Herr Direktor, Part Five

Other valuable players for the film director:

The Script Continuity

This is a position that is usually non-existent on amateur shoots because it’s never talked about in popular depictions of filmmaking, but if you have become in any way acquainted with what a script person is, you now know they are a precious commodity and rarer still are the good ones.

This is an individual whose job is to meticulously track the film shoot, keep time, make valuable notes about the various takes, and most importantly of all, make sure that story, prop, location, lighting continuity are all expertly maintained. With films often being shot out of sequence and under chaotic production schedules, the continuity person is beyond important; they are absolutely necessary.

For the director this person is the very soul of reliability, order, structure. A living metronome by which any good production should be composed. You want a detective type, a peerless observer and strict record keeper. Many women seem to dominate this post in the industry.

The benefits to a director (and film project) are tremendous, but they are even greater for the editor at the tail end of the production, for whom those records and notations become a very valuable tool to save time and understand the footage.

The Line Producer

Sometimes confused with the main producer or merged with the 1st AD position (much to their chagrin), the line producer is the production’s nerve center. This person will often be seen on the sidelines pouring over a clipboard or tablet while muttering directions into a radio. They are strangely seen and unseen, rarely in one place for long.

The ideal candidate here is an absolute rock, a diamond even. Their job is to literally deal with problems all day long. Logistical problems, faulty equipment, missing crew, late crew, accidents, scheduling issues, and the list goes on. Nothing short of a firefighter persona is needed to execute this job efficiently. You are the unsung hero of the production.

The Ensemble

So there you have it, the rough sketch of what a “command crew” might look like on a film set. The director leads the charge, seconded by his/her 1stAD who marshals the troops, the cinematographer who leads the camera/lighting squad, the script continuity person who keeps track of everything, and the line producer who keeps the whole machine well-oiled and rolling at optimal levels.

If you, the director, manage to bring together these elements in a mature, strategic way, and lead your troops with a smart combination of know-how and planning, and if you establish trust in your department heads and crew early on, there is no reason your production should not be a success.

Don’t forget to have fun.

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