Understanding the scenic paint department roles, responsibilities, and hierarchy on any film or television project is very important before starting in the industry if you plan on working with the art department or scenic paint department.
Scenic Paint Department Roles and Responsibilities in Film and Television
KEY SCENIC ARTIST
The duties of the key scenic artist shall include the supervision and organization of the painting of sets, parts of sets, props, backdrops, cutouts, etc. All painting of permanent buildings and stages, including scenic painting mattes, illustrations, signs and graphic cards; responsible for purchasing and procuring of necessary materials and equipment; disbursement of assigned budget; may delegate work required for the efficient running of the department. The key scenic artist shall be selected by the production designer and/or art director, and shall be responsible to same. The key scenic artist shall be able to perform the functions of all subsequent categories with the exception of sign painting.
The paint foreman must be able to perform the functions, in co-ordination with the key scenic artist, and must be able to assume all responsibilities in the event of the absence of the key scenic artist.
ON SET PAINTER
The on set painter must be able to perform all functions of the key scenic artist under the direction of the director of photography, camera operator, and key scenic artist in co-ordination with the on set carpenter and on set dresser. Other duties shall include the maintenance and integrity of all sets and set pieces as well as adjusting reflective surfaces in an expedient manner.
The scenic artist works in coordination with the key scenic artist in producing specialty finishes such as marble, wood grain, aging, breakdown, and other faux finishes. He/she must be able to execute painting of a pictorial nature on any scale including backdrops and cutouts. The scenic artist should be familiar enough with the key scenic artist’s duties to assume them on a short-term basis if the need arises. The scenic painter must be able to perform all the duties of a painter as well as be responsible for specialty finishes such as wood grain, marble, aging, breakdown and other faux finishes under the direction of the
key scenic artist or his/her representative.
The duties of the sign painter include the preparation, layout and painting of all signs under the direction of the key scenic artist.
The duties of the plasterer shall include the preparation of molds for casting on plant-on ornamentation (plaster, rubber or fiberglass resins); preparation and mixing of concrete and supervision of application concrete work.
The duties of the painter shall be to carry out, without direct supervision and to the satisfaction of the key scenic artist, sanding, filling, sealing, priming, undercoating, spray painting, faux cement, painting and varnishing of sets, props, permanent buildings, interior and exterior, both in the studio and on location.
This post is a continuous work in progress and will be updated as needed. How would you describe the scenic paint department roles and responsibilities? As always, I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments below.
Rose Lagacé | @artdepartmental