Film Terms

As fictional as this book is, I do want to keep some things true to life. There’s only so much disbelief a reader is expected to put on hold. Frankly, I want to use that quota in other ways, not when discussing something simple like incorrect film jargon in a pre-production meeting.

Line Producer – the dude or lady who is in charge of a film’s budget. They’re basically the film’s lead accountant and they make sure all the bills are paid.

Production Designer – these men and women can actually get an Oscar for making sure the film looks great. The director tells him/her what he/she wants the film to look like and the production designer does their best to make the director’s mental picture into a reality. That’s why they get the Oscar.

Director of Photography – these guys (yeah, they’re nearly all men, Hollywood is sexist like that ;-/ ) make sure that what the director wants and the production designer makes ends up on film. They’re in charge of the cameramen, the electricians, and lighting design. That’s why they also can get an Oscar.

And, hell. . . (not that I don’t think y’all know what these are)

Director – the dude (or woman) whose vision of a script is made into a movie. I’m not going to say they’re in charge of everything (because producers are in charge of them), but they are the ones who direct all the people and working parts so that everything comes together to be filmed and make a movie.

Producer – they are the ultimate creators and protectors of the film. They make sure that the right group of people comes together – from concept to funding to script to director to actors to final edit to distribution – and works as a tightly knit unit. This is why when the Best Picture Oscar is presented, the people who talk into the microphone are generally people you’ve never heard of. They’re the ones who made creating that film possible.

Screenwriter – what I do. We write scripts on the wish and a prayer that someone not only wants to make them but that the stars are aligned enough that they actually eventually see the screen.

Here’s a really great guide for the different job descriptions for different crew members:

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