What does a film and TV choreographer do?

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What is a Film and TV Choreographer?

Film and TV choreographers craft and coordinate dance routines and movement sequences for film and television productions. With expertise in various dance styles and a keen understanding of camera angles and techniques, pacing, and editing, they ensure that the choreography enhances storytelling and character development and translates effectively to the screen.

What does a Film and TV Choreographer do?

A choreographed dance for TV being filmed.

Duties and Responsibilities
The tasks and responsibilities of the film and TV choreographer generally include:

  • Collaborating with directors, producers, camera operators, and other creative team members to understand the vision and requirements of the production
  • Designing choreography that complements the storyline, characters, and overall aesthetic of the project
  • Auditioning and selecting dancers or actors for specific roles within the choreography
  • Teaching and rehearsing dance routines with performers, ensuring they understand and can execute the choreography effectively, with precision and emotion
  • Adapting choreography as needed to accommodate changes in filming schedules, set designs, or actor abilities
  • Coordinating with camera operators and directors to plan shots and angles that capture the dance sequences in the most visually compelling way
  • Ensuring the safety of performers during rehearsals and filming, providing guidance on proper technique and movement to prevent injuries
  • Collaborating with costume designers and set decorators to ensure that costumes, props, and sets complement the choreography and overall production design
  • Overseeing the filming of dance sequences, providing feedback to performers and adjusting choreography as necessary to achieve the desired results
  • Reviewing footage and providing input during the editing process to ensure that the final product showcases the choreography effectively

Types of Film and TV Choreographers
Now that we have a sense of the potential scope of the film and TV choreographer’s work, let’s look at some different types of film and TV choreographers, each specializing in various aspects of dance and movement coordination:

  • Dance Choreographers – These choreographers specialize in creating intricate dance routines for films, television shows, music videos, and stage productions. They may have expertise in specific dance styles such as ballet, jazz, hip-hop, contemporary, tap, or cultural dances like salsa, tango, or Bollywood. Some choreographers may specialize in crafting choreography that reflects specific time periods or historical eras. They research the dance styles and movement aesthetics of different historical periods and incorporate them into film and TV productions set in those periods.
  • Stunt Choreographers – Stunt choreographers for film and TV shows focus on designing and coordinating action sequences that involve physical combat, stunts, and special effects. They work closely with stunt performers, fight coordinators, special effects teams, and directors to ensure the safety and realism of the action scenes.
  • Musical Choreographers – Musical choreographers specialize in choreographing dance sequences and musical performances for film and television musicals, as well as stage productions, pop music videos, rock concerts, and classical music performances. They understand the nuances of each genre and collaborate with directors, music composers, and performers to create synchronized and visually stunning musical sequences.
  • Motion Capture Choreographers – Motion capture choreographers work with motion capture technology to capture the movements of performers and translate them into digital animation for video games, animated films, and visual effects in live-action productions. They collaborate with animators to ensure that the digital characters are lifelike and move convincingly and expressively.
  • Specialty Choreographers – Specialty choreographers focus on specific types of movement or dance, such as aerial dance, circus arts, acrobatics, puppetry, or synchronized swimming. They collaborate with performers and creative teams to integrate these specialized forms of movement into film and TV productions.

These are just a few examples of the diverse roles within the field of film and TV choreography, and many choreographers may have expertise in multiple areas depending on their training and experience.

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What is the workplace of a Film and TV Choreographer like?

Film and TV choreographers can work for various entities within the entertainment industry. Depending on their experience and expertise, their employment options may extend beyond the traditional boundaries of film and television projects. These are among their most common employers:

  • Film Studios – Major film studios, independent production companies, and film producers hire choreographers for feature and television films, short films, and documentaries. These choreographers work closely with directors, producers, and other creative personnel to develop choreography that enhances the storytelling and visual appeal of the film.
  • Television Networks and Production Companies – Television networks, cable channels, streaming platforms, and production companies employ choreographers for scripted TV shows, reality TV programs, variety shows, music specials, and other television productions. In these settings, choreographers may work on episodic series, pilot episodes, special events, or one-off projects.
  • Music Industry – Choreographers are often hired by music artists, record labels, and music video production companies to create choreography for music videos, live performances, concert tours, and promotional events. They collaborate with musicians, directors, and producers to develop dance routines that complement the music and showcase the artist's talent.
  • Theater Companies – Choreographers may be employed by theater companies, Broadway productions, regional theaters, and touring productions to create choreography for stage musicals, dance performances, and theatrical productions. They work with directors, fellow choreographers, and performers to stage dance numbers and musical sequences for live audiences.
  • Advertising Agencies – Choreographers may collaborate with advertising agencies, marketing firms, and commercial production companies to create choreography for television commercials, ad campaigns, and promotional videos. They develop movement concepts and dance routines that help promote products, brands, and services to consumers.
  • Educational Institutions – Some choreographers work as educators, teaching dance classes, leading workshops, and coaching performers at dance schools, universities, and performing arts academies. In these environments, they train aspiring dancers, choreographers, and actors and share their expertise with the next generation of talent.

Based on the nature of their work and focus, film and TV choreographers may find themselves transitioning between different settings. They may spend time in dance studios and rehearsal spaces equipped with dance floors, mirrors, and sounds systems; on film or TV sets; or in production offices and shared coworking spaces. In some instances, they may need to travel to various locations for rehearsals, filming, or promotional events. They may work on local productions or travel internationally for projects that require their expertise in different parts of the world.

Depending on their role, film and TV choreographers may also engage in administrative tasks, such as scheduling rehearsals, communicating with cast and crew, and managing budgets and contracts.

In recent years, choreographers have increasingly utilized virtual platforms and digital tools for choreographic exploration, collaboration, and presentation. Film and TV choreographers may conduct virtual rehearsals, share choreographic ideas online, or participate in virtual residencies and workshops.

Frequently Asked Questions