On a low-budget independent film with a scaled back crew, there are not too many film crew positions to keep track of. When we start looking at larger productions, however, the amount of distinct film crew positions can balloon to massive numbers. Gaining an understanding of the function of each movie crew member’s role can be a confusing and lengthy endeavor without a proper guide, so we put together the ultimate guide to film crew positions to make this task as simple and intuitive as possible.

Film set crew

1st Assistant Camera

The 1st AC is vital to the film camera crew

A 1st Assistant Camera, aka 1st AC, aka Focus Puller, is responsible for controlling the focus of a shot in progress. This can entail keeping a subject in focus for a shot’s duration or racking focus mid-shot. The 1st AC is part of the camera team and also shares the responsibilities of loading/unloading gear and assisting the camera operator and DP when necessary. The first AC works as part of the film camera crew.

What does a film crew do

2nd Assistant Camera

Short film crew positions include 2nd AC

A 2nd Assistant Camera, aka 2nd AC, is a part of the camera team and is responsible for tracking and maintaining camera gear and accessories such as camera lenses, building camera rigs, and operating the clapboard. The 2nd AC is a part of the film camera crew, they keep a log of the technical details for every shot recorded and help set the marks used by actors and the 1st AC for focus.

Film crew members

1st Assistant Director

Film production crew  •  Life as a 1st AD from Film Courage

A 1st Assistant Director, aka 1st AD, has many responsibilities both on set during production and off set during the Pre-Production process. The 1st AD participates in creating the shooting schedule with regard to on-set time and efficiency. The 1st AD can work with the 2nd AD to prep call sheets and plan out the logistical side of principal photography. During production, the 1st AD is in charge of running the set and keeping things on schedule, as well as helping to solve scheduling and logistical issues as they arise. The 1st AD must always be mindful of time while on set. You can learn more about the duties and responsibilities of the 1st AD in our full position breakdown post.

Crew in film production

2nd Assistant Director

A 2nd AD is important for both union and non-union film crews

A 2nd Assistant Director, aka 2nd AD, has two primary responsibilities during principal photography. The first is the making and distribution of daily call sheets. The second is to take care of the talent, keep them informed, and shepherd them to and from set as needed. A 2nd AD may also be in charge of coordinating, arranging extras on set, as well as any other 2nd AD hacks that keep the production running.  

Film crew jobs

2nd 2nd Assistant Director

One of the more complicated filmmaking job titles

A 2nd 2nd AD helps to share the responsibilities of the directorial department on large-scale film shoots. If the workload and/or the number of cast members or extras is too high for a 2nd AD to bear on their own, a 2nd 2nd AD helps to divide up the responsibilities to keep anyone from being overwhelmed. If a 2nd 2nd AD is present for a shoot, it is typically their responsibility to handle the coordination of extras. On extremely large films there may be additional 2nd ADs added as necessary.

You may find 3rd ADs, 4th ADs, and so on. Each of these positions shares the same workload to meet the demands of the largest film projects. When it comes time to find and hire a movie crew, there are a number of different approaches and decisions to make along the way. Being familiar with the intricacies of each role can help in the hiring process.

Film crew positions

Art Director

The CBC Arts channel explains film crew member jobs

An art director works alongside the production designer to oversee the construction and decoration of the film’s sets and locations. On a low-budget production, the duties of the art director and production designer may be combined into a single position. Short film crew positions are also typically far more limited than a major feature-film. The art director is also responsible for visible signage on set and for breaking down a script for key props and decorations, oftentimes with the assistance of the 1st AD. For more information on the job of an art director, be sure to read our extended article.

Film production crew

Art PA

Film and TV crew roles  •  production assistant

An Art PA, aka Art Assistant, aka Art Runner, is an on-set assistant who works under the production designer and helps in decorating sets and arranging props/art pieces.

What is a film crew

Associate Producer

Roles in a film production  •  Interview with AP Justen Overlander

An Associate Producer, aka AP, has a wide range of constantly changing duties. Each day on set, an Associate Producer may find themself tasked with a completely different set of responsibilities. Put simply, an AP helps out wherever they are needed and wherever than can be of the most use, whether that be in assisting the wardrobe department or in helping to arrange transportation, they can find themselves doing it all. You can think of it like a technical, jack-of-trades position. For more information, be sure to read through our article on the role of an Associate Producer.

Film crew positions

Best Boy

The best boy is a part of the lighting film crew

The Best Boy is the name given to the Key Grip’s right hand person. Best Boys are members of the Grip and Electric (G&E) department with more responsibility than the other Grips as they directly assist the Key Grip and delegate responsibilities. The Best Boy is a key member in the lighting film crew. Continue learning with our full best boy job description.

Film crew members

Boom Operator

Job roles on a film set - boom op

Job roles on a film set  •  Boom Op

A Boom Operator, often shortened to ‘Boom Op,’ is in charge of operating the boom microphone and capturing clean audio without dipping the microphone into the shot. Boom Operators may find themselves in constant motion within shots containing a great deal of movement from the cast and/or camera. Recording audio is a massively important task so make sure you hire the best person for the job.

What does a film crew do

Caterer

Crafty and catering  •  Different positions in the film industry

Film sets typically have catered meals during the lunch break, and the Caterer, aka Head Caterer if they are running a team, is in charge of preparing and laying out the hot food for the cast and crew. A caterer may prepare separate meals for cast or crew with allergies or dietary restrictions. The caterer is not in charge of crafty (craft services).

Crew in film production

Camera Operator

Camera crew positions  •  Insights from a Hollywood Cam Op

A Camera Operator, often shortened to “Cam Op,” is the most important of all camera crew roles. The Cam Op responsible for operating the camera during the shoot. This includes locked-off static shots as well as hand-held shots or with the use of a variety of camera rigs. Steadicams are typically used by specialized operators. The Camera Operator is a part of the camera team

Film set crew

Casting Director

Casting director - know who’s who on a movie crew

Casting Director  •  Know who’s who on a movie crew

The Casting Director organizes and manages the casting process for a film. This can involve holding casting calls and auditions, orchestrating and receiving taped auditions, or coordinating with talent who may not be required to audition. The Director and Producers review the talent put forth by the Casting Director for hiring consideration. If you are interested in casting, we have a guide on how to become a Casting Director that can get you started in the right direction.

Film production crew

Choreographer

The RocketJump Film School interviews an action choreographer

A Choreographer designs, plans, and instructs talent for specialized movements. The Choreographer role is a specialized position, most commonly focusing on either dance choreography or action choreography. Choreographers will either work independently, work with the Director, or work with a Second Unit Director, to design the choreography.

What is a film crew

Costume Designer

Art Department - There are many different departments in film production

There are many different departments in film production

The Costume Designer is the head of the wardrobe department and is responsible for matching costumes to characters that appear on screen. This includes the wardrobe for principal talent and can include the wardrobe worn by extras as well. Many costumes can be purchased or rented, but custom-made wardrobes are very common.

Film crew positions

Craft Services

Stocking the crafty table is beneficial to all movie production crew members

Crafty is the favorite spot for movie production crew members

Craft services, aka crafty, is an arrangement of foods and drinks available throughout the day on a film set. Crafty is typically snack foods or simple food items and is separate from the hot meals provided by catering. The craft services crew member is in charge of gathering and laying out the crafty table(s) early on the day of shooting and keeping it stocked. If you are interested in becoming involved in craft services, check our tips and tricks for prepping the best crafty table possible.

Film crew set

Director

Tarantino Explains His Process  •  Subscribe on YouTube

The Director is the creative head of the film. They are involved in every stage of the production process and have the final say on the vast majority of creative decisions, though the studio or Producer can sometimes veto certain choices. It is the Director’s vision for the film that everyone is trying to achieve by working on the production. If you’re interested in directing, then be sure to read our guide on how to be a Director.

What does a film crew do

Dolly Grip

Tips from a Dolly Grip  •  List of jobs on a film set

The Dolly Grip is the member of the Grip and Electric department who specializes in camera dollies. They operate the dolly during dolly shots and are responsible for ensuring that dolly track is laid correctly beforehand.

Film crew members

Director of Photography

Cinematographers discuss their roles in film production

A director of photography, aka DP, aka cinematographer, oversees both the camera team and the grip and electric department, and is responsible for everything having to do with the camera and lighting techniques. The best cinematographers use their technical expertise to light and shoot scenes in accordance with the Director’s vision. Be sure to read our dedicated article on the role of the director of photography.

Film production crew

Digital Imaging Technician

DIT film crew job description

The digital imaging technician, often abbreviated as DIT, is only found on film crews shooting digitally, it is not a role that exists when shooting on film. The DIT works with the camera team to optimize settings, workflow, and signal inputs to ease the process of ingesting footage.

What is a film crew

Driver

A driver is part of the production crew

A driver is key part of the production crew

A driver on a production crew is essentially the same role as a driver in any other business. Drivers on a movie crew will transport cast or crew, either to and from the set, or between different shooting locations throughout the day. A driver may also be used for other purposes such as running equipment or props if basecamp is far away from the shoot location or if a trip back to the studio proves necessary.

Film crew positions

Electrician

A set electrician explains his main roles in film production

An electrician in film works in the grip and electric department and answers directly to the Gaffer. The electrician’s job can be in Pre-Production when wiring up sets and conducting tech rehearsals in advance of the shoot. During the production phase, an electrician will rig lights, run cables, and ensure a steady flow of power for lights and equipment either on set or on location.

Roles in film production

Entertainment Lawyer

Movie production positions  •  Entertainment lawyer

An entertainment lawyer is an important part of the film crew hierarchy. They are a specialized attorney who is versed in all of the legalities present within the film industry. Entertainment lawyers can find themself doing many different things throughout a production from negotiating contract deals to advising Producers on the best legal practices to follow, including actor release forms.

Film crew jobs

Executive Producer

CBC Arts discusses the roles of the film production team

An Executive Producer in film is involved in the financing of the production. In television production, the role of an Executive Producer is much different, so do not mistake them. In film, an EP’s involvement may end after their financial contribution but some Producers remain involved throughout the entire production process. Learn more about the role of an executive producer in our dedicated article.

Film crew positions

Film Loader

Film positions descriptions: Film Loader

The role of the Film Loader is to, you guessed it, load film. A Film Loader will first load camera magazines in a dark room ahead of the shoot. On set, the film loader is responsible for switching between the magazines in a timely manner. The film loader can be its own position or, as is frequently the case, it's rolled into the 2nd AC's duties.

Film crew jobs

Financier

Film financiers discuss streaming platforms

A Financier supplies a partial or full budget for a film production. A film’s budget is often compromised of the financial backing of a number of different Financiers. The Financier’s involvement in the film typically ends at the investment stage; they do not often hold power over any creative decisions made within the film.

Grip film crew

Gaffer

Film roles explained gaffer

Film roles explained: Gaffer

The Gaffer is the head of lighting and power and works within the grip and electric department. Gaffers answers directly to the Cinematographer and collaborates with the Key Grip to ensure the desired look of the film comes to fruition. To learn more, read through our dedicated article the duties and responsibilities of a gaffer.

Grip film crew

Grip

Grip film crew tips from Film Riot

A Grip is the main position within the grip and electric department. The head of the Grips is called the “Key Grip.” Any given production is likely to use multiple grips. The larger the production, the more Grips needed. The primary responsibilities of a Grip include moving and setting up equipment, constructing rigs, and performing any handiwork necessary to enable the other departments to do their jobs. Grips are also responsible for the Grip truck(s) which is a large vehicle(s) loaded with all of the tools and equipment that may or may not prove necessary throughout the shoot.

The film crew

Hair Stylist

Interview with a movie crew Hair Stylist

A Hair Stylist for film is responsible for achieving the desired look for the hair of the talent and maintaining that look throughout the shoot. Film shoots will likely have multiple Hair Stylists to accommodate larger casts. A Hair Stylist in film will likely find themself working with wigs, extensions, and dyes in addition to natural hair.

Production crew

Key PA

Life as a Key Production Assistant

The Key PA is in charge of the other PAs on set. A higher-level crew member may inform the Key PA of something that needs doing, the Key PA will then delegate responsibilities to the other PAs and ensure that everyone is working on the appropriate goals. Take a look at our detailed production assistant job description if you are interested in becoming one yourself. PA is an entry level and the Key PA position can be worked up to.

Roles in film production

Line Producer

Film Crew Positions  •  Line Producer

A Line Producer’s primary responsibility is to manage the budget. They serve as a go-between for above-the-line and below-the-line crew. A Producer will typically bring a Line Producer onto a project early on and have them devise a budget which will then be raised through Financiers and Executive Producers afterwards. The Line Producer is involved in the hiring of crew and the managing of the schedule once principal photography has begun. Be sure to read our line producer guide if you are interested in becoming one yourself.

Film crew positions

Location Manager

How to become a Location Manager on a film crew

A Location Manager is responsible for finding shooting locations, with the help of a Location Scout, receiving permission from the property owner and handling the necessary paperwork, and acquiring filming permits whenever necessary. The Location Manager will also negotiate rates with property and business owners for the use of their location and ensure at the end of shooting that locations are left in the same or better condition than when the production arrived. 

Film crew list

Location Scout

Life as a Location Scout

A Location Scout finds and secures the necessary locations present in the screenplay. Location Scouts may work alongside a Location Manager to handle logistics, permits, and the interactions with the surrounding community when applicable. If you are interested in becoming a Location Scout, be sure to check out our helpful guide and our Location Scout checklist and cheat sheet.

Film crew hierarchy

Makeup Artist

Insights from a Hollywood film crew Makeup Artist

A Makeup Artist is responsible for putting on and maintaining the makeup of the talent throughout the day. Makeup must match continuity between shots which may be filmed on different days. Makeup for film can differ greatly from makeup worn in casual life and in theater performances.

The film crew

Office PA

A guide to working as an Office PA

An Office PA holds a similar station and performs much the same role as a set PA but they perform their duties back at the production office. The job of an office PA typically begins in Pre-Production, long before set PAs are brought onto a project. An office PA assists in any way necessary to aid in the smooth running of the production office. Office PAs primarily report to the Production Coordinator and help with tasks such as printing and copying, running errands, and answering phone calls. Take a look at our detailed Production Assistant job description if you are interested in becoming one yourself

DIT film crew

On-Set Editor

Insights from a Hollywood film crew Editor

An On-set Editor edits a rough cut of the scene in progress as shots are captured. An On-set Editor can help the Director decide whether or not the captured footage will work in conjunction with the other shots and if additional takes are necessary. The job of an On-set Editor may be combined with the duties of a VTR Operator.

Film positions

PA

Film Crew Positions  •  Production Assistant

A PA, aka Production Assistant, also sometimes called a Producer’s Assistant, is an entry level film set job that performs a wide range of tasks depending on the needs of the film set at any given moment. A film set is likely to make use of multiple PAs and the selection of PAs may change throughout the duration of a film shoot. PAs answer directly to the Key PA who will delegate responsibilities to answer the needs of the the department heads. Take a look at our detailed production assistant job description if you are interested in becoming one yourself

Film crew 101

Producer

A crash course in Producers

A Producer is at the top of the food chain of a production. The Producer handles the business side of a film and is sometimes involved in the creative side as well. A Producer may have the initial concept for a film and bring a Screenwriter in to bring that idea to life. Producers are involved in securing financing for the film, hiring cast and crew, and making all above the line decisions. Be sure to take a look at our expanded Producer explanation post if you are interested in becoming one yourself.

Roles in film production

Production Accountant

Advice from a Production Accountant

A Production Accountant handles the financial side of a film shoot, likely working alongside other Production Accountants. They are responsible for tracking expenditure, issuing paychecks, and tracking the budget as it is spent in comparison to the total projected budget.

Film crew list

Production Coordinator

Insights from the Production Coordinator of Portlandia

A Production Coordinator works out of the production office and works to ensure that a production runs smoothly from all angles. The Production Coordinator often serves as a liaison between different departments and keeps everyone informed of changes and updates as they occur. Be sure to look through our Production Coordinator tips if you are interested in becoming one.

Film crew hierarchy

Production Designer

Our very own guide to production design  •  Subscribe on YouTube

The Production Designer is the head of the art department. They are responsible for designing and overseeing the construction of sets as well as ensuring that sets and locations are properly dressed for shooting. Production designers are often involved in the location scouting process as well. If you interested in becoming a production designer, be sure to read our in depth article on the role.

The film crew

Prop Master

Insights directly from a specialized Prop Designer on a production crew

The Prop Master is in charge of acquiring, arranging, distributing, and tracking all of the props necessary to a film shoot, except for prop weapons as those are the responsibility of the Armorer or Weapons Wrangler. The Prop Master is also in charge of maintaining, repairing or replacing props as need be. Duplicates are often required for props that may be damaged/destroyed in the course of filming.

Film crew list

Prosthetics Designer

A Prosthetics Designer discusses transforming Charlize Theron

A Prosthetics Designer works in conjunction with the Hair and Makeup department and the Special Effects department in the design and application of prosthetics worn by talent. These prosthetics can include things such as wounds, non-human features, or old-age makeup appliances.

Hollywood film crew

Screenwriter

Interstellar Beat Sheet  •  Subscribe on YouTube

A Screenwriter is responsible for the writing a script for a film, sometimes alongside a co-writer, or taking over as a replacement writer. The screenwriter’s duties do not end with Pre-Production. Re-writes may be necessary throughout a shoot and it is the screenwriter’s job to ensure the necessary changes, additions, or cuts are made in a timely manner and stay true to the overall vision of the film. If you are a screenwriter or interested in becoming one, be sure to take a look at our tips for writing dialogue.

Film set hierarchy

Script Supervisor

The Filmmaker’s Den on the job role on a film set for the Script Supervisor

The primary responsibility of a Script Supervisor, aka Script Sup, is to watch for continuity between shots. They ensure that talent uses the same hand for subsequent takes of the same action, that set dressing and props do not move, and work to ensure that all continuity errors are avoided. The Script Supervisor also lines the script for each shot and keeps track of coverage as shooting commences. Notes taken by the Script Supervisor may be used by the Editor later on. The Script Supervisor may also be called upon if an actor forgets a line and needs a quick reminder. For additional insights into working as a script supervisor and to download a free script supervisor template, be sure to read our stand-alone article on the position.

Film crew positions

Set Decorator

Main roles in film production straight from the Oscars

The Set Decorator chooses and gathers all of the furniture and decorations that will appear on a film set. They provide directions to the Set Dresser who will assist in arranging everything on set and ensuring that the set is camera-ready. On smaller film shoots, the Set Dresser and Set Decorator may be combined into one position.

Film set hierarchy

Sound Assistant

A crash course in sound production

A Sound Assistant helps the rest of the sound team perform their roles better. The Sound Assistant’s job can be more varied than the other positions within the production sound department. They may find themselves changing batteries, attaching lav mics to talent, wrangling cables, or straightening up the audio cart.

Film positions

Sound Mixer

A quick lesson from Sweetwater

The on-set Sound Mixer, sometimes called the Audio Mixer, is responsible for setting and balancing audio levels during principal photography. This can frequently require mixing multiple microphones at once and adjusting levels within shots as actor volumes fluctuate up or down. The Sound Mixer is the head of the sound team on set.

Film crew 101

Special Effects Coordinator

Breaking down a special effects scene from Inception  •  Subscribe on YouTube

The Special Effects Coordinator is in charge of the special effects taking place on set; this does not include additional special effects done in post-production. Special Effects Coordinators may work with a team of technicians or specialists in certain SPFX fields such as pyrotechnics or puppetry.

Movie personnel

SPFX Makeup Designer

CBC showcases the work of Hollywood film crew SPFX Makeup Designers

A SPFX Makeup Designer is a specialized member of the makeup department. SPFX Makeup Designers may double as Prosthetic Designers or work alongside them. The work done by a SPFX makeup designer can include a wide range of designs from gore effects to alien and monster components.

Film positions

Stunt Coordinator

Insights from the Stunt Coordinator of Daredevil

The Stunt Coordinator is the head of the stunt team for a film shoot. Many Stunt Coordinators have a dedicated team of stunt performers that they bring with them from project to project. Stunt Coordinators plan out each stunt in a film and ensure that it is done safely. They also help in securing well-fit Stunt Doubles and train Stunt Performers as well as talent if they are doing any of their own stunts.

Hollywood film crew

Stunt Performer

What it takes to be a Stunt Performer for a union or non-union film crew

A Stunt Performer works directly under the Stunt Coordinator and performs physical feats on camera. Stunt Performers may serve as a Stunt Double to a particular actor or may appear on screen utilizing acting talents of their own. Some performers specialize in particular types of stunts such as high falls, pyrotechnic stunts, or stunt driving.

Movie personnel

Transportation Coordinator

There are many options available for transportation

There are many options available for transportation

The Transportation Coordination for a film production is in charge of arranging transportation for cast and crew as necessary. Whether for travel to and from set, transportation between different filming locations, or travel for other production-related purposes.

Video production crew positions

Unit Production Manager

Film production job titles  •  UPM

The Unit Production Manager, aka UPM, is in charge of all production reports, contracts, and crew deal memos. A UPM organizes all of these forms and is responsible for making sure that they are all properly signed. The UPM answers directly to the Line Producer.

Filmmaking job titles

VFX Supervisor

People involved in filmmaking VFX Supervisor

The VFX Supervisor is a Post-Production VFX specialist who is present on set. They oversee filming and ensure that what is happening on set lines up with the Post-Production plan. If an aspect of shooting will make the VFX done in Post considerably more difficult or impossible, they may offer guidance or an alternative to ensure that problems do not arise further down the production pipeline. Our article on the intricacies of VFX is a must-read for anyone considering becoming a VFX supervisor.

Video production crew positions

Video Assist Operator

Film industry job titles  •  VTR operator

A Video Assist Operator is often shortened to ‘video assist’ or to the acronym ‘VTR’ which refers to the original machine they used to perform their duties, the ‘video tape recorder.’ The Video Assist Operator enables the Director to review instant playback of just-recorded takes on a monitor, allowing them to make decisions on the take.

Short film crew positions

Weapons Wrangler

Roles in a film crew  •  Weapons Wrangler

A Weapons Wrangler, aka Armorer, is responsible for the tracking, handling, and distribution of weapons on set. This can entail non-firing prop weapons, blank-firing weapons, or, in rare instances, real, working firearms. While on set, a weapon will pass only from the hands of the Weapons Wrangler to the particular actor using it in the scene. When not in use by an actor, the Weapons Wrangler will keep the weapons under their control at all times, typically in a secure carrying case.

UP NEXT

Ultimate Guide to Film Terms

Now that you have an understanding for each of the roles on a film crew, it’s a perfect time to begin familiarizing yourself with the various terminology and lingo that gets thrown around on a film set. Our Ultimate Guide to Film Terminology is a hand resource for looking up any unfamiliar terms and furthering your filmmaking education.

Up Next: Ultimate Guide to Film Terms →
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  • Sam Kench is an internationally-awarded screenwriter, independent filmmaker, and film critic. Lover of foreign films; hater of American remakes.

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