In traditional production, there are fairly standard positions and job titles. On any given movie, there can be anywhere from a handful to hundreds of film professionals hired. These people are split into two categories: Above-the-Line (ATL) and Below-the-Line (BTL), which are terms that come from the budgetary and hierarchical processes.
ATL includes: Actors, Director, Writers, Producers (once in a while you will see an editor, designer or cinematographer as well). Essentially, these are the people without whom the movie cannot be made. They represent the ‘package’ that defines the final product and that is key to the creative and financial success of the film.
BTL basically includes everyone and everything else. Crew members are freelancers who work movie to movie and includes a broad spectrum of positions and responsibilities – from Production Designer to Gaffer, from Transportation Captain to Set Decorator.
Post-production is another major component to every film, whether it entails editing alone or complex visual effects, animation, sound design. There are a myriad of positions in this segment of the industry.
There are also corporate jobs: studio or network executives, entertainment attorneys, management companies, agents, publicists, financiers and more. These people work as full time employees of the firm, studio, network or agency that has hired them.
*Certain governments have defined filmmaking as ‘manufacturing’ which has far-reaching implications that will be addressed in the Film Commission Professional course.
This section will help to unravel some of the mystery by providing background on the production. ‘The Five Phases of Production’ describes the process by which the written word is turned into a film or television movie.
Film production is, in most instances, a five-phase business. These phases are described as:
3. Principal Photography
The basic five stages of production are similar for studio features, independent, documentary, short content, web series or television content. The timelines, budgets, size of crew and process varies considerably for any project.