Glossary of Industry Job Positions
Film and television projects require several crew members and vendors with different specialties to complete a production. Crew organization is very hierarchical. View the "Chain of Command
" for a visual list of positions in order of their rank.
ABOVE-THE-LINE and BELOW-THE-LINE
“Above-the-line” (ATL) is an industry term derived from where the money is budgeted for Writers, Directors, Producers and Principal Talent. This term refers to job positions that are associated with the creative and/or financial control of a film or multimedia project, not the technical aspects. “Below-the-line” (BTL) is an industry term associated with the “fixed” costs. Examples include studio fees, equipment rental, travel costs and crew rates. Therefore, BTL crew refers to the technical crew hired for the length of the production, often paid hourly or weekly for that time period. These individuals do not have primary creative or financial control of the project, nor do they receive residuals.
BTL Department Hierarchy:
Starting at the top, the Director hires the Production Designer and the Director of Photography (DP) while the Producer hires the Line Producer and/or Unit Production Manger (UPM). The Production Designer, DP and the Line Producer/UPM then go about hiring their Department Heads, Supervisors and Keys. The Key is considered the top-ranked technical, BTL position in a department. In some departments, the Key is referred to as a Coordinator; in locations, it is the Manager and in camera, it is the Operator. The Key hires the “Best Boy” (or a Foreman) who is second-in-command, acts as an operations manager and hires the rest of the crew in their department. There is only one person hired in the Key and Best position in each department in a regional location (such a New Mexico). Next in line are Gang-bosses, then third positions and fourths (also known as “Utility”). Lastly are the entry-level positions of Clerks and Production Assistants.
Choose a position in the drop down below.