Careers in Film Making

Film is probably the broadest and most varied creative opportunity in mass media. Films, a blend of creativity and technicality are an important media, not only for entertainment and information, but also for communication. Films, the most international medium, has developed into a universal art form that transcends cultural differences. Film making include feature films, documentaries, newsreels, Promotional films, TV commercials, music Videos etc.

The craft of filmmaking is a teamwork which needs close coordination of various skilled individuals. It involves acting, directing, producing, script writing, cinematography, sound recording, visual mixing, editing and so on. A film maker like the captain of a ship has to look at all these aspects of film making. He has to start at the very bottom and work his way up. i.e. beginning with raising capital for the film to its distribution, screening as well as all the stages of its crafting.

The field of film making which is highly competitive is one that has a lot of scope for employment opportunities especially, India which releases a large number of films every year. If one has artistic and technical skills and at the same time ability to express ideas, this is the right field for you. Even for acting and directing, which are basically creative fields that require inherent talent, training helps to hone the skills. In areas like cinematography, sound engineering and editing, professional training is essential. There are several universities institutions that offer training in these areas. The pioneering institute in this line is the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune.

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Educational Qualification: For technical courses basic eligibility is 10+2. For other courses it is graduation. There will be aptitude tests and interviews to assess the candidates talents. Duration of courses depends on the course one opts for and the institution chosen. There are Diploma, Post Diploma and even Certificate courses in each area of specialisation. Specialisation areas include production, direction, editing, cinematography, film processing, animation, acting, sound engineering, make up, photography and so on.

Personal Attributes: Artistic flair, ability to work cooperatively, sense of responsibility, ability to work under pressure, great physical stamina, strong visual sense, good communication skills and for production and direction; leadership qualities, ability to bring out talent in others, creative instincts as well as managerial and administrative abilities are essential.

Job Prospects

Candidates can find employment with Film Studios, Production Companies, Advertising Agencies, Government Department, which make films or start their own venture as producer, director, editors, cameramen, soundmen, lighting crews, assistants and so on.

Career Options

Careers in films can be those related to the actual production of the film and those related to the film field such as a Film critic, Film archivist, Film curator, Film distributor etc.


Production: Production involves too many responsibilities, sheer hardwork and anxiety after the release whether the hard work put in was worth it. Usually the production team is the first to arrive on the sets and the last to leave.

Producer: He is the over-all in charge of a film. Producer is responsible right from raising finance up to marketing the film. He is the decision making authority in all matters, plans and manages the technical and artistic resources. It is he who decides the story, obtain legal permission, hires the director, actors, decides the crew and the location etc. Production Manager and Production Assistants help the Producer in his job. The producer's role is sometimes combined with that of directing.

Post graduates in Mass Communication or diploma holders from the Film and Television Institutes can enter as professionals. But it is not a must. Personally he should have good communication skills, patience and stamina. He should also have a through knowledge and experience in the film industry and entrepreneurial ability to succeed.

Production Manager: The production manager shoulders the delegated responsibility for the overall organisation of the film. He is responsible for the technical pre-planning of productions and for coordinating the crew, cast and scenery within a prescribed budget.

Production Assistant: He acts as the coordinator while the producer or director is doing his artistic thing. It is the production assistant who actually make everything happen as planned. He handles all the administrative work, such as booking hotels and flights for the crew, arranging shooting schedules etc. and he is also responsible for keeping records of film sequences, scripts, call sheets and daily reports.


Director: He is responsible for the management of all the creative aspects that go into the making of a film. These are the people who make the unreal real--who turn the pages of a script into reality on the screen. The director is in complete charge of the studio or location floor and controls the film artistically. He decides the camera angle and directs the work of the cast and crew, costumes, choreography and music, conduct rehearsals etc.

Assistant director: They ensure all the timely arrangement of things that are required for the shoot. There can be one or more assistant directors, depending upon the film budget.

Editing, Acting & Animation

Editor: The work of an editor requires great skill, it is he who puts the film in correct sequential order. He views processed film and video with production personnel to analyse, evaluate and select scenes and to determine which scenes need to be improved or re-shot. He synchronizes the sound track and adds special effects wherever necessary. Degree in film direction and editing or professional experience is required.

Screenplay writer: Screen play writer rewrites the original story, on which the film is based, in a format suitable for the screen. A graduate or postgraduate degree in literature with proficiency in creative writing can become a screen play writer.

Actor: An actor should have an ability to emote well and become the character he represents in the film. They are the ones who come in direct contact with the masses and the most appreciated. Actors need a great deal of patience and commitment because most productions require long rehearsal schedules and retakes. Acting is a highly competitive profession and lot of talent, mettle as well as luck is needed to make it to the top and create a place for themselves in the field. A screen presence and a good physical appearance are additional attributes to be successful in the field. Even though formal training is not a necessity, a graduate/post graduate degree in acting will help to sharpen skills and give exposure.

Animator: Animation films are created by filming sequences of drawings or computer graphics and processing them at high speed so that they appear to be moving. Animation graphics are used in action films to stimulate real events.
Animators use their drawing skills to create moving images and effects for feature films, TV commercials, and short features. Drawing skills are crucial for all animators, and technical and computer training are integrated into the professional training. Personally, they must be artistically inclined, imaginative, skilful and practical, able to generate new ideas and put those ideas into sketches. One can work as an animator for Cartoons, feature-length movies, TV commer cials or motion graphics, multimedia or as a game designer. Proficiency in graphic software's or a graduate or postgraduate degree in Fine arts, Applies Arts, Graphic Design, Animation Design, Visual Communication Design etc is helpful in getting into this field. The basic qualification for training in this field is 10+2/ equivalent.

Light and Sound

Cinematographer: He is responsible for composing each scene to be shot, decides lighting and camera angles as per directors requirement. He leads the camera/lighting team and is involved in the planning and execution of a shoot from the pre-production stage. Job requires high technical knowledge and experience in the field. In big units lighting technician may work out the lighting plan for each shot.

Cameraman: The cameraman handles the camera and the camera assistants collaborate with him. The Cameraman operates the camera according to the instructions of the Cinematographer. Good technical ability and knowledge of cameras and lenses is essential.

Lighting Technician/Operator: Lighting is used to change the mood of a scene or to indicate practical aspects such as day or night. Lighting technician arranges all the lighting effects. They determine light needed during each shot.

Soundmen: Responsible for all sounds or effects that accompany visual images (Sound Mixing). The work includes recording, dubbing and mixing of music, dialogues and other sound effects. The Sound Mixer or Sound Engineer puts together the various elements of the sound track and edits it to give it a final shape. The Sound Recordist works under the Sound Mixer and ensures proper recording. Degree or diploma in Audiography or Electronics is required. For admission to these courses a Science background at plus two level is preferred.

Film Related Careers

Film critic: A critic needs to be well read, have adequate knowledge and experience in his respective field. Only persons having good knowledge about the particular subject/art can authoritatively write about the subject. He has to interview filmmakers and actors, covers local developments in the film business, and attend film festivals from time to time. Reading significant histories and biographies, understanding critical theory of film, and becoming familiar with the history of film arts are keys to success as a critic.

Film Archivist: Archivists are involved with the collection, arrangement and provision and preservation of archives. Archives include official documents, photographs, maps, audio-visual material and any other information-bearing media that contains valuable historical information of individuals, companies, government departments and other organisations. An archivist can be a Film Archivist, Reference Archivist, Photographic Archivist, Appraisal Archivist, Manuscript Librarian etc. A graduate or postgraduate degree in one of more of the areas like history, art history, anthropology, archaeology, Latin, English literature, public administration, politics, law or economics or a postgraduate degree in Library and Information Studies; Museum, Gallery and Archives Management and Information Management is essential to get into this field. Archivists need to have good communication skills, analytical and research skills, an eye for detail, problem-solving skills and organisational ability, Knowledge of different databases and , Archivists need to be patient, accurate, thorough and able to make good judgements about what information to keep. They should work in a well organised and methodical manner, be able to keep information private and work well under pressure.


Earnings of workers in the motion picture production and distribution industry vary, depending on education and experience, type of work, union affiliation, and duration of employment. Salaries for directors vary widely. Producers seldom get a set salary; instead, they get a percentage of a show's earnings or ticket sales.