Below-the-line (filmmaking)

“Below-the-line” is a film budget for motion pictures , television programs , industrial films , independent films , student films and documentaries as well as commercials . The “line” in “below-the-line” refers to the production of scriptwriters , producers , directors , actors and casting ( “above-the-line” ) and the rest of the crew, or production team . [1] [2]

The top sheet of any creative project is in the form of a budget document, which features total expenses including federal, state and local taxes, and gold production incentives . This paper is usually assigned to the Production Manager or UPM of a production [3] and should be completed before principal photography for any project. There are many compatible computer software programs available on the market to help production companies in creating new and exciting projects to utilize from concept, to final production for film and television. [4] [5][6]

Below-the-line crew

Some below-the-line film and television film crews operate in pre-production , production , or post-production stages of filmmaking. For example, the film editor may work in the post-production stage of filming but he / she may also work throughout the production, editing the film as it is shot and advising the director if and when additional shots or scenes are needed. The boom operator on the other hand is mostly on set during filming because he or she has the pick of the dialogue of the actors of ambient noise when the scene is being recorded.

This particular type of film crew usually belongs to a guild or union. Some of the unions include: IATSE ., The International Cinematographer’s Guild (an IATSE organization), The Teamsters , Motion Picture Editors Guild , Animation Guild , and the Motion Picture Sound Editors . [7]

It is usually the case for the “below-the-line” crew to work for hourly wages, as opposed to a set wage, or negotiated contractual wage on the front, or back end of any given project. These set workers are responsible for a number of many other unsung, and demanding tasks that should be completed to achieve the common goal of creating a film, or television program. These positions could be considered “less glamorous”, and the unmentionable part of filmmaking. However, many people have made a good job with “below-the-line” job positions, whether it is in independent filmmaking , and for a major film studio .

Within the industry, such as Lighting Technicians , Grips , Wranglers , Stunt Performers , Property Masters , ADR , Foley , Set Painters or any Stagehand etc., one could gain knowledge and skill of these theses , and many other key positions within the film industry to attain success. Many Schools and Nonprofit OrganizationsThe following are some of the most important things you can do in the traditional school system. [8] These organizations teach about film and video terminology, equipment, and life skills , a must for today’s highly comprehensive entertainmentmarket.

Below-the-line crew refers to everybody else including:

  • Director Assistant
  • Art Director
  • Best Boy Electric
  • Best Boy Grip
  • Boom Operator
  • Camera operator
  • Carpenter (theater)
  • Character generator (CG) operator (television)
  • Director of Photography
  • Designer Costume
  • Compose
  • Dolly grip
  • Movie Editor
  • blunder
  • Graphic Artist
  • Hair Stylist
  • Key Grip
  • Line Producer
  • Location manager
  • Make-up Artist
  • Production Assistant
  • Script Supervisor (continuity)
  • Set Construction
  • Sound Engineer
  • Stage Manager (television)
  • Technical Director (TD) (television)
  • Truck driver
  • Unit Production Manager [9]
  • Video Control Broadcast Engineering (television)
  • Visual Effects Editor

Most of these crafts are considered variable cost in the budget. Meaning, if you cut a scene from the script, possibly, you do not have to build that set, or paint it or dress it, etc.


Below the Line is also the name of a Hollywood trade publication that bills itself as “The Voice of the Crew.” It focuses on the production and post-production crew working on film, television, and commercial projects.

See also

  • Above-the-line (filmmaking)
  • Budgeting film
  • Movie crew
  • Television crew


  1. Jump up^ “What does” mean in a film budget? ” . Quora . Feb 27, 2011 . Retrieved August 18, 2017 .
  2. Jump up^ “What does ‘below the line’ mean in movie production?” . How Stuff Works . Retrieved August 18, 2017 .
  3. Jump up^ “Budgeting For Production Managers” . Edictive . Retrieved August 18, 2017 .
  4. Jump up^ “Entertainment Partners – Home” . Entertainment Partners . August 17, 2017 . Retrieved August 17, 2017 .
  5. Jump up^ “Celtx -Home” . Celtx . August 17, 2017 . Retrieved August 17, 2017 .
  6. Jump up^ “61 Best Filmmaking Software & Tools of 2017” . Studio Binder . May 25, 2017 . Retrieved August 17, 2017 .
  7. Jump up^ “A Guide to Hollywood Unions ⋆” . . 2012-09-03 . Retrieved 2017-11-19 .
  8. Jump up^ “Below the Line Film Production Training” . Socialbilitty . November 5, 2015 . Retrieved August 17, 2017 .
  9. Jump up^ DGA 2011 Basic Agreement . Los Angeles, California: Directors Guild of America. 2011. pp. 13-15.