When you’re watching a scene in a film or on television, the details within a set are usually meticulously planned and executed. There’s someone whose job is to make sure each scene looks the way it’s supposed to, and that person is known as the Leadman.

What Does a Leadman Do in Film and TV?

First, let’s define leadman

On a film set, assumptions about the leadman's role can vary widely, yet their presence is pivotal to the seamless operation of the production. They work behind the curtain, ensuring that the director's vision is executed to perfection. 


What is a leadman in film and TV?

A Leadman is responsible for managing and overseeing the work of the set decoration team on a film or television production. They work closely with the Production Designer to bring their vision to life and are responsible for organizing, coordinating and supervising the set decoration department. It should be noted here that "Leadman" applies to both men and women in that position.

Leadman Job Duties:

  • Oversee the set dressers and ensure all props align with the production design
  • Collaborate with the art director to interpret the visual style of the film
  • Manage the inventory of props and set decoration elements before, during, and after filming

Leadman Job Description

What does a leadman do in film?

What does a leadman do? A leadman juggles multiple responsibilities that are integral to the production process. From pre-production planning to the final wrap, their hands touch every aspect of the set's physical appearance.

It's a role that requires both an artistic vision and practical problem-solving skills to ensure that every item on set supports the storytelling.

What is a Leadman & What's Their Job on the Set?

To recap, some of the main responsibilities of a leadman include:

Budget Management 

The leadman is responsible for managing the budget allocated for set decoration, ensuring that all expenses stay within the designated amount.

Sourcing Materials

They are in charge of sourcing materials and props needed for the set, such as furniture, decorations, and other elements.

Supervising Crew

The leadman oversees a team of set dressers and ensures that they are working efficiently to meet deadlines.

Collaboration with Other Departments

They work closely with other departments such as lighting, camera, and costume to ensure that everything on the set works together seamlessly.

Maintaining Set Continuity

The leadman must maintain continuity in the set design, ensuring that all details are consistent throughout filming.


In case of any issues or challenges during production, the leadman must be able to come up with creative solutions quickly.

With so many responsibilities, a leadman plays a crucial role in the overall success of a production. They are essential for creating a believable and cohesive world on screen.

Path to Working as a Leadman

How to become a leadman

Formal education in film, art, or interior design provides a solid foundation, while internships and apprenticeships offer invaluable hands-on experience.

Of course, a solid understanding of production design is key to becoming a working leadman. 

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Embarking on the journey to become a leadman involves various paths, each offering unique learning experiences. On-the-job training is prevalent, where one starts in entry-level positions and works their way up. Additionally, joining unions can be crucial for networking and gaining recognition in the industry.

What does a Leadman Get Paid?

Leadman salary

Curiosity about a leadman's earning potential is natural, and various resources are available to gather this information. Job boards, industry-specific websites, and union postings can give you a clearer picture of the salary range for this position. Obviously, these shift all the time but here's the current average.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for a leadman in the film and television industry is $53,550. However, this can vary depending on factors such as location, experience, and production budget.

Where to Find Work as a Leadman

Find leadman jobs

For those poised to enter the world of set design and decoration, finding a leadman job can be your ticket to a fulfilling career in filmmaking. 

Websites like Indeed, Glassdoor, and entertainment career networks are excellent starting points for your search, alongside film production company listings and professional social media platforms like LinkedIn.

Often overlooked but crucial in the world of production design, the leadman plays a central role in creating visually stunning worlds that captivate our imagination. With hard work, expertise, and dedication to their craft, they seamlessly bring stories to life in the details.

Up Next

Discover more filmmaking roles

A leadman creates and curates the details that bring life to a shot or scene. To continue through our series of the various filmmaking roles and positions, you can explore similar jobs like Production Designer, Set Dresser, or Set Designer. Or you can jump over to our Film Crew Index to browse the entire range of filmmaking roles. Understanding what everyone’s role on a film set is will help make you a better overall filmmaker and a more efficient crew member.

Up Next: Explore more crew positions →
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  • Kyle DeGuzman graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Science in Television, Film, & New Media. He currently resides in Denver, Colorado spending his time writing, filmmaking, and traveling.

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