports to the Executive Producer. 2. The entity (or company) that manufactures motion pictures.
The artist/craftsman/executive who translates the script to the screen image by working with the actors and the camera. He or she directs all the creative personnel on the set.
Arranges for the financing and distribution of the picture or group of pictures. Title sometimes retained by a Distributor who finances or causes the financing of a Picture.
An entity that takes a film product and delivers it to Exhibitors.
A person (or entity) that exhibits the film on some communication channel, such as a television or in a movie theatre.
A fancy word for a distributor who mainly deals with delivering movies and shows to television stations across the country, usually after they have had a run on network television.
An experienced human being who can place their real or imagined experiences on paper in such a manner that they communicate easily and accurately to others.
A person whose name has market value because audiences will pay relatively known quantities of money to see their performance. Stars are found in all vocations, not just the movies. A star is Principal Talent of the picture.
The actor(s) and/or actress(es) that play the main characters in the story. Stars are usually the principal talent but Principal Talent in the picture may or may not be a star.
An actor or actress that is not a principal character but whose part plays against a Principal Talent in a way that is much more important to the story than a Bit Player.
Actors and/or actresses that appear on the set only as background "atmosphere" and have no speaking lines or specific acting routines they must perform. Their image may or may not end up in the edited picture.
Extras that have at least one (1) speaking line and/or have a specific "bit" of action routine they must perform on camera.
Right hand administrative manager to the producer who drafts and supervises the budget, hires the crew, arranges for services, expedites and manages the day-to-day production operations in the most efficient manner possible.
Unit Production Manager (UPM)
Assists the Production Manager in his functions. The UPM may be more on the set whereas the Production Manager may maintain a stable position in the production office.
First Assistant Director (1ST AD)
A high-powered production assistant and right-hand man of the Director. The First Assistant Director reviews the requirements of the script for the Director, and generally aids and expedites any and all the Director's administrative and/or organizational functions.
The Script Supervisor assists the Director in maintaining details of story continuity, props and actor placement and timing each scene (as shooting progresses). Creates and maintains the Script Supervision Notes.
The Floor Manager helps the Director cue the Talent and Actors. He is out on the floor of the filming set with a headset intercom on. The Director gives instructions to any and all audience, staff, crew, talent or actors on the set through him.
Works closely with the Director in maintaining consistency in all art associated with the production. The Art Director locates, creates and handles the Set and its dressing, props and furniture, etc.
Director of Photography (DP)
The DP, as he is usually called, is responsible for selecting all camera equipment for the production and liaising with the Technical Director. The DP decides what lights and related camera equipment are needed and procures these. The DP is in charge of the photographic quality of the show and heads up a crew. He is responsible to the Director.
Smoothly and efficiently operates a camera during the production and keep the frame composed properly. In video production, wears a headset which is connected to the Director.
First Assistant Cameraman
The First Assistant Cameraman is responsible for keeping the camera reports, loading and unloading the camera and assisting the Operator.
Second Assistant Cameraman
The Second Assistant Cameraman, also called the "Loader", loads and unloads film magazines with the correct stock and assists the First Assistant Cameraman.
Assembles the daily footage in accordance with the story (script) and the director's input. Supervises Assistant Editors as they perform their functions.
Technical Director (TD)
In video production, the Technical Director is responsible to the Director for switching the cameras and running the special effects board as required by the Director. He supervises the electronics of the video and audio crews and sees to it that all technical aspects of the production are in order and on time. In matters of lighting, he is responsible to the Director of Photography in helping him get a good image on the screen.
Keeps the Camera Operator free of cables and other obstacles that may come in his way while filming.
If it has an electrical cord on it, the Gaffer handles it. The Gaffer is responsible for the Director of Photography and handles all the lighting set-ups. He causes the lights to be picked up and returned.
Assists the DP and expedites the lighting procedures. He also assists personnel of other departments in the loading and unloading of their equipment. He assists the personnel in the sound, wardrobe, camera, electrical and props departments without actually running such equipment.
Sets up the video tape recorders in the place designated by the TD and sees to it that all tape is labeled and has proper color bars at the beginning. He prepares the tape recorder for transportation.
Sets up the color of the cameras and maintains their optimum color balance. He is responsible to the TD.
The utility man picks up and delivers equipment as designated by the Production Manager. He also assists and expedites during production and well as cleaning the set at wrap.
The Best Boy helps the Gaffer. He runs and plugs in electrical cables. He keeps all wires neat and coils them up when necessary. He wears gloves to move hot lights.
Does the make up for the on-screen talent and is responsible to Art Director.
Arranges for and color coordinates all clothes of the talent. Is responsible to the Art Director.
Property Master (Props)
Is responsible for any and all props, furniture, chairs, platforms that are needed on the set. Gets and returns all these props. He is responsible to the Art Director.
Does any carpentry work that might be required to build the set(s).
Draws the title cards such that they are not too big or too small and fit easily within the perimeter of the camera frame. Makes sure there is plenty of border around each title so that the camera operator does not have a difficult time framing on it.
Is responsible to the Technical Director for the selection, pick up and set up of the audio equipment necessary to do the production. An Audio Director may act as a central coordinating person if there are multiple sound elements involved with the production, i.e., house sound, band sound, video tape sound. The Audio Recordist then becomes Audio Dir.
The Boomman is responsible for handling the boom or fishpole in a manner that gives the microphone optimum placement for recording dialogue, effects or music, as the case may be. The boomman reports to the Production Mixer.
Production Assistant (PA)
PAs expedite and generally aid the Producer and are assigned, by the producer, to assist others, namely the Production Manager, Director and ADs in the performance of their duties.
The Scout physically goes out to various candidate locations to bring back information as to their availability, cost, etc.
Secures, manages and coordinates all Locations and Location Scouts.
Second Assistant Director (2ND AD)
Helps the First Assistant Director.
Assists the Key Grip in his duties.
The still Photographer is responsible for shooting production stills for publicity and as such is responsible to the producer, (or the designated publicist and/or agent) however he or she cooperates with the Director of Photography in getting the still coverage needed.
An agent is a representative who bargains and negotiates for a creative person such as an actor, director, film editor and sometimes a producer. The agent must be legally registered and has to abide by agency law. An agent usually works on a 5 - 10 percent commission basis and is empowered by the creative person (the principal) to act on his behalf, sometimes with a power of attorney--general or specific. An agent may work for a large firm and handle anywhere from 10-500 clients each. The agency many times becomes involved with putting talent together or packaging.
A personal manager is similar to an agent only he or she is not necessarily licensed and many times will work with the principal's agent. The personal manager specializes in fewer clients but provides a wider range of services which may includE guiding the principal's total career and handling their business affairs.
A producer's rep usually represents the production entity in matters of distribution and financing. He usually represents the project and the production company that is making a particular film. A producer's rep gets a retainer fee and/or a percentage of (producer's net) profits. A producer's rep will see to it that the distribution deals are clear and legally drawn up and will act as sort of a collection watchdog for the recoupment of the costs of production.
When a creative person has a steady cash flow and a strong predictable income he may hire a business manager to act as his investment manager and general bookkeeper. A business manager will connect up to necessary attorneys and accountants so that his client's best interests are served. A business manager will invest his client's money into securities and real estate and other investments. He will also act as an accounts payable and accounts receivable agency.
An entertainment attorney is an attorney who specializes in legal matters pertaining to the entertainment business such as production-distribution agreements, producer's agreements, director's agreement, basic agreements between guilds, unions and production entities. An entertainment attorney may perform the function of a producer's representative and an agent in that many times he is able to get projects into the studios for financing consideration.
A publicist is a press agent or publicity specialist. This person will write (or have written) articles that may appear in print. He will also book or arrange for television appearances and other media exposure. The Publicist may work for a particular individual, project or company and is responsible for creating favorable public relations for his or her client.
A securities attorney is an attorney who specializes in law pertaining to securities, offerings and the Securities and Exchange Commission regulations. A securities attorney is used to draw up a prospectus for a firm that is making a private or public offering. The issuing company hires a securities attorney who works with the securities attorney representing the underwriting firm for the offering. Generally a securities attorney also works with the accountant who sets up and maintains the company's books, accounts and ledger.
The collective owners of a Company who have a right to the cash flow in the form of dividends.
A person who acts for a company or a person in the capacity of locating sophisticated investors. A finder usually receives a finder's fee but he must not represent himself as a broker if he or she is not licensed.
An underwriter guarantees the sale of securities to the public in a public offering.
Assistant to the Producer
The Assistant to the Producer is the Producer's main assistant who assists in the performance of his or her duties. Although the Producer may have additional secretaries, the Assistant to the Producer assigns and supervises all Production Assistants in the absence of the Producer.
The secretary who has advanced secretarial skills and can work at the high pressure and exacting levels required by executives on line.
An office worker who facilitates administrative functions for a specific executive.
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© 1985 - 2003 by James R. Jaeger II
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