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Special Effects Technician

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A special effects (SFX) technician produces visual, pyrotechnic (explosive) or physical effects in order to create a particular impression or illusion in a film, television, stage or video production.

The Work

There are three main areas of work:

You could be:

Pay

The figures below are only a guide. Actual salaries may vary, depending on:

Most special effects technicians are freelance. The Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU) website carries recommendations for freelance rates. The recommended minimum rates for a 11-hour day are:

Conditions

Workforce Employment Status

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Useful Subjects

Getting In

Workforce Education Levels (UK)

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Job Outlook Scotland

Employment

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Job Outlook Scotland and UK

  Scotland
2024
3802
2.9 %
RISE
2029
3914
  United Kingdom
2024
76181
3.4 %
RISE
2029
78753

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What Does it Take?

You need:

Training

Getting On

More Information

If you are aged 18 or over you may be interested in The Network. The Network is held each year alongside the TV Festival in Edinburgh. If selected you would attend for four free days of masterclasses and workshops which will provide you with the skills, knowledge and contacts to start a career in TV. You can usually apply from January to May.

Trainee Finder is ScreenSkills flagship new entrant programme which offers paid work placements across a range of roles in film and TV. Applications are currently closed for the 2024-25 programme. Recruitment will usually begin around September of the year before placement. Find out more and apply online by visiting the Film Trainee Finder website.

Video

Contacts

The following organisations may be able to provide further information.

Association of British Theatre Technicians (ABTT)
Tel: 07760 549476
E-mail: admin@abtt.org.uk
Website: http://www.abtt.org.uk/
Twitter: @theabtt

BECTU Scotland (Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union)
Tel: 0141 370 1590
E-mail: info@bectu.org.uk
Website: http://www.bectu.org.uk
Twitter: @bectu
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BECTUOfficial

ScreenSkills
Tel: 020 7713 9800
E-mail: info@screenskills.com
Website: https://www.screenskills.com
Twitter: @UKScreenSkills
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UKScreenSkills

ScreenSkills works with the UK’s screen-based creative media industries to develop skills and talent from classroom to boardroom.

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