Electrical Department

Film Crew Position: Flyrail Operator

What does a Flyrail Operator do?

A Flyrail Operator is a specialized technician within the Electrical Department of a film or theater production, primarily responsible for managing the fly system. The fly system, also known as a rigging system, is used to move scenery, drops, curtains, and sometimes even actors in and out of the scene from above the stage or set. They play a critical role in ensuring scene changes are executed smoothly and safely during a production.

What role does a Flyrail Operator play?

The primary role of a Flyrail Operator is to operate the flyrail, a system of ropes, pulleys, and weights, to precisely control the vertical movement of various set pieces and equipment. They collaborate closely with the stage manager, director, and other crew members to coordinate scene changes and ensure that transitions are seamless and undetectable by the audience. Additionally, they maintain the safety and functionality of the fly system before, during, and after performances.

Do you need to go to college to be a Flyrail Operator?

Pursuing a career as a Flyrail Operator does not necessarily require a college degree. However, it can be beneficial to have a background in technical theater, which can be obtained through a degree program or technical courses in stagecraft or theater technology. More critical to this role is hands-on experience, which can be gained through internships, apprenticeships, or working on smaller productions to understand the intricacies of theatrical rigging and fly systems.

What skills do you need to be a Flyrail Operator?

Critical skills for a Flyrail Operator include a strong understanding of mechanical systems and the principles of rigging. They must be detail-oriented, with keen attention to safety protocols to prevent accidents during high-flying maneuvers. Good communication skills are essential, as they must work in tandem with various production members. Physical fitness and manual dexterity are also important, as the job requires handling heavy equipment and making quick, precise movements. Problem-solving skills and the ability to work under pressure are crucial during live performances, where timing is everything.

New to filmmaking?

Get Free Template

Use our budget template to get a kick start on your film project. Get access to dozens of templates no matter what type of project!