Sign Writer Painter

Picture this: The main character is walking around a back lot set up to look like a downtown area. In her hand is a crumpled-up piece of paper with the name of a business. She sees it, written in fancy letters, arched in a semicircle in the front window of the shop. She goes inside, and the scene continues. But if that shop doesn't already exist, someone has to design and letter the shop window. That's the job of the sign writer, or sign painter.

While the pay is better than that for the average painter, the job difficulty is also greater. A sign writer should know how to letter in a number of fonts (type styles) as well as how to create effects such as drop shadows or italics or, like in the example, writing in a semicircle. The sign painter is responsible for all the signs in the film, whether they are signs painted on glass on the front window ofa shop, street signs, or even placards announcing the end ofthe world. A good design sense is a definite asset, as is a sense of the typefaces of history—you're not going to want a futuristic font on a Western's wanted poster.

The sign writer works with the prop crew on some ofthis but is generally considered part of the paint crew. This means a sign painter also needs to know all the things a painter should know as well as the specialized lettering techniques unique to the trade. The paint crew is the way to start for this job, and if you're good, the possibilities for advancement will never stop.

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