What Are the Different Types of Film Career Opportunities?

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  • Written By: Stacy Taylor
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  • Last Modified Date: 04 November 2019
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Although it can be a tough field to break into because of the high level of competition, there are many types of film career opportunities. In addition to creative jobs in front of the camera, people who have a less flamboyant set of skills can find film career opportunities behind the scenes of movie productions. Most of these jobs don't require a college degree or specialized education, but most film directors, screenwriters, cinematographers and film editors acquire a bachelor's degree or associate's degree in an art school setting.

The majority of staff members associated with a movie work on the crew in supporting roles. They assist the director and the cinematographers by running errands as needed, and they generally help ensure that the production flows as smoothly as possible. These film career opportunities consist of labor-intensive positions such as stagehands, boom operators, production assistants and prop masters. After they have proven their worth working in an entry-level position, they can acquire job placement in roles that give them increased responsibility. Examples of advanced crew careers include the key grip or gaffer, who works primarily under the director of photography, as well as the construction coordinator, who manages the set-building team.


The film's director shoulders the burden of responsibility for leading the artistic direction of his team, but other film career opportunities also require some amount of creativity. Along with the artistry of actors who bring emotion to a film, creative people can often find employment designing sets or costumes, styling hair or applying makeup. Lighting directors also fill a valuable artistic role in filmmaking, although sometimes the director of photography takes on this responsibility. At the conclusion of filming, Foley artists and sound recording engineers step in to create the audio and sound effects for each action depicted in the movie, and editors cut away unneeded segments of video and weave the remaining clips into a complete film that conveys the director's story in a logical, consistent manner.

Sometimes, people who are traditionally employed outside of the film industry find work on a movie crew. These types of film career opportunities include designers, painters and sculptors for miniature work and composers who write the music or score for a film. Movies set in the past or future might require the work of specialists who design and create weaponry, futuristic modes of transportation or scientific and technical prop equipment. Animators, computer modelers and other multimedia artists also can find work in the film industry creating computer generated imagery (CGI) to enhance special effects or lend realism to animatronics.


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Post 3

@Ana1234 - I know it might seem a bit over the top, but all those unions come from the days when working on films could be deadly. They used to cut corners everywhere they could and people would end up doing lots of work they weren't qualified to do, putting everyone on set in danger.

After a few too many needless deaths, the unions began to crack down and demand that they make conditions safer. Since film production is such a huge and complicated enterprise, they have to be really pedantic about rules.

Post 2

@pleonasm - I'm not sure if most Foley artists create all their sounds from scratch these days though. I'd imagine most of them have a library of sounds to use from a database or something. I know that there are definitely types of screams that get used in a lot of films, like the "Wilhelm scream" which I think was originally recorded quite a long time ago.

The only thing I wouldn't like about working on a set is apparently it is extremely rigidly structured by unions, to the point where you can't even change a blown light bulb unless that is in your job description.

I would be terrified of doing the wrong thing and being fired. Or of being fired for no reason. It seems like you've got to know the right people and work on the right production and there isn't much job security.

Post 1

I have always thought that it would be really cool to work in films or TV without following one of the more well known careers like acting or directing. Being a Foley artist in particular would be really awesome.

I remember seeing a documentary on how they made the sound effects for the movie Dumbo when I was a kid and it basically involved banging on sheets of metal for the thunder and rustling paper for wings and things like that. It just seemed like it would have been a lot of fun as well as being quite a challenging job.

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