Film Making

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Top-notch Careers in Film Making

Filmmaking is the process of making a film, generally in the sense of films intended for extensive theatrical exhibition. Careers in films can be those related to the actual production of the film such as acting, directing, producing, script writing, cinematography, sound recording, visual mixing, editing and so on.

Filmmaking involves a number of discrete stages including an initial story, idea, or commission, through screenwriting, casting, shooting, sound recording and reproduction, editing, as well as screening the finished product before an audience that may result in a film release and exhibition.

Filmmaking—a blend of creativity and technicality—takes place in many places around the world in a range of economic, social, and political contexts, and using a variety of technologies and cinematic techniques. Typically, it involves a large number of people, and can take from a few months to several years to complete.

Film is probably the broadest and most varied creative opportunity in mass media. Films are an important media, not only for entertainment and information, but also for communication.

Arguably the most international medium of entertainment and information, film making has developed into a universal art form that transcends cultural differences. Film making include feature films, documentaries, news reels, Promotional films, TV commercials, music videos etc.

The craft of filmmaking is a teamwork which needs close coordination of various skilled individuals. It involves acting, directing, producing, script writing, cinematography, sound recording, visual mixing, editing and so on. A film maker like the captain of a ship has to look at all these aspects of film making.

The field of film making which is highly competitive is one that has a lot of scope for employment opportunities especially, India which releases a large number of films every year. Even for acting and directing, which are basically creative fields that require inherent talent; training helps to hone the skills.

In areas like cinematography, sound engineering and editing, professional training is essential. There are several universities institutions that offer training in these areas.

Eligibility and Course Areas

Educational Qualification: For technical courses basic eligibility is 10+2. For other courses it is graduation. There will be aptitude tests and interviews to assess the candidate's talents.

Duration of courses depends on the course one opts for and the institution chosen. There are Diploma, Post Diploma and even Certificate courses in each area of specialization. Specialization areas include production, directing, editing, cinematography, film processing, animation, acting, sound engineering, make-up, photography and so on.

Career Options in Film Making

Careers in films can be those related to the actual production of the film and those related to the film field such as a Film critic, Film archivist, Film curator, Film distributor etc.

1.   Production

Production involves too many responsibilities, sheer hard work and anxiety after the release whether the hard work put in was worth it. Usually the production team is the first to arrive on the location and the last to leave.

2.   Producer

The producer is the over-all activist in charge of a film. Producer is responsible right from raising finance up to marketing the film. S/he is also the decision making authority in all matters, plans and manages the technical and artistic resources.

It is the producer who decides the story, obtains legal permission, hires the director, actors, decides the crew and the location etc. Production Manager and Production Assistant also come in handy in assisting the producer.

The producer’s role is sometimes combined with that of directing. Post graduates in Mass Communication or diploma holders from the Film and Television Institutes can enter as professionals. But it is not a must. Essentially, interested persons should have good communication skills, patience and stamina.

3.   Production Manager

The production manager shoulders the delegated responsibility for the overall organization of the film. S/he is responsible for the technical pre-planning of productions and for coordinating the crew, cast and scenery within a prescribed budget.

4.   Director

The director is responsible for the management of all the creative aspects that go into the making of a film. These are the people who make the unreal real — who turn the pages of a script into reality on the screen.

The director is in complete charge of the studio or location floor and controls the film artistically. S/he decides the camera angle and directs the work of the cast and crew, costumes, choreography and music, conduct rehearsals etc.

5.   Assistant Director

The assistant director ensure all the timely arrangement of things that are required for the shoot. There can be one or more assistant directors, depending upon the film budget.

6.   Editor

The work of a film editor requires great skill, it is the editor who puts the film in correct sequential order. S/he views processed film and video with production personnel to analyze, evaluate and select scenes and to determine which scenes need to be improved or re-shot. In addition, they synchronize the sound track and adds special effects wherever necessary. Degree in film direction and editing or professional experience is required.

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7.   Screenplay writer

Screenplay writer rewrites the original story, on which the film is based, in a format suitable for the screen. A graduate or postgraduate degree in literature with proficiency in creative writing can become a screenplay writer.

8.   Actor

An actor should have an ability to emote well and become the character s/he represents in the film. Actors are the ones who come in direct contact with the masses and the most appreciated.

Actors need a great deal of patience and commitment because most productions require long rehearsal schedules and retakes. Acting is a highly competitive profession; thus lot of talent, mettle as well as luck are needed to make it to the top in the field. A screen presence and a good physical appearance are additional attributes to be successful in the field.

9.   Animator

Animation films are created by filming sequences of drawings or computer graphics and processing them at high speed so that they appear to be moving. Animation graphics are used in action films to stimulate real events. Animators use their drawing skills to create moving images and effects for feature films, TV commercials, and short skits.

Drawing skills are crucial for all animators, and technical and computer training are integrated into the professional training. Personally, they must be artistically inclined, imaginative, skillful and practical, able to generate new ideas and put those ideas into sketches.

One can work as an animator for Cartoons, feature-length movies, TV commercials or motion graphics, multimedia or as a game designer. Proficiency in graphic software’s or a graduate or postgraduate degree any of Fine Arts, Applied Arts, Graphic Design, Animation Design, Visual Communication Design is helpful in getting into this field. The basic qualification for training in this field is 10+2/ equivalent.

10.   Cinematographer

The cinematographer is responsible for composing each scene to be shot, decides lighting and camera angles as per director’s requirement. S/he leads the camera/lighting team and is involved in the planning and execution of a shoot from the pre-production stage. Job requires high technical knowledge and experience in the field. In big units lighting technician may work out the lighting plan for each shot.

11.   Cameraman

The cameraman handles the camera and the camera assistants collaborate with him. The Cameraman operates the camera according to the instructions of the Cinematographer. Good technical ability and knowledge of cameras and lenses is essential.

12.   Lighting Technician/Operator

Lighting is used to change the mood of a scene or to indicate practical aspects such as day or night. Lighting technician arranges all the lighting effects. They determine light needed during each shot.

13.   Soundmen

Soundmen are responsible for all sounds or effects that accompany visual images. The work includes recording, dubbing and mixing of music, dialogues and other sound effects. The Sound Mixer or Sound Engineer puts together the varius elements of the sound track and edits it to give it a final shape. Degree or diploma in Audiography or Electronics is required to take this role.

14.   Film critic

Anyone taking the role of the critic needs to be well read, have adequate knowledge and experience in their respective field. Only persons having good knowledge about the particular subject/art can authoritatively write about the subject.

S/he has to interview filmmakers and actors, covers local developments in the film business, and attend film festivals from time to time. Reading significant histories and biographies, understanding critical theory of film, and becoming familialr with the history of film arts are keys to success as a critic.

15.   Film Archivist

Archivists are involved with the collection, arrangement and provision and preservation of archives. Archives include official documents, photographs, maps, audio-visual material and any other information-bearing media that contains valuable historical information of individuals, companies, government departments and other organizations.

An archivist can be a Film Archivist, Reference Archivist, Photographic Archivist, Appraisal Archivist, Manuscript Librabrian etc. A graduate or postgraduate degree in one of more of the areas like history, art history, anthropology, archaeology, Latin, English literature, public administration, politics, law or economics or a postgraduate degree in Library and Information Studies; Museum, Gallery and Archives Management and Information Management is essential to get into this field.

Archivists need to have good communication skills, analytical and research skills, an eye for detail, problem-solving skills and organizational ability, knowledge of different databases. Moreso, archivists need to be patient, accurate, thorough and able to make good judgments about what information to keep. They should work in a well-organized and methodical manner, be able to keep information private and work well under pressure.

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    1. Adapted from the manual
      The Right Hand to Eat: 116 Career Choices By Safiya Mustafa Jariwala
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