10 Non-Acting Careers You Can Choose in the Film Industry

Cinema is a highly collaborative art-form. It demands hundreds of people to come together to work towards a common goal. But in popular culture, actors have been the only members of the film industry to be celebrated largely due to their immediate recognisability. But a lot of the magic of the movies is created by people who toil behind the screen to mesmerize viewers into believing in the highly imaginative world of the movies. If you are planning on making a career in films but don’t want to be on screen, here are 10 non-acting career paths you can choose in movies:


1. Producer

A producer is the person who is ever present throughout the entire life of the film from conception to distribution. They are responsible to bring together the movie in the conceptualization phase when the script is seen and sometimes revised, then directors and crew members are hired. They also play a huge role in casting the right actors for the right parts working alongside the casting director. They may be assisted by co-producers, executive producers and associate producers. It is the executive producer’s responsibility to secure funding for the film and help draft the budget for the film. The associate producer and co-producer do the majority of the physical work and overlook certain aspects like location scouting and rehearsals. To become a producer, you must be highly organized, decisive and convincing. You have to make sure that the entire cast and crew works together like a well-oiled machine. And while the job-description may be daunting, to say the least, it has a huge payoff.


2. Director

Probably the most celebrated members of the film industry, after the actors of course, are the directors. They are the voice of the film. It is the director who chooses what the viewers see and what they don’t. A director has the incredibly difficult job to bring the words on paper into life but when done right, they can turn fairly antiquated concepts into fresh stories through their own perspective. While the writer may be the source of the idea, the director is the actual storyteller which is why some directors can keep you engrossed or relaxed or thrilled or blow your minds like no story on a piece of paper can. It is said that there are mainly two types of directors; the auteur-director and the people’s directors. The auteur is a headstrong visionary who has a strong image in his head which he replicates in film while the people’s director is a lovable guy who sees the strengths of the people involved and allows them to inculcate their own touches to the final product. To be a director, you must have the ability to do either one of them well and then modulate according to the situation. The biggest factor though is that you should have a unique voice and vision. That is what has made Tarantino, Woody Allen and Scorsese great directors.


3. Writer

Every tree that grows comes from a small seed. In the vastness of a movie production, that seed is the writer. The writer brings an idea that will end up becoming the film. The skills it takes to be a writer for movies are very different from those for a novelist. Film writers need to communicate ideas in a way that will help the reader interpret exactly what he means. The format for writing a script is also very different but the aim of any story writer is the same; to affect the end-consumer. Writers are criminally overshadowed by actors but some great writers do rise above the pack. An example would be Aaron Sorkin whose distinct writing style makes him stand out. The writer does the most important job of all; he conceptualizes the story. Without a good, effective story the best acting performances and the best visual style of a director cannot stand. You must be a very focused individual with a penchant to generate and follow-through with great and original ideas. An original story in the current cluster of adaptations, remakes and connected film mini-verses can transcend the medium and give the audiences the freshness they want.


4. Cinematographer/ Director of Photography

A DP is the man behind what you visually see on screen. It is his job to translate the director’s idea into a visually and aesthetically pleasing picture. A lot of times, DP’s add an extra layer of dimension to the film in a very visible way. For example, they may shoot the actor in a close-up to exaggerate the world-closing-in-on-them and shoot wide to amplify a sense of freedom. They also work with the director to choreograph motion and blocking in a scene to bring about the best result. Acclaimed DPs like Emmanual Lubezki, Robert Yeoman and Roger Deakins can add a lot of depth and character to the movie in a very distinctive way. Because their job is so closely related to the director’s you will find frequently collaborating duos like Wes Anderson- Robert Yeoman and Inarritu-Lubezki. It takes a vast technical know-how to become a cinematographer. You must become so well versed with the techniques like the basic one mentioned above, that you can decipher every scene in the film and make decisions almost instinctively. The best way to learn cinematography is by watching a lot of movies with great cinematographers.


5. Editor

While the cinematographer may shoot the film, the final product is brought together by the editor on the editing table. A quick reminder of the fact that movies are shot completely out of order and you may start with the last scene of the movie and go back and forth like crazy to shoot the entire film. This is done for a number of reasons, largely due to scheduling of locations or actors or simply because shooting all the scenes taking place in a particular location or set at a single time is more economical. So, when all the footage reaches the editor it is just a bunch of clips with only clapboards to guide him. An editor working with the director chooses which takes to put in the film and how the story is told. The post-processing starts with the editor as he puts together what will become the final film. The editor also makes sure that the transitions are smooth from shot to shot and paces the film according to the director’s brief. To be an editor, you must learn the technicality of the highly complex editing softwares that are used on big budget films. You must be very well-versed with all the different types of cuts and transitions that are used. Most of all, you need to practice. A lot!

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