Prepare script breakdowns and budgets for physical special effects

Business Sectors (Suites): Physical Special Effects
Developed by: ScreenSkills
Approved on: 01 Mar 2017


This Standard is about your ability to produce script breakdowns and budgets for physical special effects in line with script and production requirements. You will need to liaise with heads of department, suppliers, health and safety representatives and any other relevant organisations in order to confirm that effects can be achieved safely. This will usually involve taking into account the parameters of period, location and authenticity. It assumes you have a full knowledge and awareness of the materials, labour and resources required to produce specific physical special effects. This knowledge is key when preparing a breakdown and budget for production. This Standard is for you if you research, design and plan physical special effects.

Performance criteria

You must be able to:

  1. research and prepare budgets in sufficient detail for effects to be

    designed, created and implemented

    1. break down scripts to ascertain the details of required effects in

    accordance with production requirements

    1. provide a brief, supported by storyboards, and visualisations

    when required, that is documented in line with production


    1. confirm that the required level of insurance is in place to create

    and deliver the effect

    1. confirm with relevant people that effects can be achieved in

    compliance with health and safety legislation and that certificates

    and licenses are current and valid

    1. consult appropriate individuals and companies about documented

    briefs to make sure designs are possible and appropriate

    1. document all aspects of risk management in required formats,

    providing this to others when required

    1. identify articles and materials most appropriate for each effect

    2. use reliable information about location and cost of identified

    articles and materials to assess impact upon production budgets

    and schedules

    1. specify what is needed to design, build, test and execute effects

    to meet production requirements

Knowledge and Understanding

You need to know and understand:

  1. how to read a script and production requirements to consider

    when producing script breakdowns, including safety, the period of

    the script, location and required authenticity of articles and


    1. how to liaise with relevant production personnel to ensure designs

    are safe, possible and appropriate

    1. the different types of materials and resources needed to produce

    physical special effects

    1. how to source or manufacture appropriate articles and materials

    and how this impacts on production budgets and schedules

    1. how the production process works and how elements within this

    are achieved

    1. how other departments interact with physical special effects, in

    particular camera, stunts, hair and make up, costume and visual


    1. how to work in collaboration to achieve effects

    2. when it is appropriate to provide storyboards, visualisations and

    drawing aids and how to provide them

    1. how to budget all elements of designs, including labour, resources

    and manufacture, ensuring that appropriate insurance is included

    1. risk assessment processes and management


Scope Performance

Scope Knowledge





Links To Other NOS

External Links

Version Number


Indicative Review Date

01 Mar 2020





Originating Organisation

Creative skillset

Original URN


Relevant Occupations

Arts, Media and Publishing, Special Effects Trainee, Special Effects Technician, Special Effects Senior Technician, Special Effects Supervisor

SOC Code



Physical special effects; Scripts; Design; Plan; Breakdown; Budget