Personnel Requirements in Film-Making Case Study

3596 words (14 pages) Essay in Film Studies

23/09/19 Film Studies Reference this

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Personnel

I decided to have a look at One Direction’s film This Is Us, which was released last year to see how many personnel were required for such a big film. Because this film was a documentary the credited cast included only One Direction themselves and their band, which consists of four members. However there were also uncredited cast including Simon Cowell, Chris Rock and Martin Scorsese. All of these people starred in the film and the credited cast were not as involved in pre production as some of the other personnel on the set.  I had a look on creative skill set to find out what an executive producer does and found that an executive producer is responsible for the overall quality control and success of the film or tv productions. Their role also entails ensuring final products conform to commissioners’ specifications. Because of the scale of One Direction This Is Us the film required six executive producers to make sure the film met its requirements and was up to the quality expected for this level of film.  Morgan Spurlock who was the director and one of the producers on set had many roles in pre, production its self and post production.  As a producer Spurlock had an overall control on every aspect of a films production.  A producer is also responsible for the brining together and approving the whole production team. However these producers had different roles within the title. For example Ted Kenney who was one of the producers on This Is Us. Ted advises clients in every aspect of the stereoscopic 3D production process.  Overall there were five producers including Spurlock but they have different roles within being a producer. Morgan Spurlocks role as a director is also a very important role. A director is responsible for creatively and originally translating the films written script into actual images and sounds on the screen.  They are responsible and are the one blamed for a films artistic and commercial success or failure.  The director also has a first assistant director whose main duties are assisting the director, coordinating all production activity and supervising the cast and crew. The first AD is also in charge of a department of other Assistant Directors and Runners. Before production begins, the first AD’S main task is to create the filming schedule, working in careful consultation with the director. Usually in big budget film, a well know big name is chosen to direct the film, just like Morgan Spurlock was chosen for This Is Us. The more well known a director is the more people will want to see the film because of him having a good past film history. It could also mean however though that whoever is funding the film will have to pay a premium for a well-known director or star.  People see a more experienced director as a better option due to their credibility and what they have learnt during their years in the film industry.  Sometimes a director may have a few film offers on the table and you’ve got to pitch and negotiate why they should direct your film.  This is us also had one associate producer, an associate producers job is usually playing a significant role in the development of the script. The associate producer is also may contribute important creative ideas to the production. Having someone who can contribute creative ideas when needed is vital for a film set that is struggling. On the This Is Us set they had different teams within the crew. For example, they had an editing team which consisted of five people who would have edited the best clips into the film and put all the clips into the correct sequence. There was a Makeup department consisting of two people. Makeup is an important department as they’re the ones who assist the cast in looking like whatever their character is. For example if it were a gothic film them the cast would need dark makeup to fit with the film. A transportation department was also made with a designated transportation coordinator. This is a necessity on a film set if your changing locations, as you need someone who can organise transport for all the cast crew and equipment.  A camera and electrical department was also made so they were sure that the best possible footage would be shot, and similarly a visual effects team was made to again make sure the shots taken were visually pleasing. An important department was the sound department, without good sound in sync with the images the film will be a flop. In the case of This Is Us most of the personnel working on the film were skilled in the area they were working in. For example the makeup artists are trained in make-up not part of the special effects team.  Because the film was such a big budget they wanted people who were professionals in specific departments, like camera work or special effects.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2515086/fullcredits/  

http://creativeskillset.org/creative_industries/film/job_roles/757_producer

http://creativeskillset.org/creative_industries/film/job_roles/758_director

http://creativeskillset.org/creative_industries/film/job_roles/3067_associate_producer_or_assistant_producer

http://creativeskillset.org/creative_industries/film/job_roles/2937_first_assistant_director_first_ad

Finance

With This Is Us costing around $8,000,000 to make, a lot of it went on pre-production. For example before the film had begun even being planned to begin filming they had to get a director. Whoever was funding the film will have negotiated with Morgan Spurlock on a price for him to direct This Is Us. The amount Spurlock was paid could be quite a considerable amount since he is a well-known director. The funding for This Is Us came through One Direction’s record label Sony. Around £8,000,000 was set aside as a budget to make the film, compared to the $68,532,898 they made from the film. Organisations are funded in many different ways, for example the BBC is funded by the licence fee.  The licence fee is used by the BBC in numerous ways. On the BBC website they have a section dedicated to the licence fee and how they spend it. For example they say on their website that £8 per month per household is spent on the BBC’s tv shows and channels, with a further £2.30 per month per household spent on their radio shows. The licence fee is an integral part of the BBC’s funding, as they do not show adverts on any of their channels, which would have, gave them more funding through advertisements.  Compared to the BBC, ITV generate a huge chunk of their budget through advertisements. Depending on the popularity of the programme ITV may show more adverts. For example on a Saturday night when Xfactor is on, ITV are more likely to show more adverts due to the big amounts businesses pay to have their adverts shown at that particular time. Without the funding of advertisements ITV would struggle to fund big shows like Xfactor and may lose the show to a rival channel like BBC or Channel 4. Some smaller production companies find funding through things like the lottery. I found a website called the BFI, which is a film fund for small film productions who are struggling with funding. Each year the BFI invest over £26m of lottery funds to support film development, production and distribution activity in the uk. And their budget is set to rise to £30m by 2017.  On their website it says you can send an application at any time for production funding to the Film Fund.  And applicants should expect an initial response from them within six to eight weeks. If I was making a low budget film, this is the type of organisation I would turn to for help funding. Higher budget films may look to hire expensive venues to film their film, or even public places may be hired and closed down to film a scene.  For example the film Sunshine On The Leith had a scene that was filmed at the Scottish National Gallery on the Mound, with normal people being drafted in to starring in the scene.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/aboutthebbc/insidethebbc/whoweare/licencefee/

http://www.itvplc.com/about

Materials

Different film genres need different costumes for their cast to make the film or tv show fit the era or plot. A fantastic example of this is Downton Abbey, set from 1912 to 1923 currently; the fashion of the characters has changed as the times have gone on. The stylists for Downton Abbey have to make sure they stick to the time period Downton is set in. They could not show Lady Mary for example in jeans and a t-shirt, as it would be very out of place and not factual. If you’re a production company looking to make an Edwardian type show or film, you can find hundreds of outfits inspired by the 1900’s to have in your production. For example I found a website called ‘Complete Costumes’ and through this company I found that they sell 135 Edwardian costumes for a reasonable price. Another example of materials you may need for a film or tv show is sounds from a sound library.  For example if you’re doing a documentary on wildlife you may need to go to a sound library to collect some sound archive for your documentary so you aren’t violating any copyright laws.  Some sounds may be free and some may not similar to Google images.  However the safest option is to go out and record your own sound, this also costs nothing.

http://complete-costumes.co.uk/costume-hire/costume_details.php/item/2137/Ladies_Edwardian_Downton_Abbey_Titanic_Gown.html

Contributors

If you’re making a documentary about space for example, you may need someone who is a professional in physics and would be able to tell you more about space. Having someone in your documentary that clearly knows what they’re talking about will also make your documentary seem more credible.  An example of a documentary with good contributors is the sky documentary ‘One Night In Istanbul’, which is about Liverpool fc’s champions league win in Istanbul in 2005.  Not only did the documentary show clips of the memorable night, they also interviewed a number of legends of the game. For example they interviewed Dietmar Hamman who played for Liverpool that night and is therefore a very credible source. Using people that were there or who are professionals about the subject you’re doing your documentary on gives people more of an insight into the subject and makes it more believable. Another example of a show using contributors is Snog, Marry, Avoid. They use the general public’s opinions before and after a makeover to see what their opinions are on the person. They use the general public so the audience watching feeling more involved in what is going on as they’re getting real people’s opinions.  Regarding pre-production and contributors, usually a researcher would shortlist people they thought were appropriate for the documentary and hand it on to the producer. The producer would then pick who they thought would be best for the particular project and contact them.

Regulation

A regulation is a rule that organisations are required to follow. For example going back to my earlier point about insurance, production companies have to have Public Liability Insurance to get permission to film in a public places. This is an example of a strict regulation in the media industry. 

Ofcom, Press Complaints Commission (PCC)

Sometimes people may be watching a programme particularly before the watershed and find something inappropriate in a programme.  If they wished to take their complaint or concerns further then they would send their complaint to Ofcom. If Ofcom got a number of similar complaints they may decide to investigate the complaints further. On Ofcoms website it says that they operate under a number of Acts of Parliament, which includes the Communications Act 2003. Ofcom set and enforce rules for the sectors they are responsible for.  Ofcom have a range of legal duties including, ensuring people who listen to the radio and watch television are protected from offensive materials.  Ofcom also protect people from being unfairly treated on television and radio programmes. However some people get confused at what Ofcom actually regulate. On their website Ofcom have a section where they tell us what they’re not responsible for regulating the price of the BBC licence fee or regulating the content of television and radio adverts. Ofcom are there to sort out problems regarding the content of a program once aired if viewers find some of the content offensive.

British Board of Film Classification (BBFC)

The BBFC is a fully independent, non-governmental body, which has classified cinema films since 1912, and they have classified DVD’s since the Video Recordings Act was passed in 1984. The BBFC was set up in 1912 by the film industry as an independent organisation to inform people of the classification of films nationally. However although the BBFC may give a rating or pass a film statutory powers on film remain with local councils, who could overrule any if the BBFC’s decisions. In 1984 the Video Recordings Act by parliament, this meant subject to certain exemptions, an organisation or authority chosen by the Secretary of State must classify video recordings that are offered for hire commercially or for sale in the UK.  The BBFC were chosen to classify these things.  As a non-profit organisation the BBFC adjust their fees only to cover its costs of classifying films. In order to stay independent the BBFC never receives subsidies form the film industry or the government.  The BBFC get their income solely from the fees is charges for their services, calculated by measuring the running time of film or DVD’s submitted to them for classification. Before making any changes to its fees the BBFC consults the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. On their BBFC’s website they list some of their missions as an organisation including, “protecting the public, and especially children, from content which might raise harm risks”. Also “recognising the respect adult freedom of choice within the law”, and finally “ provide a cost- effective, efficient classification service within our statutory remit.”

http://www.ofcom.org.uk/about/what-is-ofcom/

http://www.bbfc.co.uk/about-bbfc

http://www.bbfc.co.uk/about-bbfc/our-mission

Insurance

Insurance is used to make sure if an accident occurs on set, the production company have a place to turn for payments in case the person injured decided to sue them.

Public Liability

When shooting a film you need to consider your surroundings and the people that are around you. All productions are required to have proof of Public Liability Insurance. If they do not have this then they will not obtain permission to film or do any kind of commercial photography. Public Liability Insurance is important as it covers any legal responsibilities of the production in case anything the production team do ends in a member of the public getting injured or anything production don’t own is damaged. The Public Liability Insurance can also include for example if an employee is using their own personal car to drive people or equipment the Insurance can extend to cover this. The purpose of Public Liability Insurance is to ensure that if an accident occurs on the set of a film the company can be assured that it will be covered. Having the insurance is also important as it means that production companies can operate freely and safely on set and if an accident occurs they know that the insurance company can resolve it through i.e paying medical costs or repairing broken possessions etc. The insurance gives the production company piece of mind that their set is as safe as it can be. It is important that production companies know about public Liability Insurance, because without it they would not have the adequate safety precautions to film on a location where members of the public could be at risk. Another reason why Public Liability Insurance is so important for companies to know about is so the production company can have piece of mind that if an accident does occur that both themselves and the members for the public are protected meaning the production company can film their film without having to panic.

http://filmlondon.org.uk/legal#wage

http://www.simplybusiness.co.uk/knowledge/articles/2008/04/2008-04-29-why-public-liability-insurance-is-essential–5/

Trade Unions

A Trade Union is an organisation, which protects workers’ rights in the work place and makes sure they aren’t being unfairly treated in their work place.

Producers’ Alliance for Cinema and Television (PACT)

PACT is a trade union and supports its members with business and legal affairs advice and support, this is as well as a wide range of services and campaign work that PACT are involved in.  PACT predominantly represents freelance journalists and aim to make the best possible legislative and regulatory environment for freelance journalists to work in. PACT has a strong record of success in campaigning for freelancers right in the work place.  Pact has many ongoing campaigns for the best conditions possible for its members to operate and trade.  Pact’s policy team engages with a range of people including the government, regulators and uk broadcasters, they are engaged with them so they all are aware of the independent sector and the value it has.

National Union of Journalists (NUJ)

The NUJ was founded in 1907 and is one of the biggest journalists unions in the world. The NUJ strive to improve working conditions and pay for their members and protect and promote freedom in media, professionalism and ethical standards. On their website the NUJ describe themselves as an active union, who’s members campaign and negotiate to make sure people within the media industry are properly rewarded for the skilled work they do. The union covers a wide demographic and has members all over the uk, Ireland and Europe. 

http://www.pact.co.uk/about-us/

http://www.nuj.org.uk/about/

Trade Associations

Is an organisation in who have members involved in a specific type of business or trade, such as retail or transportation.

British Interactive Media Association (BIMA)

The BIMA have offices across England, Scotland and Wales and are a national organisation. The BIMA have four main things that they strive to do to the best of their ability, which are:

  • Support and promote the British digital industry
  • Share knowledge and best practice
  • Reward great work
  • Encourage the next generation

BIMA provides a much-needed way within the industry to keep up with developments in the fast moving sectors.  BIMA gives people access to market data and intelligence through links with government departments, professional bodies and holds regular talks and conferences on key media industry issues. This means that people within the industry who have something they’re unhappy about regarding their job can check BIMA to see what is being done to sort these issues out. BIMA also makes workers in the industry feel more involved and connected with people higher up who can sort out any issues they may have.

http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/trade-association.html

http://www.bima.co.uk/about-bima/

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