Film Making Courses
Producers and directors create motion pictures, television shows, live theater, commercials, and other performing arts productions. Further, executive producers are called on to make the business and financial decisions for a motion picture, TV show, commercial, or stage production. They must raise the initial funding for the project and hire the director and crew, which may include set and costume designers, film and video editors, a musical director, and a choreographer. Producers set the budget and approve any major changes to the project, ensuring that the production is completed on time, and only slightly over budget.
Directors, on the other hand, are responsible for the creative decisions of a production. They select cast members, conduct rehearsals, and direct the work of the cast and crew. During rehearsals, they work with the actors to help them portray their characters more accurately. For nonfiction video, such as documentaries or live broadcasts, directors choose topics or subjects to film. They investigate the topic and may interview relevant participants or experts on camera. Directors also work with cinematographers and other crew members to ensure that the final product matches the overall vision.
Large productions often have various producers who share overlapping responsibilities. For example, on a large movie set, an executive producer is in charge of the entire production, while a line producer runs the day-to-day operations. A TV show may employ several assistant producers as well, to whom the head or executive producer assigns certain duties, such as supervising the costume and makeup teams.
Although directors are in charge of the creative aspects of a show, they ultimately answer to producers. Some directors also share producing duties for their own films. Producers and directors work under a lot of pressure, and many are under constant stress to finish their work on time. Work assignments may be short, ranging from one day to a few months. They may travel with a touring show across the country, while those in film and television may work on set. Large productions may employ several assistant directors in order to help the director with smaller production tasks such as making set changes or notifying the performers when it is their time to go onstage.
Camera Operation and Film Editing
Camera operators capture a wide range of material for TV shows, motion pictures, music videos, documentaries, or news and sporting events, whereas video and film editors take footage shot by camera operators and organize it into a final product. Many camera operators have one or more assistants working under their supervision. The assistants set up the camera equipment and may be responsible for its storage and care. They also help the operator determine the best shooting angle and make sure that the camera stays in focus. Likewise, editors often have one or more assistants. The assistants support the editor by keeping track of each shot in a database or loading digital video into an editing bay. Assistants also may do some of the editing tasks.
Studio camera operators work in a broadcast studio and videotape their subjects from a fixed position. There may be one or several cameras in use at a time. Operators normally follow directions that give the order of the shots. They often have time to practice camera movements before shooting begins. If they are shooting a live event, they must be able to make adjustments at a moment's notice and follow the instructions of the show's director. The use of robotic cameras is common among studio camera operators, and one operator may control several cameras at once.
Most film makers prefer using digital cameras because these smaller, more inexpensive instruments give them more flexibility in shooting angles. Digital cameras also have changed the job of camera assistants. Instead of loading film or choosing lenses, they download digital images or choose a type of software program to use with the camera. In addition, drone cameras give operators an opportunity to film in the air, or in places that are hard to reach. Nearly all editing work is done on a computer, and editors often are trained in a specific type of editing software.
Cinematographers may use stationary cameras that shoot whatever passes in front of them, or they may use a camera mounted on a track and move around the action. Some cinematographers sit on cranes to film an action scene; others carry the camera on their shoulder while they move around the action. Further, film makers may specialize in filming cartoons, animation or special effects (CGI). By comparison, videographers film or videotape private ceremonies or special events, such as weddings. They also may work with companies and make corporate documentaries on a variety of topics. Some videographers post their work on video-sharing websites for prospective clients. Many videographers run their own business or do freelance work. They may submit bids, write contracts, and get permission to shoot on locations that may not be open to the public.
If you choose a film studies major, taking screen acting classes for example, you may attract competitive starting salary offers, as well as find many organizations recruiting on-campus that demand a high level of creative expression and performance skills. Check with the registrar's office for an updated schedule of method acting courses, registration deadlines, and a list of film program requirements.
Becoming a professional film actor is a very selective process. Improvisation allows actors true expressive freedom, since they don't know how the situation is going to turn out. In professional performances, improv is also used to cover up momentary lapses, so the audience isn't startled. The actor's performance is marked by particular performance signs including facial expression, emotional signals, and use of thematic vocabulary.
Classical acting is an umbrella term that integrates the expression of the body, voice, imagination, improvisation and script analysis. Method acting, by comparison, is a range of techniques for training actors to achieve better personification of the characters they play. A major part of training to be a screen actor is memorizing lines and therefore being able to work without a script. Other classes may include mask work, improvisation, and modeling for the camera.
Drama Programs & Theater Performances
Not all people working as actors in film, television, or theater are professionally trained. For example, Bob Hoskins didn't have any formal training before taking up screen acting. Universities may offer drama programs derived from the system of Constantine Stanislavski, which was popularized in America by Lee Strasberg and Stella Adler. Regardless of a school's approach, theater students should study human emotions, character interpretation, singing and modern dance.
While most theatre companies rehearse only one new piece of theatre at a time, and then perform that piece for a set run, repertory companies often rehearse multiple shows at once. Repertory theatre involves a group of accomplished actors, and relies more on the reputation of the group, rather than on an individual star performer. Further, actors who have worked together in several productions can respond to each other's nonverbal cues without relying as much on external direction or adherence to theatrical conventions.
What education is required in the film industry?
Producers and directors usually have a bachelor's degree and several years of work experience in motion picture studios, television, or theater production. Many students pursue film programs at specialized colleges, learning about film history, editing, screenwriting, cinematography, and the filmmaking process. As of 2017, the National Association of Schools of Theatre provided accreditation to more than 180 postsecondary institutions for their programs in theater arts.
Producers and directors may also have bachelors degrees in either journalism or communications. Stage directors, by comparison, may complete a degree in theater and go on to earn a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree. Classes in this major include directing, playwriting, set design, and acting. Producers and directors might start out working in theatrical management offices as business or company managers. In television or film, they might start out as assistants or in other low-profile studio jobs. As a producer's or director's reputation grows, he or she may work on larger, more expensive projects that attract more attention or publicity.
Most film editors and camera operators require a bachelor's degree in a field related to film or television broadcasting, such as communications. Coursework involves a mix of film theory with practical training. Film and video editors and camera operators must have an understanding of digital cameras and editing software because both are now used on film sets. Camera operators need to be able to move about the action while holding a camera steady. In addition, camera operators need to shoulder heavy equipment for long periods, particularly when they are filming on location.
Film and video editors and camera operators should be able to imagine what the result of their filming or editing will look like to an audience. Moreover, editors examine every segment of film individually in post-production, and decide what should be cut in order to maintain the best content. Editors may demonstrate competence in various types of editing software by earning certification, which is generally offered by software vendors. Experienced film and video editors and camera operators with creativity and leadership skills can advance to overseeing their own projects.
Producers and directors held about 134,700 jobs in 2017. The median annual wage for producers and directors was $70,950 in May 2017. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $32,940, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $189,870. Some producers and directors earn a percentage of ticket sales. A few of the most successful producers and directors have extraordinarily high earnings, but most do not. Work hours for producers and directors can be long and irregular. Evening, weekend, and holiday work is common. About 1 out of 3 worked more than 40 hours per week in 2017. Many producers and directors do not work a standard workweek, because their schedules may change with each assignment or project.
Employment of producers and directors is projected to grow 12 percent from 2017 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. Some job growth in the motion picture and video industry is expected to stem from strong demand from the public for movies and television shows, as well as an increased demand from foreign audiences for Hollywood films.
Consumer demand for reality shows on television is likely to increase, so more producers and directors will be needed to create and oversee editing of these programs. In addition, the volume of TV shows is expected to grow as the number of Internet-only platforms, such as streaming services, increases along with the number of shows produced for these platforms. This growth should lead to more work opportunities for producers and directors.
Film and video editors held about 34,200 jobs in 2017, while camera operators, television, video, and motion picture held about 25,100 jobs. The median annual wage for film and video editors was $62,760 in May 2017. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $27,640, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $162,260. Camera operators, meanwhile, averaged $55,080, with the lowest 10 percent earning less than $26,940, and the highest 10 percent earning more than $109,200. Work hours vary with the type of operator or editor, although most work full time. Those who work in broadcasting may put in long hours to meet a deadline, and those who work in the motion picture industry may have long, irregular hours while filming.
Employment of film and video editors is projected to grow 16 percent from 2017 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Employment of camera operators is projected to grow 7% over the next decade The number of Internet-only platforms, such as streaming services, is likely to increase, along with the number of shows produced for these platforms. In broadcasting, there is a diversity of needs to fill, such as editors who determine the best angles for a shoot, the use of robotic cameras, and the increasing use of special effects.