*image from the set of Film Connection grad, Taylor Giddens, owner of Kelly Productions!
The film industry has numerous bizarre sounding film crew job titles. Below is a virtual encyclopedia of all the titles that you see on a film’s credits and have likely wondered about. After reading this, you’ll also know the differences between “Art Director” in the various fields and industries and will be able to intelligently discuss the differences between a key grip and a best boy.
1) Art Director
The strangest thing about being an art director in the movie industry is that there are actually multiple types of art directors. Usually the common definition is someone who is in charge of overseeing what the general look of the film is. To work with the director to fully flesh out and create the vision. However, in low budget horror films Art Director means putting a potted plant on the desk in one shot and splattering more blood on the wall in another. While being an art director on a project like Spider-man or The Matrix means designing and building a world, sets, and costumes. They’re very very different jobs with the same title. So depending on what type of movie you’re watching the Art Director did very different things.
2) Lead Concept Designer
The Lead Concept Designer is usually someone who serves as the stylistic template for the world that the movie is living in. It’s a job that is vitally important. The Lead Concept Designer’s style and visual aesthetic is mimicked and emulated by all the other people on the design team.
3) Concept Designer
A concept designer is an artist who works to create ideas and visual representations of the people, places, and things from the script. They work to flesh out ideas and improve the visual representations of the characters. They also are tasked with working within a specific stylistic or tonal constraint to make sure that all the inhabitants of the movie look like they’re in the same world.
4) Foley Artist
A Foley Artist is someone who creates sounds like walking or tapping or chewing. It’s about as strange as it sounds. Foley Artists are tasked with embellishing the sound of a film so that it feels more realistic or heightened. They work with found objects and recording software to create perfectly timed effects that will appear unnoticeable to the average moviegoer.
A grip is someone who is employed under the camera department who is primarily responsible for building things, hauling things, or moving things. They’re usually not involved in anything other than set up, rearrangement, and tear down. They’re also usually really strong… because of the obvious job requirements.
A Gaffer is the head of the electrical department. Any time the camera is moving or the set needs power to a specific place, the Gaffer is the one who’s in charge of it all.
7) Dolly Grip
The Grip who pushes the dolly or the crane. It’s exactly like what it sounds like.
8) Key Grip
Head of the grip. The king Grip. Lord of the Grips. He’s the person in charge of the team of grips.
9) Best Boy
The person who is second in command in under either the Key Grip or Gaffer. The person who is probably the person you want to talk to. They’re the one who takes care of solving all the problems, most times.
10) Line Producer
The line producer is someone who handles logistics. Someone who’s in charge of making sure craft services is there on time and who oversees the accounting and who’s always on top of putting out fires. This is usually a non-creative position. It’s just someone who’s really on their A game and can always make ends meet.