Film Production Assistant Job Description
Film production assistants help create short and feature-length films of all types, assisting with everything from filming to editing recorded video and audio. Production companies, media and marketing companies, and independent filmmakers hire film production assistants to work full- and part-time hours during flexible shifts that include nights and weekends. Film production assistants answer directly to the producer and director on any film project. Travel is frequently required for this job, as film production assistants help film on location and attend various marketing and movie screening events.
Film Production Assistant Duties and Responsibilities
Film production assistants perform many different daily duties depending on where they shoot films, the kinds of films being made, and the number of actors and production staff involved with the film. However, these core duties are typically associated with this job:
Film production assistants record video and audio footage as assigned by the producer or director.
Film production assistants manage and maintain equipment used in filmmaking, such as cameras, audio recording devices, and lights. This includes transporting and setting up equipment to be used in the field.
Film production assistants schedule and arrange meetings with vendors, musical recording artists, people to interview, and property owners of potential filming locations.
Review and Edit Footage
Film production assistants review completed films and videos and make edits where necessary to remove unnecessary footage.
Collaborate with Others
Film production assistants collaborate with various staff, crew, vendors, artists, and others involved in the film production process. This can range from providing general assistance to the producer to working with composers, musicians, and sound editors to add musical tracks to footage.
Film Production Assistant Skills and Qualifications
Film production assistants have an excellent eye for aesthetics, strong attention to detail, and good interpersonal skills. In addition, employers also prefer candidates with the following skills:
- Video editing experience – making edits or other changes to films requires familiarity with video editing processes and software
- Familiarity with filming equipment – because film production assistants work with camera and audio equipment, employers look for professionals who have prior experience handling these tools
- Attention to detail – film production assistants need excellent awareness and attention to detail to spot tiny problems and place little additions in every single film scene
- Physical fitness – film production assistants need the physical ability to transport heavy recording and audio equipment
- Analytical thinking – because film production assistants study recorded footage and make edits, strong analytical skills are a must-have for this job
- Interpersonal skills – film production assistants work with performers in front of the camera and collaborate with professionals behind the scenes, which both require excellent interpersonal skills
Tools of the Trade
Film production assistants work regularly with the following tools:
- Camera equipment (cameras, lenses, tripods, camera mounts)
- Audio equipment (wireless microphones, audio cables, audio recorders, boom microphones)
- Lights (camera lights, footlights, spotlights)
Film Production Assistant Education and Training
Education and training requirements for film production assistants vary by employer. Many employers look for film production assistants who have a bachelor’s degree or are working toward a degree in communication, marketing, or a related field. Some employers hire film production assistants with no experience at all, while others look for those with past work history in TV or movie production.
Training is provided to film production assistants so they can become familiar with the equipment they use and the rest of the production staff. During this paid training, film production assistants work closely with the producer. The training period varies and may last for several weeks.
Film Production Assistant Salary and Outlook
According to PayScale, film production assistants earn $14.16 in median hourly income. There were more than 100,000 jobs for producers and directors in 2016, a number the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates will rise by 12 percent through 2026. This is faster than the national average job growth rate.
Many film production assistants do not receive benefits directly from employers, though some employers may provide basic healthcare insurance. Many film production assistants join filmmaking unions that provide them with benefits and discounts on health, vision, dental, and life insurance.
Find out how to become a film production assistant, and discover various strategies and techniques for succeeding at this job, with these resources:
Motion Picture Association of America – this community of filmmakers includes many of the biggest production companies in Hollywood. Visit the site to find research materials, information about film ratings, and movie news of all types
The Production Assistant’s Pocket Handbook – this handbook was written especially for production assistants by an actual production assistant to serve as an easy-to-use pocket reference full of tips and advice
Documentary Filmmakers Association – get up-to-date news and information about documentary filmmaking at this website
Getting It Done: The Ultimate Production Assistant Guide – this book was written by a production assistant for beginners and experts in the filmmaking field. It covers daily operations on set, the paperwork involved in filmmaking, and strategies for creating films of all kinds
Filmmakers – find information about indie films, filmmaking contests, and other resources for filmmakers at all levels of their career at this website
How to Become a Production Assistant in Hollywood: Actionable Steps and Advice to Land the Job – read this book to learn how to get a job making films in Hollywood, the dream of many film production assistants
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