“What the heck is a gaffer?” An explanation of End Credits and how to kickstart your career in film with the BFI Film Academy.
You’ve finished the most recent Dr. Strange/Spiderman/Thor and you’re sat chatting with your friends/parents about what Marvel is going to do next - waiting for that cameo which sends you googling ‘who’s that?’ for the next couple of hours. Names begin to crawl up the screen and as you wait, chatting about the best moments from the last two-ish hours, you catch something from the corner of your eyes and think - what the heck is a Best Boy?
See, credits have gotten bigger. Not just in font size (though that is true in some cases) but length as productions give more and more credit to the huge amounts of people who’ve turned your fave comic book character into a screen icon. (#antmancrew4life)
However, if don’t know the difference between a Grip and a Foley, you’re likely to switch off and let the long list of names wash over you as you wait for that mid-credit sting. (Though some credits are a lot more exciting to watch than others - https://youtu.be/ftenN87QA_w).
But don’t worry, we’re here to help! To cut through the technical terms, here’s a mini-breakdown of some of the stranger titles out there and what they actually mean – so you too can point and go ‘ah I know that one, that’s a pretty important role’ and then run to the bathroom due to that extra-large Fanta you had.
Best Boy –The term often used for the second in command to the Gaffer or the Grip. What are these you say?
Gaffer – Think electrics and they’re the boss. Especially lighting, which they do, of course, under the supervision of the Cinematographer.
Grip – On the other hand, the Grip looks after all the equipment which support the cameras. Such as tracks, cranes and platforms.
Foley – This one you might have seen on TikTok. Those where someone smashes a cabbage to simulate heads being exploded. They create SFX noises which can be placed in the sound design to make it really slap! (Pun intended.)
Focus Puller – Making sure that the film image is clear, crisp and focused (unless that’s not what the Director wants!)
Stills – Where those beautiful Behind the Scenes Photos come from. Also known as the Set Photographer
Script Supervisor – In charge of continuity making sure we don’t have a repeat of any coffee cups appearing on Big Medieval TV Series…
Property Master – If the script calls for a Pink Flamingo, they’re in charge of purchasing and storing it for production.
Now, hopefully this shows actually how interesting these roles are, compared to what their titles suggest. And if this has provoked your interest or you’ve always just wanted to get into film then the BFI Film Academy: opportunities for young creatives | BFI can help! All you need to be is aged 16-19 and have a passion for film. As there are multiple programmes to choose from!
For starters, with the mass of TV and Film being made currently there are so many sustainable technical and production roles available where you can earn a sustainable income and get to work on film sets! BFI Film Academy short courses | BFI will teach you all you need to know (For free) to get started in a career in production.
Similarly, want to decide what films are getting put on at cinemas? BFI Film Academy: programming and audience development | BFI will teach you everything you need to know about programming for audiences and even give you the chance to plan your own mini-film festival.
And finally, have a short film under 3mins or always wanted to try to make your own thriller then why not submit to DIY Film Challenge - Showroom Workstation - Sheffield. Where you could be in the chance of winning £1000 and mentoring opportunities!
So, if you want to know more check out the links above or follow @BFIFilmAcademy for notifications! Plus, if you spot any good or weird credits, make sure to @showroomcinema your faves!