Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

What the hell are all those jobs listed in film credits?

Photo: Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images

Anyone who’s ever stuck around through a film’s credits has probably started asking themselves the same kind of questions as the names rolled on and the titles got stranger. What’s a second unit, and what does it do? What’s the difference between “written by” and “story by”? What the hell is a best boy and what makes him so great? Well, John P. Hess and the folks at Filmmaker IQ have put together an incredibly thorough video to help clear up some of those mysteries, explaining the roles of everyone from the executive producer to the head of craft services.

Turns out, the best boy (which is a title that doesn’t change according to the person’s gender, just so you know) is one of the highest ranking members of a movie’s lighting crew. They answer to the gaffer, who heads up the lighting department, and manage the day-to-day operations of the lighting crew and equipment. Grips are the people who handle the non-electric parts of lighting operations, all the stands and rigging and the like. They’re led by the key grip and the best boy grip.


Hess provides some interesting insight into more visible positions as well, breaking down the difference between executive and associate producers, the reasons actors might get weird “with” or “and…as” listings, and some of the arcane Writers Guild rules that determine the intricacies of screenwriting credits.

[via Laughing Squid]

Share This Story