This is a re-post of an informative link I was sent about the Actual/Craigslist meaning of crew positions. It was obviously written with a specific bent, but that doesn't make it any less accurate. Thanks to my friend, Jeff, for sending it to me. For all of you looking for a way in, and are using Craigslist, this is a pretty good primer, and relatively humorous.
This is a dictionary to help with understanding titles, requirements, and descriptions posted in the Craigslist Crew Gigs section. This may also be useful to other job boards. If anything is missing from this compilation, or needs amendment, feel free to let the creators know.
Actual Meaning: Top name, high Q-Score talent.
Meaning on Craigslist: Formerly A-list decades ago, until they developed that nasty habit, and they fell from glory, and the headlines.
Implied Position & Responsibilities: Create schedules, keep crew and director on schedule for the day, contacting late crew members, sending out tomorrow’s schedule.
Actual Low Budget Requirements/Expectations: Assist the director by getting coffee, dry cleaning, picking up food for the rest of the crew.
Award Winning –
Implied Meaning: Prestigious award or recognition for accomplishments.
Actual Meaning: 1) I submitted my film to a festival, and it wasn’t rejected. Not only that, but I got an award, such as Least Despised, Best use of Helvetica Typeface in a Title, or some other nonsensical-feel-good award.
Often seen with: Great Experience, Unfortunately, Deferred
Boom Operator –
Implied Position & Responsibilities: Holds boom pole steadily out of frame, consults with sound mixer on best microphone selection, covers for mixer if familiar with the equipment and job responsibilities.
Actual Low Budget Requirements/Expectations: 1) See Sound Mixer.
2) See PA/Production Assistant
Implied meaning: A team that prepares hot meals specifically for the crew every 6 hours.
Actual Low Budget meaning: We went out and got you pizza.
Continuity Supervisor –
See Script Supervisor
Implied Meaning: You will receive a copy of the completed work, proper credit in the film that will appear in festivals and get you more work as a result, and be fed on set.
Actual Meaning: If we ever finish this, you will receive a copy of the film, but unlikely, because of the associated costs of making duplicates. Your name may be put in the credits, if we remember you when we actually finish this thing, probably mis-spelled. You may never actually see them though. You will be fed food. It will probably be pizza or Taco Bell, because it is cheap. You will eat it every day, and it will not change.
Often used with: Great Experience, Unfortunately, Festival, award winning
Craft Service –
Implied Position & Responsibilities: a person or crew whose sole job is taking care of the people engaging in crafts (the film makers) by having finger foods, snacks, and other on set relief’s (such as sunscreen, gum, water, etc) available at a table, as well as sometimes bringing them on set to people that can not leave set.
Actual Low Budget Requirements/Expectations: We have candy and possibly cold soda on set.
Deferred Pay –
Implied Meaning: You will be paid when we sell this and make money.
Actual Meaning: If/when we will sell this and make money, and unless you follow our film, know where we live, and can prove in accounting that we turned a profit, you wont be paid. See No pay.
Director of Photography/DP:
Implied Position & Responsibilities: Establishing the visual look and aesthetic of the film, guiding the gaffer in lighting styles, operates the camera and composes the shots.
Actual Low Budget Requirements/Expectations: 1) Holds the camera, uses the light provided, or provides the truck with the equipment, places the lights in position.
2) Double Penetration. Your Efforts, and your wallet.
Often seen with: award winning, Experienced, highly skilled, unfortunately
See also: Equipment (your own)
Implied Meaning: Very simple, little effort needed, we know what we are doing and taking about.
Actual Meaning: We have no idea what we are talking about, this will take twice as long as we expect, or longer.
As used on Craigslist: “We need an editor for a quick and easy job. We have 3 hours of tape that needs to have our logo put up in the corner of the screen. This shouldn’t take too long, and can be done in about an hour. Great experience for students!”
Often seen with: Editor, Experienced, no pay, great opportunity.
Equipment (Provided) –
Implied meaning: we have all that you will need, there is no need to rent anything for this project.
Actual Meaning: We were told this would work. Often the equipment was not meant for the job, or is the wrong equipment entirely for the job, or will not work with other equipment that it was intended to.
Example: Kino Ballast for HMI, RCA cable for DVI HD screen, XLR for quarter inch mixer, etc
Equipment (Your Own) –
Your own gear, provided to the project, with no mention of a kit fee/rental charges. Renting equipment and charging it to production is not an option, you MUST have everything. EVERYTHING, including expendables, which will not be reimbursed. Insurance is not mentioned, let alone covering your equipment, so when that PA that is there for the great experience and connections drops it, you shouldn’t get too upset, and should have a replacement on hand.
Actual Meaning: Gear that is used during the process of film making. This includes Gaff tape, paper tape, electrical tape, C-47’s, black wrap, Duvetyne, pens, markers, lens cleaners, air cans, sound reports, moleskin, bounce boards, Velcro, zip ties, bulbs, the list can go on and on. THESE THINGS ARE NOT OUT OF POCKET ITEMS.
Meaning on a Low Budget Production: Provided by department, when it runs out, we can find an equivalent, send a PA to the 99 cent store, or do without.
As seen on Craigslist: -Not seen on Craigslist-
See Also: Kit Fee
Implied Meaning: Highly skilled and highly paid professional.
Actual Meaning: Moderately to Highly skilled, not well paid, if at all.
Often seen with: unfortunately, great connections, experience, IMDB.
As seen on Craigslist: “We need a highly experienced DP with all their own gear and a 5 ton truck to light our Award winning short ‘Summers Dawn’. Unfortunately we cant pay you much now, (only $300) but this will be a great crew, and great food.”
Implied Meaning: Prestigious film screening and marketing place, such as Sundance, Cannes, etc.
Actual Meaning: I got accepted at my local High school, community, etc film screening.
Often seen with: Award Winning.
Implied Meaning: you will be fed food that sustains your energy levels and keeps you motivated to continue.
Actual Meaning: You will get (pizza/fast food burgers/tacos/whatever the 99 cent store has) See also Well fed.
Often seen with: Unfortunately, Great experience, copy/credit/food
Great Experience/ Connections / Opportunity–
Implied Meaning: You will network and learn a lot from the seasoned pro’s that are also working on this set.
Actual Meaning: You will be used and abused, because we don’t know what we are doing, and neither do the department heads. Actual experience earned will be to watch out for people like us.
Implied Meaning: Prestigious recognition of a recognized source.
Actual Meaning: We think the best are posted on IMDB.
As seen on Craigslist: “DP with extensive IMDB credits”, “Applicants without IMDB credits will not be considered!”
Note: IMDB will post just about any project, and some of the most celebrated festival winners aren’t even listed on IMDB. Not everything created gets placed on
paperwork guaranteeing compensation for loss. Nonexistent on most No/low budget craigslist productions
Guaranteed no Pay, Also referred to as slave labor.
See Production Assistant, No Pay.
Location (Need) –
Often searching for Apartment, House, or Mansion. No mentions of insurance, or compensation, aside from copy, credit, ability to eat production food (often pizza), as well as huge appreciation from film makers. If compensation is offered, it is $100-300 a day, or flat fee of $1000. No mention if you will be able to access your place during production.
NOTE: Your place WILL be damaged as a result of a film shoot, no matter how careful people are. That is the nature of the business. Insurance covers that, insist on production insurance, and read it to make sure that it covers damage to your property, as well as injuries to crew on your property. Also, check to see that the insurance is valid! Sad to say, but people will fake their insurance paperwork.
No Pay –
Implied Meaning: You will not be paid, compensated for your time, or given any money whatsoever.
Actual Meaning: You wont be paid at all, or compensated for expenses, will be expected to do the impossible, “work” overtime, and be treated like crap.
Often seen with: Great Experience, Excellent Connections
See Also: Slave Labor
Implied Meaning: 1) You will be fairly compensated for your time, experience, and expendables.
2) We are professionals, and want to compensate you fairly.
Actual Meaning: You will receive $125 for your time, experience, and expendables.
NOTE: 1) Most CL posters are not familiar with the term ‘expendables’.
2) $125 is just above Minimum wage, not counting overtime.
Party Scene –
Implied Meaning: The shoot will consist of elements of a party, including extra’s drinking, dancing, and having fun. We will shoot this with coverage.
Actual Meaning: We are inviting our friends over, giving them beers, and need you to film it.
As seen on Craigslist: “We will be shooting a party Scene Saturday night, and need Art Dept, a DP, and Sound. No pay, but there will be cute girls and free Beer! Serious Inquires Only”
Often seen with: Unfortunately, great experience, no pay
NOTE: Beer is often included as a form of payment.
Production Assistant/PA -
Implied Position & Responsibilities: inexperienced learning position, Driver, “gopher”, coffee fetcher, assistant to whomever needs them on set, trash emptier, odd job completer. Often leads to being invited to join other crew members on future shoots.
Actual Low Budget Position & Responsibilities: same, but often for no pay or appreciation, can be a dead end position.
As seen on Craigslist: “We are looking for an awesome PA to help us out in our busy office, scheduling interviews, casting sessions, and go on lunch runs.” “PA needed to work from home replying to submissions via email for casting. Great Experience!” “Experienced PA needed to assist on set, go on runs, and assist busy producer. No pay, Great Experience! Copy/Credit/Food”
Actual Meaning: Demonstration of abilities on previous projects in the creative sense, such as Director, DP, Editor, Composer, Art Director or Set Designer.
Implied Meaning: Demonstration of abilities.
As seen on Craigslist: “We are looking for an experienced (grip, boom operator, set dresser, PA) for our feature. Please send reels and résumé’s to this address. APPLICATIONS WITHOUT REELS AND RESUME’S WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED!
Note: These positions are not ones that have reel’s. This is analogous to requiring applicants to McDonlads to have previous and extensive work experience in the food service industry, or not bothering applying.
Script Supervisor –
Implied Position & Responsibilities: Keeping performances to the script, tracking coverage and shots to ensure that everything was covered for editing, maintaining logs for the editing process, taking continuity photographs and maintaining them for later reference when scenes are later referred to, or reshot.
Actual Low Budget Requirements/Expectations: Picking up the dogshit from the lawn between takes or shoot dates, so we can “maintain continuity”.
Sound Mixer –
Implied Position & Responsibilities: Upon reviewing script, consulting with camera, lighting, and art department, selects microphones, mixers, and other equipment. Goes on Tech Scouts. Mixes production sound to a recorder and in some cases to camera as well, works with Boom Operator to record clean, crisp audio.
Actual Low Budget Requirements/Expectations: Show up on the day with all necessary equipment without seeing script and get good sound, even though we are shooting next to the (freeway/airport/railroad/playground). Oh, and here is a PA to hold your Boom Pole. He’s getting great experience!
Implied Meaning: We are truly regretful and/or sorry.
Actual Meaning: 1) Bend over and take it, and don't complain.
2) We are incompetent schmucks, and this professional wont put up with our shit.
As seen on craigslist: “Unfortunately, we can not pay you at this time,” “Unfortunately, our (AD/Sound Mixer/PA) had an (emergency/Prior Commitment/mysteriously disappeared), and we need a replacement ASAP.”
Often seen with: Great Connections, Great Experience, Award Winning, Professional
Well Fed -
Implied Meaning: You will get hot, catered meals, and have craft services on set.
Actual Meaning: You get two slices of pizza.
See Also: food, copy/credit/food