Career Choices for the Film, Video, & Theatre Student
Students who graduate with a bachelor's degree in Film, Video & Theatre are prepared for a variety of careers. We list the following types of services to illustrate the wide range of possibilities that exist. Please note that the following are not academic majors; rather, they are career paths that Film, Video & Theatre students may choose to pursue upon graduation.
Actor/Director/Producer for Film and Television
The life of an actor may look glamorous if you look at the stars of film and television, but there are many other opportunities in film, video and theater than top-billing. Actors must have talent and an understanding of the way people behave and must be able to convey this understanding through their performances. Directors interpret the scripts and pull all parts of a production together--from casting and working with the actors to set design, lighting, sound, music, and costumes. Producers are responsible for the financial success of a production. Ultimately they draw up budgets and hire the director, actors, and crew.
- Professional actors belong to the Actors Equity or the Screen Actors Guild.
- Actors must audition for parts and may go through periods of unemployment.
- Teaching or working with a repertoire theater requires more formal education but provides more steady work.
- Some actors attend drama school, but others get their training in college and community theaters.
- All entertainment jobs involve long hours of rehearsals and stress; people in this industry must be creative and dedicated to what they are doing.
Audio technicians capture, record and manipulate sound for broadcast television, film or theatre.
- There are various production and post-production careers for audio technicians.
- A sound mixer works in the film industry, recording dialogue and wild sound for editing.
- He or she picks out appropriate microphones, attaches them to the talent and monitors the quality control.
- A boom operator usually holds a shotgun microphone on a long pole, called a boom.
- In television field production, the sound mixer is usually the boom operator as well.
- For post-production, audio technicians edit the sound together, mixing dialogue, sound effects and music.
- Foley artists create sounds for sound effects for movies.
- In theatre, technicians compile, create, design and cue music to coordinate with a performance.
- Attention to detail, an ear for sound, stamina, technical knowledge, organizational skills are top priorities to becoming an audio technician.
Camera operators know how to operate various types of film and video cameras and associated equipment.
- A camera operator's job is highly technical.
- Operators should have understandings in cinematography, lighting, continuity, color and sometimes sound.
- Video operators also often have to have knowledge of satellite systems and the ability to feed raw or edited footage to a news service.
- These operators work under tight deadlines and the scrutiny of taping live events.
- Editing skills come into play as video operators work for television stations that need footage prepped before broadcast.
- For film, operators work under the Director of Photography and are sometimes the Director of Photography.
- Film operators work long hours, sometimes sixteen hours a day, up to six days a week.
- Flexibility, creativity, stamina, technical knowledge, troubleshooting and patience are key ingredients to becoming a camera operator.
An editor works closely with the Producer, Director and Director of Photography in piecing together a film or video to function.
- Late into the night hours is the typical schedule of an editor.
- Always under the pressure of a deadline, the editor works with the raw footage of a film or video shoot, piecing together shots into scenes, scenes into acts or all into a motion picture.
- Film editors typically work for months and up to a year on a single project, working long hours to complete their work.
- In television, editors have to act quickly to edit packages for news broadcast with only seconds to spare.
- Creativity, an eye for images and an ear for sound, organizational skills, stamina, technical knowledge and flexibility are qualities that make the cut for an editor.
Writers are creators. Whether a screenwriter, a playwright, or copy for the evening news, writers turn words into movies, plays and the news at eleven.
- Writing involves serious discipline and talent.
- With dedication and practice, writers can make a substantial living in the film and television industry.
- Although the value of the creative force is no less, writing for theatre does not often lead to full time employment.
- Writers for television, episodic dramas or situational comedies, work with other writers as a staff.
- Staff writers pitch ideas and formulate the television's show outline for a season. Then each writer is assigned a particular to write.
- Screenwriters of film often conceive the idea and write the screenplay which is then passed around to studios that consider purchasing the rights.
- Writers also adapt literary works for the screen or television.
- Developing networks and working from the ground floor as a production assistant can lead to a writing career with some luck.
- Hiring a working agent is often part of a writer's path.
- One overlooked aspect of writing is being a ferocious reader; knowing other writing styles is key to becoming a good writer.