Paint Foreman

  • Paint Foreman

The paint foreman may be hired by the paint coordinator and begins work during pre-production on a film or television program. This person is second in command of the paint department and must be capable of assuming the role of the crew head in the event that the paint coordinator is unavailable.


Under the direction of the paint coordinator, the paint foreman is responsible for supervising the crew of painters and scenic artists and will delegate assignments to the crew as instructed by the coordinator. He or she is a senior artist that will participate in painting set pieces, backdrops, cutouts, and permanent structures. Additionally, this person assists the coordinator in the efficient management of the paint shop, to include the care and maintenance of supplies and equipment. At all times, the paint foreman ensures that the crew is on task and performing according to the established production schedule. He or she must see to it that work adheres to the design the production designer and art director set forth and that the results are up to the highest standard of quality. Furthermore, the foreman is responsible for shop safety; this means providing proper personal protective equipment and making sure that the crew cooperates within safety policies. In the absence of the paint coordinator, this person assumes the role of the department head and would then be responsible for concerns such as budget dispersal, material purchases, and hiring or firing of crewmembers.

Skills & Education

A college degree in film or television production with an emphasis on scenic art and design is encouraged, though majors in theatrical design or fine art are also applicable. The paint foreman should be a talented artist with an education in traditional drawing, painting, sculpture, and still photography. Courses in art history are also valuable. As this position requires the individual to be exposed to numerous types of paint and chemical compounds, he or she should receive training in the safe handling of hazardous materials, as well as the proper storage procedures and use of personal protective equipment. Likewise, the foreman may be responsible for material disposal and should therefore be familiar with state and local regulations governing such practices.  

What to Expect

This senior-level position requires three to five years of relevant experience within the paint department on a film or television production, including work as a lead painter. Entry-level painter positions are available within this department for those who can provide a portfolio that displays artistic talent and competency of technique. Artists have the option of working as freelancer or as a permanent employee of a scenic shop that caters to the entertainment industry. A typical workweek is 40 hours spent in a studio or on location, with the possibility for variations in schedules due to the current production demands. Painters are eligible for membership in IATSE, the union that represents artists and technicians in the theatrical, film, and television industries.


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