Who Has The Hardest Job In Filmmaking?

 

Have you ever sat through the entire film credits section after watching an amazing movie? We’re guessing not many of you have. The time has come to show some love to all the roles that play a part in providing us with the great storytelling we enjoy on-screen. And we’ll break it down for you so you don’t get too overwhelmed. Today we talk about pre-production roles.

PRODUCER

In a nutshell: The person who gets sh*t done.

Things they do:

Initiate, coordinate, supervise and manage the creation and production of a film. Oversee everything from start to finish, including pitching to securing financial backing. In charge of hiring the director, screenwriters and other crew members. Tasked with delivering the film on time and overseeing marketing and distribution of a film. Basically, do everything.

In the words of Juan Foo, producer of ‘Perth’ (2015), Singapore:

Best part of the job:
“Bringing people together to tell compelling stories and sharing that with the audience. Producing is about setting up the conditions for a creative product to be made and leading the quality towards the intended audience.”

Worst part of the job:
“Managing egos. Everyone thinks they are creative and are so enthused about the process that they become full of themselves sometimes (myself included).”

Best experience:
“When you can feel the appreciation from your partners, fellow workers and the audience that you have created something that they respond to emotionally and aesthetically.”

Worst experience:
“Getting fired off a project because of politics and shenanigans. I was naive, gullible and let myself and my team down. I think I was too young to realise filmmaking at a professional level is a business first before it is a community art form.”


DIRECTOR

In a nutshell: The artiste.

Things they do:

Control the artistic direction and bringing the script to life through guiding the technical crew and actors towards their vision. Reads over the script to make sure everything makes sense. Help actors truly understand the characters they are playing. Generally responsible for overseeing the shooting and assembly of a film.

Best part of the job:
“There are many aspects of filmmaking I like, I would have to say particularly it would be writing, casting and working with actors.”

Worst part of the job:
“As a sensitive person, working on set with so many people can be draining and deplete my confidence on set. I feel I can only truly connect with my actors on set, everyone else I have to keep at arm’s-length. This is tough for a people pleaser like myself but I have to do what I can to stay in the ‘zone’ so I can give my best.”

Best experience:
“For my 2018 short film “Areola Borealis”, I had a very close relationship with my actors. Some of them I had worked with a few times before or they were good friends, the rest I had not. The chemistry was really great and every rehearsal was richer and funnier than the last. It was lovely and it showed in the film.”

Li Lin Wee, director of ‘Gone Shopping‘ (2007), Singapore
Check out her short film ‘Areola Borealis‘ on Viddsee!

Worst experience:

“I had to make a project because you need money to live, so you accept a short pre-production scheme with premature concepts.”

– Yandy Laurens, director of ‘Keluarga Cemara‘ (2018), Indonesia
Check out his short film Friend‘ on Viddsee!


ASSISTANT DIRECTOR

In a nutshell: The whip.

Things they do: Assistant directors are involved in pre-production planning. But we’ll cover this role more in our Production Roles article. For now, this meme explains the gist of their job.


SCREENWRITER

In a nutshell: The person who writes the script.

Things they do: Every dialogue you hear in a film is written by this person. Like the producer, the screenwriter’s role is generally overlooked by the movie-going public, yet is essential to the completion of any film. If there is no script, there is no movie.


COSTUME DESIGNER

In a nutshell: The person who dresses the cast.

Things they do: Costumes convey a great deal about the film’s time period and the characters who wear them, including their economic status, occupation and attitude toward themselves. The costume designer needs to be able to bring out the characters visually.


PRODUCTION DESIGNER

In a nutshell: Head of the art department.

Things they do: Responsible for creating and managing the visual aspects of a film. Work extremely closely with directors and cinematographers to create a unified look and feel for the film. In charge of ensuring each shooting location is perfect and on point with the vision of the film. They also design the set in which a scene is shot.

In the words of Roy Lachica, production designer of Mission Unstapabol: The Don Identity (2019), Philippines:

Best part of the job:
“When the producer gives you all the resources you need. And when you have the best of the best in your team. Teamwork is also important.”
Worst part of the job:
“It’s when you do not get what you want and what you need, when your producer refuses to understand what you are asking for. When the director or producer disrespects you.”
Worst experience:
“Working with unprofessional people, people in the production who do not respect your work, your time, your efforts. People who are late!”

VIDDSEE Primer is a series where we break down the jobs of the multiple individuals that all have important roles to play in bringing these wonderful stories to (short film) life. Kicking it off is pre-production, which is where all the planning that goes into producing a short film starts, highlighting the roles of the producer, director, assistant director, screenwriter, costume designer and production designer. This part of making a short film is important to map out schedules, budgets and other top-level planning.

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