Film Term of the Week

Film Term of the Week: Above-the-line

Film Crew


1. Above-the-line is the list of individuals who guide, influence and hopefully add to the creative direction, process and voice of a given narrative in a film and their related expenditures. These roles include but are not limited to the screenwriter, producer, director and actors.

Often, the term is used for matters related to the film’s production budget. Above-the-line expenditures reflect the expected line item compensation for an official above-the-line member’s role in a given film project. These expenditures are usually set, negotiated, spent and/or promised before principal photography begins. They include rights to secure the material on which the screenplay is based, production rights to the screenplay, compensation for the screenwriter, producer, director, principal actors and other cost-related line items such as assistants for the producers, director or actors.

The distinction originates from the early studio days when the budget top-sheet would literally have a line separating the above-the-line and below-the-line costs.

Source: Wikipedia


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Rollo Tomasi

A Political Science and MBA grad who started FilmBook during an eCommerce B-School course in 2008. Cinema and TV addict. Former writer at Empire Movies, Blogcritics, and Alternative Film Guide. In addition to writing for FilmBook, he also edits the copy published on the website, manages its writing staff, manages the back-end operations, site finances, its social network accounts, and works with publicists, actors, and companies on press coverage and promotions. He has also created and Trending

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