Careers in Screen

Print Page

Special Effects DepartmentSpecial Effects Supervisor

Special Effects Department

The Special Effects Supervisor is responsible for Designing, creating and setting up of all special effects on a film/TV production in collaboration with the director and producer. This role refers to effects that are made on a working film set rather than computer-generated effects created at the post-production stage. They oversee the entire special effects department as head of department. They are responsible for any effect that is manually or mechanically manipulated for screen. These could include, for example, pyrotechnics, weather effects such as rain or snow, or the use of mechanical props. They must ensure the safety of everyone on set, following health and safety practices, and safe protocols when using firearms or explosives. They must be proficient in using the latest equipment and technologies in supporting the creation of effects. The Special Effects Supervisor issues a Risk Assessment for each special effect used in the film.

Is this role right for me?

For this role, you will need:

A background in the STEM skills – science, technology, engineering and maths.

Creativity and imagination in helping to realise the director’s vision for the scene/project in practical and original ways.

Great leadership and interpersonal skills and the ability to communicate thoughts and ideas well to the special effects team and others.

Ability to create, manage and fulfil a brief to budget and on schedule.

Training and experience in handling hazardous materials, products and machinery.

Work with:

  • Director
  • Producer
  • Actors
  • All of the Special Effects Department

Career Path to Special Effects Supervisor:

There are no usual career paths for the Special Effects Supervisor, often they would have worked their way through the Special Effects Department. A qualification in Film, STEM or Electronics can be useful.