Art, they say, is food for the soul. That is why a lot of artists ensure that our souls are well fed by consistently churning out great content. One amazing thing about art is its timelessness, diversity, uniqueness, and constant evolution. Music, drama, cinematography, writing, drawing, languages, painting, sculptor, modelling, fashion design and so on have been in existence since time memorial and they are here to stay.
We live in a world where people cannot do without art. Most people listen to music, watch movies, pay to see artworks in a museum or gallery, have paintings hung on their walls, buy lots of books. A lot of people idolise movie stars and their favourite author/artist. We have their photos splattered on our walls, used as our phone wallpapers, or our social media DPs. We rush to take a picture with them or request their autographs when we physically meet them. The power of arts – and our screens – is such that we fall in love with artists based on the quality of their content.
While we drool over popular authors and hail the artists we see on our TV screens, we must not forget those who work behind the scenes to ensure that you have an unforgettable experience.
Remember that favourite movie of yours? Can you mention the cinematographer or the location manager of that movie? Can you mention the editor of that bookseller? Of course not. That’s exactly what we’re talking about. So, guys, this is a behind the scenes people appreciation article for our unsung heroes who ensure that we have amazing content to feed our soul with.
A writer! Before a movie, stage play can win awards or be rated well by the audience, the storyline must be up to par. The character, plot, setting, flow, conflict, dialogue must be standard. That is the job of the screenwriter.
A screenwriter writes content for visual mediums. They write screenplays for feature films, short films, television commercials, and video games. They create the dialogue, the characters, and the storyline of a script. So whenever you watch a very interesting movie, anime, documentary, musical video, and so on, remember that someone somewhere wrote the story and the script.
“Oh my God, that writer writes perfectly well”. Well… there’s an editor somewhere who has polished that story and made it ‘perfect for consumption’. It is the same with music videos or movies. After the production, the editor spends hours looking through all footages and assembling the film one footage after another, while cutting off unnecessary scenes. We can agree that the editor makes raw footage into the finished product – the book, the movie, or the music video we all love.
Director of Photography
Cinematographer Gordon Willis once said that “A Cinematographer is a visual psychiatrist, moving an audience through a movie… making them think the way you want them to think, painting pictures in the dark.”
Also called a cinematographer, a DOP is responsible for both the artistic and technical details involved when filming. DOPs work with the director to design each shot and make decisions on what lens, filter, and lighting to use to achieve the desired look of the project.
Nicholas Matthews calls cinematographers people who “create part of the emotional throughline of the film by trying to capture both the director’s and characters’ perspectives in the film”. If you love the technicality of camera movement in a movie, the angles, the sharpness of each shot, the lighting, and so on, a cinematographer somewhere put in a lot of work.
While watching a live show, there are people backstage who are responsible for the smooth running of the show. “Backstage Crew members are also referred to as Stagehands or Stage Technicians. They prepare everything before the show which includes props, scenery, lighting, and sound. Backstage crew support the performers with the running of the show.”
Thanks to the boom operator, we can clearly hear the dialogue between actors when we watch movies. The boom operator, from the sound department, holds the boom mic ( a microphone attached to a long pole) near the actors, but out of view of the camera. They may also decide to place microphones on the actors or around the set if the need arises.
In the creation of a movie, anime, music video, or stage play, the director is one person who is involved in the production, right from the conception stage to the delivery stage. The director is in charge of the three main phases, which are pre-production, production, and post-production. They decide who can fit into the character well, what props will be used, the location, settings, and so on. They also work with individuals in charge of lighting, scenery, writing, etc., to make sure that all of the elements come together.
The publisher/ publishing firm sets the editorial and commercial direction for companies that publish books, newspapers, magazines and digital content. work with teams of editors, designers, writers, and freelance contributors who create the content and manage its production.
One thing that makes a painting or artwork more beautiful is the frame. Guess who’s responsible for that? The woodworker, AKA carpenters. Many people prefer their artwork in a frame, asides from making it beautiful, it also makes it easier to hang the painting on the wall. So when next you’re awwing about your beautiful artwork, remember that someone made the frame.
During the production process, the electrical department manages and runs the lighting during every scene. The person who leads the electrical department is called a gaffer. As the chief lighting technician and head of the electrical department, the gaffer runs a team of lighting technicians that execute the lighting plan for a production.
Just like a director, the producer is involved in all the phases of production. They coordinate and supervise the production process – the script, finances, crafts, they decide when the shoot will be done, the hire the team – including the director, marketing and distribution, the whole production process – pre-production, production, and post-production.
One thing a lot of Nigerians can relate to when watching low-budget movies is how the hospital is not usually a hospital. In many cases, it might be one corner of the sitting room that is demarcated with a curtain. In many cases, there will be one bed, spread with a white sheet, and then a plastic chair will be placed by the side. That is the inefficiency of the set designer. “Using an artistic interpretation, a set designer decorates the location with physical details in accordance with the script. They provide the cast with fashion characteristics that make the scene believable. The environment’s display tells the viewer about the people and the locality without saying a word.” If a scene is supposed to be in a hospital, the set designer’s responsibility is to ensure that the location looks exactly like a hospital.
Have you ever watched a movie where someone is wearing pink lipstick and a few seconds later, the lipstick is suddenly red without any prior information? As little as this is, viewers notice when a film is not well coordinated and lacks the smooth transition from one scene to another.
Also called the script supervisor, the continuity personnel is the protector of the continuity of the screenplay, and thus, the continuity of the film.
Other behind the scene crew members you should know are the:
- The proofreader
- Public Relations Officer
- Camera Operator
- Executive Producer
- Costume Manager
- Location Manager
- The Carver
- Makeup artist
- Special effects
- Clapper Loader
- Stage Manager
- Graphic Designer
- Sound Editor
So when next you are enjoying a book, a beautiful artwork, music video, award-winning movie, stage-plays, or live performances, remember all the people who have put in their blood and sweat to give us unforgettable moments.