Beating the odds: Jobs in the Film Industry


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An overview of the different job profiles in the film industry.

Job profiles

Title: Assistant director

Role on set: An assistant director (AD) helps the director by organising the set. The director and director of photography will talk about the shots that they want then the AD will implement it.  ADs organise the shots and tell the crew where to go and what to do.

Where would you start? Often you’ll start as a floor runner, meaning you’ll literally be making coffees for people and getting things they need, then work your way up as a set production assistant and then  3rd, 2nd and 1st assistant director.


Title: Camera Operator

Role on set: The Camera Operator sets-up, positions and operates the camera.

Where would you start? You’ll start as a camera assistant or camera trainee, then a loader, a focus puller and eventually, if you’ve worked hard enough, you might end up becoming the director of photography.


Title: Sound Mixer

Role on set: The sound crew records all sound on set or on location. The sound crew ensure that the dialogue recorded during film shoots is suitably clear. Most film sets are challenging for the Sound Department as there are often unwanted noises to deal with, or the desired camera shots hamper the placing of microphones.

Where would you start: Production Sound Mixers, Boom Operators, and Sound Assistants; on bigger films, Sound Trainees may be employed.


Title: Gaffer

Role on set: A Gaffer is the person in charge of all the lighting and electricians. An electrician in the film industry is called a spark.  Depending on the project, 2 – 20 sparks can work for a gaffer.

Where would you start: Field Service Technicians typically start work through an electronic/electrical engineering or information technology apprenticeship.


So, fancy yourself working in the film industry?

The Film Industry Learner Mentorship (F.I.L.M) offers 40 young individuals per year a chance to gain the necessary experience under the guidance of a mentor. You’ll be working on various film productions in and around South Africa, while getting paid as you learn. However, the selection process is rather intense and only those who show real passion for the projects within the various departments will be selected. Professionalism and a good attitude is key, so be sure to know what you’re getting yourself into before jumping into the deep-end. RESEARCH RESEARCH…

Send your CV to Lulu Stone at and for more information visit: or to find out all you need to know about the film industry and the different jobs that there are.


Where to Study?

Big Fish School of Digital Filmmaking aims to train young filmmakers to make a positive impact in their worlds through storytelling. The courses are provided on a bursary or subsidiary. The training is offered in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Call Ms Connie Mosegedi (Johannesburg) on: 011 482 5599

Call Lisa Mini (Cape Town) on 021 418 1737

To apply contact:

Don’t forget to visit:


Writers: Cristle Mokwape & Jayson White

Designer: Mikhail Petersen

Photographer: Cebisa Zono