Teamwork plays an essential role in film and television production, and often the quality of the film or television program being produced relies on the ability of the production team to work together. This industry requires teamwork because there are numerous different roles and tasks that people must fulfill, all of whom are working toward the central goal of making as successful a film or show as possible. The specific roles in film and television include the business side, the creative side, and the technical side, so each of these areas function as smaller teams that all must work together as part of the larger team.
Most creative productions will begin with the writer. Sometimes this will be an independent writer who drafts the plot from scratch, or other times, such as with a television show, there will be a team of writers (DeVany 47). The function of this role is to write the narrative, usually in screenplay format. Occasionally there are both writers and screenwriters, with the writers designing the plot and characters, and the screenwriters taking these elements and putting them into script form. In many Hollywood productions, writing a screenplay is the very first step in making a film. Once the screenplay is written, the process of team building really begins.
After finishing a script, a writer will show his or her work to a film production company, or television studio if they are pitching a show. This is either done directly if the opportunity presents itself, or through an agent. From here, the producer becomes involved. The producer is generally considered the most important business decision in film and television production, as the producer supplies the funding. The producer then has control over the direction of the project, with various amounts of input. For an independent film, the producer may simply fund the project and allow other team members, such as the director, make all creative decisions related to the project. However, the more funding that goes into the project, the more layers of production there are. This generally means that the higher-budget the project, the more team members will be involved in the overall project, both on a creative level and on a business level. For a major film project like the new Star Wars films, the production might include multiple high-ranking executives who have input on key decisions such as casting and creative style (McDonald and Wasko 48). In film and television production, most team conflicts occur between the business and creative sides of making a film or show, so this is one area where team tensions might arise (Robins 103).
Once funding is set, the process of involving the creative side comes into play. This begins with identifying the director, who is the main creative force in a film or show. The director not only has a central vision of how the screenplay will translate to the screen, but also must direct the actors, the cinematographer, and other roles that contribute to making the film or show possible. The director is often the one who helps with casting the various actors and actresses who will play roles. The director’s role is therefore to assemble the creative side of the team, and making sure the creative team works well with one another while also making the director’s vision come to life.
The actors who play different roles are perhaps the most visible part of a film or television production team, because they are the ones who appear on camera. Their role is absolutely essential, but there are also other numerous creative roles that function behind the scenes. This includes the film or show’s composer, the cinematographers and other camerapersons, the special effects crew, the costume designers, and the makeup artists. Depending on how heavily the film or show requires computer and special effects work, these units can be large. Each individual contributes something a little different towards the completion of the film, whether the film is a small independent film, or a major Hollywood production. The only difference is the size and funding of the project, but the same concept of various teams working together still applies.
Once the creative part of the film is done, the business side is usually responsible for marketing and distribution. This means the business side will design marketing materials, purchase airtime for commercials, or schedule interviews for the actors on various other shows. This is known as the public relations aspect of the project, and even this is necessary in film and television production, as the goal is to get as many people curious or interested in the project as possible (Ravid 490). Then once the film is completed and released, the team usually disbands, although in television shows the team remains together for the duration of the show.
Teamwork is therefore essential in film and television production, as all elements, however small, are necessary. The business side takes care of funding and marketing the project, while the creative team is responsible for making the project come to life. Depending on the amount of special effects and camera work requirements, there will be large teams of technical persons working together as well. Thus, the industry can best be described as being composed of smaller teams, all of whom must work together to form a larger team. Team cohesion is based on the unifying vision each individual has for the project overall, with the success of the project often being determined by how well the team was able to work together.
- De Vany, Arthur. Hollywood economics: How extreme uncertainty shapes the film industry. Routledge, 2014.
- McDonald, Paul, and Janet Wasko. The contemporary Hollywood film industry. Wiley-Blackwell, 2008.
- Ravid, S. Abraham. “Information, blockbusters, and stars: A study of the film industry.” The Journal of Business 72.4 (2009): 463-492.
- Robins, James A. “Organization as strategy: Restructuring production in the film industry.” Strategic Management Journal14.S1 (2008): 103-118.