Reel Opportunities

Descriptive Video Transcriber

Also known as: Audio Describer, DVT

What does a Descriptive Video Transcriber do?

Descriptive video transcribing, otherwise known as audio describing, is the process of narrating descriptions of nonverbal elements on the screen, such as characters’ surroundings, artworks, costumes, and body language, with the goal of making visual media more accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired.

A media professional who translates visual imagery into verbal information for the benefit of people is known as an audio describer. Audio Description facilitates access to video content for visually impaired viewers by providing a carefully crafted spoken audio commentary that corresponds to what is on screen. Descriptive Video Transcribers begin by writing a project script, narrating and recording content, and then creating the necessary files for integration into the rest of the production.

Audio descriptions can be created for film, television, plays, musicals, operas, dance performances, parks, national monuments, museums, galleries, public service announcements, transportation – the list is endless. In general, audio description can improve the experience and understanding of any visual information. Professional Descriptive Video Transcribers are frequently hired by major film and television productions to write and voice the descriptions for their videos.

What's a Descriptive Video Transcriber good at?
  • Writing

    Write in such a way that when the text is read it seems as if the words come spontaneously and are not at all scripted. Explain concepts and ideas in a clear and simple manner

  • Communication

    Work well with the members of the project, understand the vision of the content and communicate what's happening on-screen effectively for individuals who are blind or otherwise visually impaired

  • Attention to detail

    Listen and watch actively, perform tasks conscientiously and effectively, taking into account all their aspects and convey all the necessary details via the audio descriptions

  • Pronunciation

    Be able to properly and understandably pronounce words

Who does a Descriptive Video Transcriber work with?

It’s not uncommon for Descriptive Video Transcribers to work with Directors, Producers, Sound Editors, and other team members during post-production.

How do I become a Descriptive Video Transcriber?

There is no direct educational path to transcribing descriptive video, but a background in writing and post-production or audio engineering production is useful.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Professional Organizations Associated With This Role

Click on your region to find out which professional organizations in your area are associated with this career and watch videos to learn more about them.

This position is represented by the following unions/guilds in your selected region.

Sorry, we couldn’t find a professional organization associated with this role in the region you selected.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Subtitler

Also known as: Translator

What does a Subtitler do?

Subtitlers make it possible for films to be enjoyed by audiences all over the world and by the deaf and hard of hearing. They translate all the dialogue, music and sound effects of a film into two-line written captions that appear on the screen, either in the language in which the film is made or in a foreign language.

After carefully watching and listening to the whole film, they write captions with accurate time codes that describe music and sound effects as well as the dialogue and voice-overs. The captions have to be punctuated and spelt correctly and should be on the screen long enough to be read easily. Translating subtitlers translate the dialogue and write subtitles in the language for a particular audience.

Once they’ve done that and checked that all spelling is correct and that captions don’t obscure characters’ faces, the files are sent to the post-production house (transferring the final soundtrack onto the film in all the various formats). It can then be distributed to cinemas offering subtitled screenings or to cinemas around the world.

Subtitlers are usually employed by specialist post-production companies but sometimes work on a freelance basis.

What's a Subtitler good at?
  • Grammar

    Spell, punctuate and use grammar accurately

  • Languages

    Translate the dialogue into the required language sensitively (for Translator Subtitlers)

  • Screen spatial awareness

    Understand how captions will appear on a screen and their impact on the viewing

  • Attention to detail

    Work precisely to tight deadlines with text and timing

  • Interest in deaf audiences

    Care about the experiences of the deaf and hard-of-hearing

  • Use of software

    Be adept in using the subtitling software

How do I become a Subtitler?

Many post-production companies that offer subtitling services train the Subtitlers themselves. If you have an interest in becoming a Subtitler, practice your language skills and keep a portfolio of writing examples. You can reach out to post-production houses and inquire

Educational Requirements: You might find courses in film post-production, language skills, and courses on transcription and subtitling software to be helpful.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Professional Organizations Associated With This Role

Click on your region to find out which professional organizations in your area are associated with this career and watch videos to learn more about them.

This position is represented by the following unions/guilds in your selected region.

Sorry, we couldn’t find a professional organization associated with this role in the region you selected.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Film Festival Programmer

Also known as: Programmer

What does a Film Festival Programmer do?

Film Festival Programmers select the films to be shown in festivals, whether in theaters, online or on TV.

Film festivals, like Cannes or the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), are where film professionals see unreleased films and network with their peers in the film world. They also function as markets where Sales Agents, Distributors, and Theater Programmers go to do deals over the rights of movies they are interested in buying.

Film Festival Programmers select the films that will make their festival successful. Diversity is key. They create a balance of tone and form and aim to start a conversation with the audience or to draw attention to lesser-known films.

Film Festival Programmers can’t just pick the films they like the best. An understanding of the audience is essential so they often carry out audience research. They use box office data, focus groups and surveys for this.

What's a Film Festival Programmer good at?
  • Knowledge of film

    Have a passionate interest and extensive knowledge of film, enjoy watching a wide range of content (even the bad stuff) and understand various film formats (digital cinema prints, 35mm, IMAX)

  • Audience awareness

    Know audiences, be able to research audiences to understand how they watch films or TV dramas

  • Judgment

    Spot films or TV dramas that will be popular, be able to create a balanced programme appropriate to the venue or TV channel

  • Negotiation

    Communicate with distributors, other programmers and local or regional organizations to achieve an effective programme, get the best deal, understand contractual obligations

  • Finance

    Manage a budget, know what funding sources are available

Who does a Film Festival Programmer work with?

Film Festival programmers will work with other programmers and members of their festival. They could be working with filmmakers, producers and production companies to gain films for the festival. Sometimes festivals or venues will hire a team of programmers who work together to select films. They also work closely with Distributors, marketing teams, and technical staff.

How do I become a Film Festival Programmer?

Many programmers progress to their role from administrative or technical roles in cinemas or exhibition venues. A passion for theater and knowledge of the market is the most important thing. Any marketing or business experience will also be useful in this area.

Volunteer: See if any film festivals near you need volunteers. This will be a great way to network and understand more about how the exhibition side of the industry works.

Start your own channel: Set up a review blogging site or content channel. This is the marketing version of having a portfolio. You can send a link with your channel to show your writing and online skills, and, equally importantly, your interest in film and TV drama.

Host your own screenings: Set up your own events locally to screen films. Try to find your own alternative niche and do something different. The film community is a small one, and getting known as tasteful and knowledgeable, as well as communicative, about film can lead to great opportunities.

Watch a lot of films: The most important thing to do if you want to be a programmer is to watch as much as you can. You need to get a sense of what’s out there across a range of genres.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Publicist

Also known as: Press Representative, Public Relations Officer, Publicity Coordinator, Publicity Consultant, Unit Publicist

What does a Publicist do?

Publicists create the ‘buzz’ that surrounds the release of a film. They get the critics talking.

They are responsible for getting media coverage of the film through having good relationships with journalists and critics. They create press packs, which usually include the film’s synopsis, production notes, cast and crew credits, and biographies, stills that create the electronic press kit (EPK). Film Publicists also schedule press screenings for bigger-budget movies. Publicists invite journalists to the set during the shooting.

They handle all major aspects of press relations and keep the Distributor and Producer informed of PR developments. They look over all publicity materials with consideration of any legal, ethical, and cultural issues. If there’s any controversy at any stage, it’s the Publicist who deals with damage control – and they need to be available at any time of the day and night to do so.

What's a Publicist good at?
  • Understanding the media

    Have good contacts in the film and media industries, know the needs of journalists in print, TV, radio and online

  • Writing

    Write the promotional story of the film, create press packs, devise release plans

  • Knowledge of the film market

    Identify the core audience for a film, know how to reach them and excite them, be aware of box office figures, viewing figures, and the film trends

  • Flexibility

    Thrive in changing situations, enjoy spontaneity

  • Persuasion

    Network with the influencers in the film industry, such as the press, critics, and programmers, and pitch and convince them of the strength of the film

Who does a Publicist work with?

Publicists work with theatres, studio executives, members of the film’s cast and crew, film critics, film press and film festival representatives, and other people promoting the film, such as the Marketing Manager.

How do I become a Publicist?

Publicists will have worked in the film or TV industry for many years before they get to this position. There’s no set career path, but common routes to this role include public relations, journalism, marketing, and film production. A good way to start would be as an assistant in the marketing department of a distribution, production, or film sales company or TV channel. See the job profile Marketing Assistant for details of how to do this.

Here are some tips:

Start your own channel: Set up a review blogging site or content channel. This is the marketing version of having a portfolio. You can send a link with your resume to show your writing and online skills, and, equally importantly, your interest in film and TV drama.

Look outside the industry: Consider any PR roles in any industry as this experience will be helpful in getting into the film industry later. Also, consider roles in marketing. Marketing agencies may have more roles available than TV channels or production companies. You will develop technical expertise that you can transfer to film or TV drama.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Professional Organizations Associated With This Role

Click on your region to find out which professional organizations in your area are associated with this career and watch videos to learn more about them.

This position is represented by the following unions/guilds in your selected region.

Sorry, we couldn’t find a professional organization associated with this role in the region you selected.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Screenwriter

Also known as: Screenplay Writer, Scriptwriter, Writer

What is a Screenwriter?
What does a Screenwriter do?

Screenwriters write and develop screenplays for film or TV drama. They do this either by basing it on an original idea, by adapting an existing story into a screenplay or by joining an existing project (TV).

Screenwriters prepare their script in a way that enables readers to envisage the setting, emotion, and the way it will work on screen. They collaborate with Producers, Directors and Actors to draft and redraft their scripts, often working to tight deadlines.

Screenwriters are almost always freelancers. In many cases, a Screenwriter shops their feature-length script around through their Agent, or through competitions until it garners interest from a Producer. The Producer (or production company) then “options” the screenplay for a starter fee which can be as low as $1. This means the Producer has the right to try and produce the screenplay for a certain length of time. If the Producer is successful they then pay the Screenwriter a pre-negotiated sum for the screenplay rights. If they are unsuccessful the screenplay rights return to the Screenwriter. Alternatively, a Screenwriter may be commissioned by a Producer or production company to create a screenplay. Once a screenplay is picked up by a production company, more Screenwriters may be brought in to work with a Story Editor to get it ready for production. In this case, any new Screenwriter may share a credit with the original Screenwriter, or they may be credited for additional dialogue, or as a story consultant. In some cases, the original Screenwriter may be replaced entirely by another Screenwriter.

Television Screenwriters generally work as part of a team of Writers, led by a Story Editor or Supervising Producer. The Screenwriter pitches their ideas for stories/episodes and works through the storylines with the Story Editor (and writing team) to create a polished script that fits the continuity of the episodic television show.

Animation Writers develop story ideas and present them in the form of scripts. Their scripts are used by Storyboard Artists and Directors to work out the visual art style of a project.

What's a Screenwriter good at?
  • Knowledge of screenwriting

    Understand all the features of a great screenplay, know how to improve and amend one

  • Creativity

    Write well and innovatively, express your ideas effectively in screenplay-form

  • Arts knowledge

    Have a deep and wide knowledge of all genres of art, so as to be able to source ideas from a range of sources and understand the cultural context

  • Watching film and TV drama

    Have a passion for the genre and a love of the industry

  • Freelancing

    Find work opportunities for yourself and manage your finances, be self-motivated

Who does a Screenwriter work with?

Screenwriters work with Development Executives, Producers, Directors, and their assistants. They are sometimes assisted by Researchers, who provide information to allow for screenplays to be fact-checked. Screenwriters may have their screenplays overseen by Story Editors, who, in turn, may be supported by Assistant Story Editors.

How do I become a Screenwriter?

Write your own screenplays as soon as possible. Practising the form is essential. A degree is not a prerequisite to become a Screenwriter, but having relevant education, whether that be in English or screenwriting subjects, is very useful.

Read and write: Practise writing screenplays in a professional format. Read existing screenplays online to familiarize yourself with the form.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Professional Organizations Associated With This Role

Click on your region to find out which professional organizations in your area are associated with this career and watch videos to learn more about them.

This position is represented by the following unions/guilds in your selected region.

Sorry, we couldn’t find a professional organization associated with this role in the region you selected.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.