Reel Opportunities

Special FX Supervisor

Also known as: SFX Coordinator, FX Coordinator

What does a Special FX Supervisor do?

Special effects (sometimes known as practical effects or SFX) are either manual or mechanical effects that are applied on set during production. Explosions, earthquakes, vehicle chases, animatronic dragons, and even atmospheric effects like fog and rain are now standard fare in any live-action feature picture.

The Special Effects Supervisor (also known as an SFX Supervisor or an SFX Coordinator) is in charge of a team of Special Effects Technicians who work together to create special effects. The SFX Supervisor is a senior-level professional in charge of ensuring that the effects are carried out efficiently and securely.

Early in pre-production, the SFX Supervisor reports directly to the Director and Producers to ensure that they grasp the Director’s vision for the effects. They also collaborate with Production Designers and Art Directors to iron out the finer points, such as how to attain specific appearances or what particular equipment they’ll need to construct. On-set special effects (SFX) or (SPFX) differ from those made in post-production, which are referred to as “visual effects” (VFX).

What's a Special FX Supervisor good at?
  • Being accurate

    Be methodical in your work, pay close attention to detail, have strong problem-solving skills

  • Being efficient

    Work quickly and accurately on set so that the physical production can run smoothly, organize and prioritize your tasks

  • Familiarity with technical equipment

    From fog machines to high-tech prosthetics, SFX Supervisors are expected to understand, use, and even repair many complex pieces of equipment on set

  • Collaboration

    Work in pre-production with the director or producer to decide on which shots will need SFX work, respond to their creative and artistic direction

  • Leadership

    Share the Director or Producers’ vision of the film with the SFX artists of all departments, inspire them to do their best work, manage their output in terms of quality and deadlines

Who does a Special FX Supervisor work with?

The Special FX Supervisor works closely with the director, producer, actors, and all of the special effects department.

Professional Organizations Associated With This Role

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Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.