“Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and at last, you create what you will” – George Bernard Shaw

Creative Minds of Film ProductionWhether the film production is for T.V or feature film, the creativity of the team is essential in a realizing the potential to capture the audience’s attention. For the purposes of this article, these “creative minds” include everyone from the set designers and make-up artists to the special effects artists and stunt crew. Each department and team’s unique contributions will be discussed individually.

Set Designers

Depending on the type and needs of the production, set designers, builders, and decorators may have already been hired to start work on the production early in preproduction. The set design team consists of several smaller departments: Art Department, Sets Department, Props Department, Greens Department, and Construction Department.

Art Department

The Art Department is primarily responsible for designing the entire film and set’s physical appearance. The Production Manager works closely with the head of the Art Department to discuss budget; however, the budget is normally large for this department, since purchasing set dressing, props, greens, as well as wardrobe and makeup are all done through this department. The Art Department consists of the Production Designer, Art Department Coordinator, Art Director, and the Assistant Art Director.

Construction Department

The people working in the Construction Department do exactly what the name suggests: build the set. This department is made up of the Construction Manager, Construction Coordinator, Scenic Painters, Carpenters, and Laborers. Typically, the Construction Manager is hired on the advice of the Production Manager and the CM brings his entire team with him to the set.

Greens Department

If the location of the set is outdoors, for instance in a forest, the Greens Department is likely needed. Often, the natural scenic look of a forest is missing some key elements for filming–not enough trees or shrubbery, for example. The Greens Department will be needed to change the appearance of the set, making a forest appear thicker than it is naturally. If the set is built in a studio, the same can be said – adding gardens to studio sets to give it the appearance the Producer has envisioned based on the direction given by the Production Designer.

Sets Department

The Sets Department is responsible for buying and renting set furnishings such as lamps and furniture to furnish a house set. The Set Director is hired on the advice of the Production Designer.

Props Department

Props are any materials written into the script for the Performers to use. These could include guns, cigarettes, and breakable chairs. The Production Manager will work closely with the Production Designer to discuss budgeting issues, while the Production Coordinator will handle things like cell phones and/or airtime packages for this department, custom clearances, and couriers.

The Wardrobe, Hair, and Make-up Departments

The Wardrobe, hair, and makeup departments are responsible for dressing and applying makeup to the Performers to transform them into the film characters. These departments are just as important as the set designers, because if the makeup and hair is done correctly, it can help captivate the audience. These two departments combined help to bring the film, and the characters’ experiences, to life for the viewers.

The Wardrobe Department is responsible for not only dressing the Performers, but also shopping for and making the wardrobe, as well as doing wardrobe laundry and recording wardrobe choices for particular scenes through photography.

The Hair and Makeup department can be used to apply basic makeup for T.V. or film purposes, but are also responsible for making wounds look real and making cuts bleed.

Special Departments

Depending on the size and budget of the production, some, all, or none of the following special department may be a part of the creative team.  Special departments help to create the thrill and magic of the film.

Special Effects Department

The Special Effects Department, sometimes called the Physical Effects Department, is responsible for bringing action to the set in the form of fires and explosions, as well as creating environmental effects like rain and snow. The Special Effects team works closely with the Art and Locations Departments early on. Safety is always the number one priority of this department.

Visual Effects and Animation

The Visual Effects and Animation Department, also known as Computer Graphics Imagery (CGI), is similar to the Special Effects Department in that they are responsible for visual effects. However, these effects are computer generated instead of physical. This team works closely with the Art Department. Production Managers and Production Coordinators should also maintain communication with this department to ensure the cost of effects stay within budget  the department should also be kept updated on meetings and script changes.

Stunts Department

The Stunts Department consists of a set of Performers specializing in performing Stunts. Examples of stunts could include walking through fire or jumping off a rooftop while landing safely and unharmed. For the Production Manager, the safety of the stunt double should always be top priority.

Previs Team

The Previs Team (or Storyboard Artist during preproduction) tests and refines the Director’s vision of the script. They help with planning shots and sequences of shooting. On more difficult productions, they may also remain on set to help make last minute changes to the script to maintain the Director’s vision. This team can provide a preview of the production plan.

Second Unit

The Second Unit can also be known as any of the following: the Action Unit, Stunt Unit, Animal Unit, or Special Effects Unit. Regardless of what unit they are for the production, they do not require the presence of the lead cast or any heavy dialogue scenes, making this department slightly less expensive for the Main Unit. The Second Unit team starts after the Main Unit, and typically finishes a few days after wrap, capturing any last minute pick-up shots the Main Unit needed. The Main Unit Director directs the Second Unit team to ensure each shot will match the style of the entire picture. The Second Unit team also works closely with the Editor for the same reason.