Working in Film: Why Film?
I am what is called a Set Dec Coordinator, I assist the Set Decorator with making sure all the paperwork is taken care of between vendors and the accounting office. I make sure that deliveries and drop offs are done on time by our delivery workers, keep track of our budget, making sure that we aren’t going over and letting the Decorator know when we have money for something or if we have to cut spending. I make sure people’s time-sheets are submitted so that they get paid and sometimes I even help with decorating if they need me. It is not an easy job though, so don’t get the idea that it is.
So I decided to answer a few questions that people had/have been asking me about my job.
Yes, I work in the BC Film Industry in Vancouver. I started it last year and have kind of been hooked ever since.
I am what is called a Set Dec Coordinator, I assist the Set Decorator with making sure all the paperwork is taken care of between vendors and the accounting office. I make sure that deliveries and drop offs are done on time by our delivery workers, keep track of our budget, making sure that we aren’t going over and letting the Decorator know when we have money for something or if we have to cut spending. I make sure people’s timesheets are submitted so that they get paid and sometimes I even help with decorating if they need me. It is not an easy job though, so don’t get the idea that it is.
Film hours can be long. My work day can be anywhere from 8 hours to over 20. Sometimes I get paid overtime, and sometimes I don’t. It all depends on what kind of show I am working on.
I am currently working on movies that are considered NON-UNION, which means that I have less rights and I am on my own when it comes to approaching production companies if I feel like I am treated unfairly, however we do however still have contracts and rights within those contracts that we can bring up. You just have to know what is in the fine print and how to deal with the people you’re working with.
I would say that so far my experience in this industry has been positive, with only slight bumps so far. But I have learned so much from it and feel like working in film brings out the drive in me, I feel like I function in a higher capacity in this type of job than in any other work that I’ve worked in. Probably because of the workload I carry.
Why film? Well there was multiple driving reasons as to why I entered the film industry. Firstly, one of my closest friends worked in film and raved to me about how I should pursue it! Secondly, when I first entered I was a complete newbie and didn’t have a clue where to start, but I was so scared about getting off of maternity leave and going back to retail that I felt like anything might be better… and I would probably regret it if I didn’t at least try it out. Thirdly, the rush… really there is nothing like it that I have
ever experienced. Everything is so fast paced and sometimes it feels like the days blur together… but after my first few months in film… I already had graphics and art in the two films I had worked on and had helped designed sets as well. Then when you step back and watch the finished product you can’t help but breathe in and revel in seeing all that work you did turn into something amazing… or sometimes not amazing but knowing you worked on it… now that’s satisfying. Fourthly, the pay is nothing to snivel at… definitely worthwhile… knowing that by working on one or two movies depending on the length will pay me more than a part-time retail job will in a whole year… now that’s super motivating. Also knowing that you can take huge chunks of time off if you want too is also such a benefit, especially if you have children you want to spend time with… like me.
It’s hard, being away as much as I am from my son, but knowing that when a show ends I can take maybe a month or two off and just focus on him… that’s a nice thought… maybe go travel somewhere nice?
I see film as fun, but very hard work, that pays well for the hard work that you put in. I couldn’t be more thankful for the people I have met, for the jobs that I have had, or the experiences I wouldn’t have gone through had I not been in film.
Now I am currently working on a film and studying to enter union so I can be looked after better, as well as my family, get paid more, and maybe work on some films you’ll actually see in Theatres!
Till then I will keep puttering away, growing and learning more and more!