The filmmaking industry is comprised of a number of jobs and roles that assist in the creative, administrative, and technical pursuit of making films. Each of those roles can change depending on the work environment and the type of film being made. To understand a day in the life of a digital filmmaker, one must look at how jobs common to the industry change with each type of film, work environment, and project specifications like budget.
A BFA in Digital Filmmaking from Villa Maria College can help prepare you for a career in the following positions. Or, check out one of our certificate programs for short-term, hands-on courses in on-set job roles. The following overviews will provide you with descriptions of what some of those in the modern film industry can expect from their day.
Day in the life of a film director
Digital film directors are often the creative and administrative leads on a digital film set. Their duties involve overseeing the production process, which can change based on the size and type of project. For big-budget projects with large film crews, professional actors, and multiple production phases, the director may take on a heavy managerial role, delegating even the filming of various scenes to assistant directors and camera crews.
On these large projects, their schedules can be hectic, having to attend production meetings, review the previous day’s footage, and monitor the overall status of a project. This might include managing talent and ensuring crew and support staff are happy and focused.
In some cases, the director can play a creative role, and for full-length feature films, may even be a screenwriter directing their own film. This means that they will work closely with the production team from pre-filming through editing to ensure their creative vision is executed. This could mean making decisions on casting, script editing, camera positioning and the logistics of filming, and film editing. On the whole, the director leading creative efforts would ensure that the footage tells a compelling story—whether it be an advertisement, an entertainment piece, or a documentary.
Day in the life of a film writer
Great writing is at the heart of any great film. Even documentaries and advertisements require someone to outline how different story elements should come together for maximum impact.
Writers are responsible for generating elements of a film script. This includes the story, dialogue, and any action contained in the film. They will craft any characters involved and outline the transitions from one scene to the next, along with the camera shots needed.
Writers will also work collaboratively with other teams and departments to meet goals. A digital content writer who specializes in advertisements will often brainstorm the creative concept of an ad and then work with members of the creative team, like the director, to produce it. They may also work with members of business teams, like a marketing team, to ensure their creative vision matches the strategic business goals of the ad.
Writers are often engaged and observant people who immerse themselves in the subject they are writing about. In the ad example, this might be by using a product or service, doing research, or seeking out experiences related to the story they want to tell.
Day in the life of a film editor
Editors are responsible for taking each of the different components of a digital film and putting them together to create the final product. Therefore, film editing takes a wide variety of skills. Editors must know how to use the digital software and online platforms involved in processing and editing footage. They also need to have good storytelling skills and understand how the various elements of a film, many of which they apply themselves in post-production (like special effects), come together to entertain and convey meaning.
Editors must also have good communication skills and exceptional attention to detail, having to work with various production teams to generate the final product. On a given day, they may work with directors, crew members, special effects technicians, and graphics professionals. They may delegate responsibilities to team members, monitor editing budgets, and meet deadlines.
Day in the life of a film production assistant
Production assistants provide support on-set. Their days can be defined by which teams or departments they are contributing to. This can mean doing a huge variety of tasks and supporting other film crew members with theirs. These tasks can range from taking notes at meetings and organizing materials to delivering important documents.
Production assistants can work regular hours but also are asked to jump in and help other teams when needed. This could mean arriving early or staying late on set. Responsibilities can change daily, even hourly, and often require juggling different tasks. They may be asked to do more physical jobs like helping set up lighting and sound equipment or more administrative tasks like documenting on-set activities and writing emails.
Production assistants often benefit from working closely with team leaders, which can include creatives like editors and directors. During times of crisis, they can be asked to move from a support role to take the lead, deploying the knowledge and skills they acquired working in different positions on set to solve problems.