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» Report 2008
Chapter 5 - Profession and Job Market
Sector Coordinates
The artistic nature and particular conformity of the cinema sector expresses a certain segmentation with the intensity and high frequency of specializations required and the concentration of professionalisms involved is where the creative performance constitutes the most important input. The work involved can, in effect, be summarized, according to conventional, management nomenclature, as being of at least five types1:
  • Creative, creative staff, including authors, screenwriters, set designers, composers, costume designers;
  • Artistic, artistic labour, in which are producers, directors, directors of editing, filming and choreography;
  • Of stage, performing labour, including actors and extras, eventual musicians and dancers;
  • Technological, technical line, which includes director’s assistants, those responsible for casting, filming operators, sound and lighting technicians, electricians, prop handlers, set assemblers, tailors, make up artists, hair dressers and the like;
  • Administrative, administrative work, with agents of production, accountants, purchasing, rental and provisions staff…
Within each division there is, in turn, full-bodied areas of specific competencies, among which one can trace perhaps only one common element: the project services, which are actually tied to single phases of production as opposed to the individual film in its entirety (this is valid, primarily, for the first four categories, listed by ENPALS under “artists and technicians”, whereas the fifth tends to be that classified as “workers and employees”). The continuous working presence which materializes for the entire cycle of film production from the initial planning to the processing of a master copy, also this only exists during the development of a determinate work. Potentially, such a condition is not suitable for either the figure of the producer or the role of the director.


The deficit of integration and stability of the job market finds is well testified by the extreme containment of the permanent work force, estimated at a mere 20.8% of the total – however, in the area of production the percentage of hired, permanent labour stops at 15.1% - before which contributions are registered as 27.8% for short period employment and 23.6% for so-called independent individuals: entrepreneurs in the strict sense of the term, cooperative associates, freelance professionals, artisans and autonomous workers (which, for very small companies arrive at 63.3%).
A second particular which implies the very slight occupational nature of the sector consists of the low incidence, also on the preponderant area of flexibility, of untypical work in the strict sense of the term, with a weight of collaboration on projects equal to 14.7% and of occasional collaborators equivalent to 13.1%.
If one amalgamates the area of independent workers ascribed as freelance professionals, autonomous workers, artisans and cooperative associates or consortiums to those who collaborate with projects and occasional workers as well as those on short term contracts, it confirms how much the numerous forms of precariousness – as is emphasised by in the study by Censis – “are structurally joined in a sector which works on order and in which, for every project, the exigencies and the composition of the bodies involved varies”. (Incidentally, one can cite as an example the occupational situation illustrated in a balance note of one of the first ten production companies, with little more than 150 staff members on the payroll during the year: 9% result as having a permanent contract and 91% with a short term contract, with a unit cost of employment on average equal to 23.3 thousand euro; as opposed to a sales proceeds for dependents, as can be shown from the accounts of the group, of more than 490 thousand euro).

Source: Censis survey “Le imprese dell’audiovisivo nel Lazio”, 2007.

The same Censis report reveals, furthermore, that a large section of companies – precisely 46.5% of those sampled, a value which, in the production area rises to 55.3% - also has recourse to young interns and personnel with work grants.
The frequency of unstable work terms with ample and constant recourse to negotiations concerning contract endings or projects (which are very often resolved within a single production) which raises the considerable superiority of the general number of enrolments to ENPALS in comparison to those individuals effectively employed on a yearly basis. This asymmetry, which is shown in the following table and which distinguishes the whole macro sector of cultural activity and performing arts is verified by the number of days in which contributors of the cinema sector work on average.

Source: “Parametri fondamentali della distribuzione dei piu significativi caratteri quantitative” edited by the actuary-statistical coordination of ENPALS, Rome 2008.

From the moment that the number of annual working days totalled in 2007 of the contributors of the cinema sector arrives at a little more than 6.2 million, one can hypothesize what would be the total number of staff – if full time – necessary for achieving it: a few more than 26,950, as opposed to 76,241 actually registered. Such virtual calculations permit, therefore, the deduction, purely as an exercise, that the employment is so occasional that it would be necessary, within the category of “artists and technicians”, to have the contributions of a good six subjects to combine together to form, with their average services, an eventual effective year of working days.
Comparisons aside, the modest sample of utilization (rather than true and proper occupation) of the artistic and technical population, expressed by the annual number of days worked, is put in correspondence to two contextual factors: the rate of development of the sector and the density of staff.


Between 1980 and 1990 there was registered an increment of that sample close to 90% and an increase in “performance” professionals close to 75% thanks to a renewed vitality in the activity of the sector, indeed, this in turn had also fuelled a robust injection of new personnel on open-ended contracts into the category of “workers and employees” equal to 56%. However, in the following decade company activity underwent a contraction – resulting in a consequent reduction of over 40% of so-called permanent dependents – also affecting the rate of employment by increasing the number of available artists and technicians. From 2000 to 2007 production returned, albeit by little and between highs and lows, thereby favouring both a resumption in the assumption of full time personnel (+36%) as well as an ascent in annual working days for artists and technicians (by almost 20%), the number of which, nevertheless, was raised by a further 25%. Such contrasting trend is also illustrated by the following table dedicated to the most recent period, from 2002 to 2007, the latter being the last year for which the data relative to the principle indicators is available (in particular the number of employees, the number of average working days in the course of 12 months and the average, annual remuneration).

Elaborated from ENPALS data: “Occupazione e retribuzione dei lavoratori dello spettacolo e dello sport – Parametri fondamentali della distribuzione dei piu’ significativi caratteri quantitative” 2007, “Statistiche sull’occupazione e sulla retribuzione dei lavoratori dello spettacolo e dello sport – serie storiche” 2008, “Le attivita d’impresa nel mondo dello spettacolo e dello sport professionistico” 2008, “Lavoratori e imprese dello spettacolo e dello sport professionistico: principali dati occupazionali e retributivi” 2008, edited by the ‘Coordinamento statistico-attuariale’, and “Report Direzionale 2007” edited by the ‘Ufficio organizzazione e controllo gestione’ of the ‘Ente nazionale di previdenza e assistenza per i lavoratori dello spettacolo e dello sport’.
*The certainty of the parameters relative to the year 2007 still cannot be considered definitive and, therefore, the reported percentage variation refers to projected estimates..

If attention is focused on the relation between the indexes of occupation and remuneration the frequent divergence within the same year of the distance between them will be noted. This is a sign which both implies and signals how much the job supply within the sector is constantly greater than the demand on the part of the companies, as a consequence influencing the level of remuneration. The elasticity of such fluctuations and their response (more opportunities for work but at less cost and less job offers , however, with better pay conditions) serves as a rival attraction to the natural flexibility of the types of employment, distinguished from those often infinitesimal employment areas.
Nevertheless, the effect of two key factors – sector trends and number of occupied individuals as opposed to individuals in search of employment – translates into a combined willingness which accentuates the tendential, structural rigidity which characterizes the job market within the cinema sector: also when they turn towards a positive confluence they do not manage to start an authentic evolution of the system nor to modify, above all, their personal status as well as the professional and economic conditions of the vast majority of its components. This can be clearly seen observing the quartile subdivision of professional units employed in the cinema sector below.

Source: “Parametri fondamentali della distribuzione dei piu significativi caratteri quantitative”, edited by the ‘Coordinamento statistic-attuariale dell’ENPALS. Rome 2009.

The consolidated differences between the treatment of male and female personnel remains perceptible, in the same way the level of appreciation of younger staff members remains modest, as a result of their lack of experience. Applying mode parameters, the manner of statistical distribution for ascertaining the maximum frequency (or rather the units of measurement common to the maximum number of individuals) one can verify, for example, that for artists and technicians with an average age of 23 years of age, solely one working day per year with a compensation of 55 euro, which, rather than constituting the average daily remuneration represents the annual total.
The benefits, when they exist, reveal themselves to be of relative consistency for the average range of staff members, from the moment that they are distributed in arithmetical proportion to a superior number of recipients, and they assume, instead, a particularly rewarding form (almost a geometrical projection, creating, in turn, a real “fortune”) for only a few.
This “parcelling out” of resources can be considered for some as a congenital syndrome of the job market within the cinema sector, the understood result of both the fascination and forces of attraction which the cinema continues to exercise for a great deal of artistic-professional and technical categories as well as for inexperienced youngsters who reply to the call almost without hesitation, even when they are conscious of the difficulties that they must face in order to cope with daily expenses.
If one broadens the analysis of the employment outline, proposing a further subdivision in terms of deciles rather than quartile subdivision (giving two essential values, those which are the most representative) as in the following table, there is a clear confirmation of the remarkable availability of work units in comparison to the occupational and economic resources which the market offers. The extent of ENPALS contributors which compose, for instance, the first 6 deciles concerns merely 45,850 persons. This adds up to 370 thousand total days, with an average index of 7.9 days per person, and any full-time staff would reduce them 40 times, to 1,185. Of this group of staff occupied in a myriad of micro-occupations, half are less than 25 years old whereas the other half is less than 35 years old.

Source: “Lavoratori delle imprese dello spettacolo e dello sport professionistico: principali dati occupazionali e retributive” edited by ‘Coordinamento statistic-attuariale dell’ENPALS, Rome 2008.

On the other hand, the recourse to labour on standby and short term contracts of minimal commitment have always been a part of the cinema industry. Once they were the instrumental yardsticks such as the lists of special placements for the performing arts (which, already in 1976 could count 10,842 enrolled actors, of which 3,492 were female, in the various sectors); today further studies can be relied upon. These more recent studies certify that their pathological application in recent years is leading to elevated levels of intensity, with a progressive concentration of the same fragments of utilization.

Source: “Lavoratori delle imprese dello spettacolo e dello sport professionistico: principali dati occupazionali e retributive” edited by the ‘Coordinamento statistic-attuariale dell’ENPALS’ Rome 2008.

Only in the music sector, where production is centred on activity which is substantially more “episodic” such as that of discography and concerts, reveals annual employment periods inferior to every division of the cinema sector, which, however, in turn, registers a rate of annual employment decisively limited for the 70% of employees and manages to “overtake” that of the theatre only with the remaining 30% of the three higher levels. Clearly outside quota, as shown by the previous table, is the radio-television sector, duty-bound to the production of programmes and transmissions benchmarked for continuous diffusion.
Maintaining observations limited to sectors of the performing arts in the strict sense of the term through the comparison of the levels of annual remuneration for deciles (following table) renews the observation that the major criticality of the sector emerges from the base of its full-bodied professional structure. Leaving aside musical activity, the cinema industry discounts remunerative handicaps for 60% of its employees, whereas the peak of compensation also belongs to the cinema – doubling even the top of television remuneration – thereby defining the tenth and highest range, that which is defined as the ‘richest’.

Source: “Lavoratori delle imprese dello spettacolo e dello sport professionistico: principali dati occupazionali e retributive”, edited by ‘Coordinamento statistic-attuariale dell’ENPALS’, Rome 2008.

It is true that the employment supply and demand and remunerative levels are similarly structured in measure and form within all creative, cultural, sports, performing arts and entertainment categories, registered, for instance, by ENPALS, the public social security organization. Neither, for that matter, can it be excluded, given the proximity of artistic performances, that professional groups classified by ENPALS in a single sector dedicate part of their commitments in diverse areas, predominantly television productions and advertising. Nevertheless, there remains the fact that the majority of commercial performances within the film industry are of an enormous number, a fact which also transpires from the observations on a larger scale of the work force involved and their remuneration.

Source: “Parametri fondamentali della distribuzione dei piu significativi caratteri quantitative”, edited by the ‘Coordinamento statistico-attuariale dell’ENPALS, Rome 2008. - * The data relative to the years 2006 and 2007 are not considered definitive and are the result of revisional estimates by ENPALS.

Among all the professional sectors of the ENPALS universe, the cinema constitutes, with 29.8% of enrolments, the most populated sector – as opposed to 24.2% for music, 13.5% for various entertainments, 10.8% for radio-television, 8.1% for the theatre, 7.5% for sports installations, 2.6% for sports professionals and 3.5% for other activities – as a result the cinema sector pays the majority of contributions, greater than 30%, to the annual remunerative amount of the whole ENPALS institute.


For this, returning to the origin of the difference in positions, reconfirms itself based on the reference to the diverse and higher frequency of professional contributions tightly subject to quota restrictions: a process which is natural to cinema production and thereby, over time, becoming a system; not, however, free from latent exasperation which introduces into the job market certain standards (with growing rhythms, also today) which are formally classed as borderline. These also appear in respect to strategies of containment of work costs of a particular cogency, such as those induced by the evolution of the multimedia market with the gradual convergence of cinema and television which has had its forerunner in the principle television networks.
This is reconfirmed by another element of comprehensive valuation as the average index of remuneration of the services furnished by the two principle occupational categories which includes for ENPALS anyone who is called to employment or to collaborate with the cinema.

Source: “Parametri fondamentali della distribuzione dei piu significativi caratteri quantitative” edited by the ‘Coordinamento statistic-attuariale dell’ENPALS. Rome 2008.

The ‘artists and technicians’ which form 77% of the professional cinema category against 23% for ‘workers and employees’, produce 59% of the remunerative amount precipitated from the total of sector staff (519 of the 818 million of euro, to which can be added the complementary quota of 41% of the others, equal to 299 million) and, moreover, they manage to accumulate solely 2.2 million working days annually against 4 million (63% of the total) of workers and employees, however, their average daily remuneration amounts to practically double those applied as “guaranteed colleagues” generally with permanent contracts, on average their earned income precipitated in a year to 43.8% in comparison to that recognized for workers and employees.
More focused indications emerge from the details of the “payslips” specific to the various professional qualifications and competencies individuated in the area of artists and technicians and in that of workers and employees (revealing that such a subdivision is not at the discretion of ENPALS, but rather regulated by norms and laws of the state)2.
What is particularly noteworthy is the consistency of the group which corresponds to the range of services “on scene” (performing labour) where 41,902 subjects are concentrated: precisely 71.1% of artists and technicians – corresponding to 54.8% of all cinema sector staff – in comparison to 5.7% of the “artistic” nucleus (artistic labour), 1.9% creative staff and the remaining 15.4% of the technical line, plus 5.9% administrative work which, on the basis of the fixed-term contractual placement do not enter into the category of ‘workers and employees’.
The first is fundamentally the area with a high rate of instability which traverses the whole sector of production and where the position of major precariousness is found having a maximum point of micro-engagements and occasional employment. This is a professional area with absolutely the lowest level of utility (on average 11.5 working days pro capite in the course of a year), equally reporting compensation for daily services less than 17.7% of the same average range of all fixed-term categories, being the component of presences – seven out of ten – most limited.

Source: “Lavoratori delle imprese dello spettacolo e dello sport professionistico: principali dati occupazionali e retributive” edited by the ‘Coordinamento statistic-attuariale dell’ENPALS’ Rome 2008. * Dependent administrative and tecnical staff of production, dubbing, development and printing.

The cross checking of the data of the latest prospect, with figures pertaining to the division in quartiles and deciles of the cinema sector population permits certain considerations on the dynamics and economic coordinates of the job market in relation to diverse professional titles, as well as on their real valorisation as arts and occupations of accentuated specialization and creativity. The high number of staff on the margins of inactivity is the threshold which signals the limits of such scarce utilization (less than 12 working days per year) showing the excess of supply of services in comparison to demand also brings with it the consequent phenomenon of forced rosters with a remarkable quota of persons. From one year to the next, in other words a certain number of general actors – around 7.5 thousand – do not manage, within a period of twelve months, to earn any income which is subjected to fiscal or welfare withholding. There does, however, exist a range of slightly ‘less impoverished’ where the compensation appears correlated to commitments lent for such brief periods within the arc of 365 days that they result in an extremely reduced entity: less than 3,550 euro for 60% of all the subjects with such a title and less than 9,350 euro for a supplementation of 10% units.
The “lightness” of basic salaries, in reality, indistinctly involves all professional figures, even if the effects are commensurate to their relief showing themselves to be diffuse in a manner which is principally extended to the grand “invasion” of secondary actors and technicians with little experience, with less tutelage and less protected, as well as being without their own contractual power. However, descending further it is possible to verify that according to the reports of ENPALS the slightness of the forms also hits a large range of thousands (over 5,600) of artists, directors, and directors’ assistants, set designers, authors and creative personnel who live exclusively from their work. Not only; also within these professional figures one can individuate a handful of quantitatively stable (around 10%) not immune from the turnover which is also forced for 12 months thereby suffering, in the course of a year, the lack of remunerative credit which is a regular feature.
On the contrary, the route leading to the vertex of the remunerative pyramid truly appears restricted. Beginning with the progressive disaggregation of the data (that naturally requests growing caution) there is the possibility of estimating that of the over 7.4 thousand film makers for whom insertion in the latest deciles takes off, there are around 100 who can be described as millionaires, in euro.
It is impossible to objectively exclude the presence of practices of elusion and tax evasion within company activity. This is a difficult aspect which escapes any possibility of census or even of summary certainty in as much as it is hidden. The majority of subjects who are placed at the base of the staff pyramid legitimizes, furthermore, the assumption that a certain part of personnel – generally very young given the average age – and occasional employees, primarily in so-called minor productions (promotional documentaries, educational videos, or documentaries concerning the industrial and corporate sector) managed through intermediaries (often special representatives) end up supplying that area of activity in the black which, according to the estimates of research and surveys of the sector, subtract from the official accounts in all of the sectors and, at the national level, from over 20% of the work force and from produced earnings. Certain trade union organizations maintain that apart from employment in the black and tax evasion tout court there are also a number of illegal and illicit practices, principally in the form of unpaid rehearsals and (still worse) the payment of contributions without remuneration.
In every case one can observe, through the time series of surveys carried out, that in the last decade a slow but perceptible process of creeping impoverishment at the base of the whole system has begun. The development of serial productions with a budget which is constantly more limited, principally in the television field, has been accompanied by only a partial adjustment of the costs of goods and services destined for the video-cinema industry, whereas the prospective enlargements of work opportunities has induced a “repopulation” of the staff base (thanks to the new enlistments since 1998 the number of available personnel has doubled) certainly in excess of the effective work opportunities.
In the film Day for Night the French film maker François Truffaut defined the condition of every director during the making of a film: “The production of a film is similar to the journey of a stagecoach in the Far West: at the beginning one hopes for a good voyage, then one begins to wonder whether it will arrive at the destination”. Today such a remark is also valid for describing the situation of actors and numerous other professionals of the cinema sector at the beginning of their career as they confront the job market.
In the same annual relations of ENPALS on carried out activity and on the state of the sector one can trace a recurring phrase as to that major part of members (always greater than 50%) who remain below the “vital” occupational and remunerative parameters, meaning those conditions which permit a livelihood with a single performance activity.
Such a situation is not exclusive to Italy, at least according to the study “Age, Gender and Performer Employment in Europe” commissioned by EuroFia, the European group of FIA- International Federation of Actors (to which over 100 organizations from across the world adhere, including the Italian SAI – Sindacato attori italiani) and also thanks to the financing of the European Commission of Brussels. Coordinated by the researcher Deborah Dean of the Industrial Relations Research Unit of Warwick University in the United Kingdom and also forming part of the European Observatory on Industrial Relations of the European parliament, this study confirms that “the majority of artists cannot securely live with such conditions” and, according to the average of the studies conducted in 25 diverse countries “5% of these, in the course of a year, have total earnings of zero by means of this profession”.


The absence of income in the course of a year is a phenomenon which primarily affects workers in the cinema sector, however, ENPALS documents register for a number of years a positive turnover and today enrolment is rife. This is also because cinema activity is, above all, together with theatrical activity, the first to attribute, as a norm, the label “artist” and the title “actor” to any youngster, as opposed to that of “director”, a label or title which will accompany them every time they apply to production companies or casting agencies in search of engagements. Practical experience with television companies is recognized as a “power of investment” of an inferior character and authoritativeness: generally speaking, in the world of entertainment and performance it is less important on the CV. The category of cinema professionals, from actors onwards, is so difficult to enter that, indeed, entrance is ratified also under the profile of fiscal-administration and, in the end, welfare. Furthermore, given the scarcity of employment opportunities on set in comparison to the number of applicants, it appears inevitable that such activity develops in the direction of major employment prospectives.
What is also significant is the comparison between the staff members for the principle professional titles of the category “artists and technicians” of the cinema and that of the two major contiguous sectors, in other words the theatre and, above all, the television.

Source: “Lavoratori delle imprese dello spettacolo e dello sport profesionistico: principali dati occupazionali e retributive”, edited by the ‘Coordinamento statistic-attuariale’ of ENPALS, Roma 2008.

As can be noted, the television sector is the only sector lacking the presence of a predominant artistic figure. In cinema this position is taken by actors (68.0% of the ‘artists and technicians’ sector and 52.0% of the total sector), for the theatre there are prose actors (56.4% and 47.9% respectively), and for music there are singers (68.0% and 64.3%), whereas for television and radio the title of actor and of utility actor does not exceed 27.1% and 11.6% demonstrating the latent “draught” which the television – predominantly consisting of utility actors – accomplishes in the contiguous professional fields; a form of siphoning off which both mitigates and explains, albeit partially, the abundance of staff of those sectors and, in particular, of the cinema sector (not forgetting that the television sector takes over half of the economic resources generated by activities of entertainment and performing arts).
Such a spurious form of horizontal turnover, however, does not have relevant effects on vertical turnover, in other words, on incoming cash flow (continuous) and outgoing (limited, indeed almost irrelevant) cash flow which interests the theatre, music and in primis the cinema. It should be remembered that in Italy there are at least 30 active schools at the national level which offer over 200 courses for all professional activities of the entertainment and performing arts sector and which “send out” every year thousands of young artists (not counting the vocational training centres and courses across the country which number over 100). The most accredited of these is the ‘Accademia Nazionale d’Arte Drammatica’ (National Academy of Dramatic Arts) of Silvio D’Amico, which forms part of the university system MIUR – Ministry of Research and University Education (similar to the ‘Istituto di Stato per la Cinematografia e la Televisione Renzo Rossellini’ (Renzo Rossellini State Institute for Cinematography and Television) of secondary level in Rome) with three year courses of study, plus a fourth year of specialization, the only institution which offers an academic degree which has the value of a university qualification. Furthermore, of equal prestige is the ‘Scuola Nazionale del Cinema’ forming part of the CSC – ‘Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia’ with a rich history of over seventy years and which expressly prepares students for film production.(3)
Along the same lines the latest “Relazione sull’utilizzazione del Fondo unico per lo spettacolo” (Report on the Use of the Unique Fund for the Performing Arts) prepared by the ‘Osservatorio dello spettacolo’ (Observatory of the Performing Arts) of MIBAC reports in a significant chapter – ‘The professional influx of graduates in artistic and performing arts disciplines’(4) – on the entrance into the job market of youngsters leaving so-called “universities of the performing arts”, that is, from the classes of three year or five year degree courses offered by a good 25 schools with courses that define such disciplines as “Science and technology of arts and performing arts” rather than “multimedia productions”.
This is a ‘cross section’ of the first occupational range of the sector, that of major turbulence, on the basis of statistical information regarding the education-employment transition produced by ISTAT in the area of investigations (carried out every three years) concerning the insertion into the job market of graduates, and which has interested almost 2,500 youngsters on leaving such academic courses (974 from three year courses, a little less than 1,500 from the longer courses). At the quantitative level, the chances of employment of graduates in the science of performing arts demonstrate differences which are relevant to the entrance onto the job market of youngsters who have obtained other university titles not so much on the quantitative level – 46.7% for three year courses and 47.7% the previous, now abandoned, longer Italian university courses against, respectively, 48.5% and 56.2% - but rather the qualitative level, from which emerge considerable differences.
As to contract relations, whilst around two graduates out of three of those who are employed (62.8%) have a permanent contract, the number of youngsters who have an academic title in performing arts disciplines as well as a permanent contract result less than half (47.6%). Among these, those with a fixed-term, temporary contract are, in proportion, double those who have graduated in other courses or other faculties: 28.8% as opposed to 14.1%. The search for continuous, long-term employment following graduation also, for performing arts students, reveals itself to be longer and more demanding usually taking up to 15 months (in comparison to 11 months for those graduating in other disciplines) indeed, one out of five has to actually wait for two or more years (20.2% against 16.9%). Even the percentage who choose self-employment is decisively reduced, at 9.3% rather than the 16.0% average from the rest of the reference sample.
Such figures highlight the difficulties faced in entering the job market which is already more than compartmentalized and in which, as is so often lamented, there does not seem to open up adequate room for putting the new and younger generations in a condition to develop and demonstrate their potential.


Clearly, cinema activity does not consist of a single, unique element. Rather, it reflects the contingent situation of the economy and national production and, as far as the job market is concerned, it also reflections the conditions, compatibility and trends of the employment system of Italy. However, the scope for comparisons become even more limited when the features which “personalize” the professional regime – the total integration and constitutional fragility – appear in objective countertrends to a patrimony of human resources, such as those of the sector, with a high potential for creativity, artistic capacity and technical specialization.
Together with the same economic values which the job market expresses, the repercussions in terms of qualifications, indeed, of professional disqualifications are a litmus test which every case of abundance of human resources can involve and which the cinema system, for years, has complained about.
As an activity which is decidedly artistic and creative cinematography is concerned with more than concrete monetary remuneration, but with another form of compensation, immaterial but, nevertheless, important: so-called artistic remuneration consisting of the “reputation” which every subject can boast of and which is accredited within the sector in which such subjects operate. This consists of elements which can be placed at diverse levels of valuation – which end up partially being reflected on the entity of economic treatment – and, moreover, maintaining its intrinsic and autonomous value. This is given to each professional by acquired experience and by the number of performances; by the release of previous works and the number in which that professional has participated, based, primarily, on their appreciation by both the general public and in terms of economic results obtained; we can also add by the personal characteristics which eventually respond to the host of opportunities offered by projects in preparation, be they either in the role of utility actors or extras or of roles rather than under the profile of empathy, of the collaboration or the capacity to integrate with the other individuals involved in a specific production.
Artistic remuneration is placed in a direct relation with the individual top names and increases with the development of the individual’s career, this is because of the creative contributions given according to the various titles (director, actor, screen writer, set designer, director of photography, or director of editing and so forth) on the diverse occasions of employment and their contribution to the eventual success of the produced film.

Elaborated from data covered in repertory “Chi e’” (Who’s Who) of the “Annuario del cinema italiano & audiovisivi – 2008/2009 (Rome 2009) and from the internet site “” on 31st March 2009.

Such overbooking of artistic figures, furthermore, risks blocking the development of a curriculum vitae for a large number of employees as well as for many its progressive construction through the accumulation of performances which also favours the level of remuneration on the market.
An insight may be obtained comparing certain figures regarding the consistency – in term of quantity as opposed to quality – of the principle work credits extrapolated from two of the principle versions of “Who’s Who?” for Italian cinema presented on the internet site “” and also on “Annuario del cinema italiano & audiovisivi” (Yearbook of Italian Cinema and Audiovisual Industry) where each individual from the empirical sample is a physical person with name and surname and, quite lengthy, professional history and work experience, without the anonymity which at times seems to render statistical accounting rather abstract.5
Against the sample of those involved in the cinema industry and their diverse professional roles it is possible to count on their curriculums at least 10 films and other works (218 according to the table above, where, by ‘works’ are intended also documentaries and short films) there is a second table which delineates the operators which have, amongst all of the other employees, participated in the production of at least two works and, amongst these, there are also those who have participated in at least one full-length feature film (cf. table 15 below).

Elaborated from data covered in repertory “Chi e’” (Who’s Who) of the “Annuario del cinema italiano & audiovisivi – 2008/2009 (Rome 2009) and from the internet site “” on 31st March 2009.

Considering the fact that within the intermediate sample range there are 1,153 individuals (equal to 48.0% of the total) with already between three and nine works, one has a summary table of the potential capacity for utilization of this enormous group of highly specialized technical professionals and employees already possessing a good amount of experience in terms of Italian cinema production, and which introduces to the market around 100 motion pictures a year, whilst the production of short films and documentaries is near to 200.


Reputational values essentially keep to the type of creative, artistic, of the stage and, to some extent, also technical titles and not to those titles regarding administration or employment, for which recognition is valid in terms of the performances almost exclusively in terms of economic compensation. This is the key, for instance, to the most traditional star system, however, in the sense that it is not easily measureable (even less so for those individuals with no previous experience) it is at the base of the method of making films which is slowly being imposed and where the managerial organizations and production cycles are pre-eminently characterized by team work.
Within the Italian cinema the central axis around which such teams revolve is primarily that of the director whose name, on the final market, constitutes the trademark as far as the general public and critics are concerned and also influences the expectations concerning the quality of the film. On the other hand, the importance of the director also influences the access to not only financial, technical and artistic resources, but also human resources. In terms of the work customs and habits among cinema circles one can refer to the analysis carried out by two researchers of the Bocconi University in Milan, Fabrizio Montanari and Alessandro Usai, who have applied certain methodologies of social network analysis to the study of team productions based on the film casts of the period 1990 to 1998.6
What clearly surfaced were the presence of groups and sub-groups of stable employment and, in particular, three very cohesive and proven formations around the figures of the brothers Carlo and Enrico Vanzina, the director Enrico Oldoini and the scriptwriter Alessandro Bencivenni, Leonardo Benvenuti (recently deceased) and Piero De Bernardi.7
The increase in the number of artistic figures and the tendency of habitual collaborations and casts – with consequent beneficial effects on both remuneration and reputation – on the contrary, places a second obstacle for professional titles: the dispersal of talent. A further investigation by Usai and Montanari, carried out with a third researcher of the Bocconi University, Giuseppe Delmestri, relative to the same time period and again referring to the role of the director demonstrates how Italian productions is distinguished by a strong polarization between an elevated quantity of writers who have written few films and a limited number of cinema sector staff who have, nevertheless, worked on a large number of film productions. Those who have made only one film amount to 330, whereas only as few as 23 have directed more than six.8
If this is a reassurance for a large number of new directors producing their debut film, it is undoubtedly a source of perplexity that the first film production has not been followed by a second for many others and that a sentence has been passed without the possibility of appeal. Such a phenomenon is, moreover, also in existence today. According to the information provided by ANICA 50% of films produced in the last three years coincide with the debut of their authors: 57 out of 90 in 2006, 43 out of 80 in 2007 and 61 out of 123 in 2008. A number of these were also box office hits. From “Parlami d’amore” by Silvio Muccino which earned 7.5 million euro at the box office to “Pranzo di ferragosto” by Gianni Di Gregorio (neither film has been translated into English) with 2.5 million euro, whereas Pino Insegno with “Ti Stramo” up until last March found himself with a quota of 400 thousand euro.
However, it remains to be seen how many of these 161 new successes (in only three years half of those registered as nine, triple the time, of the 1990s) will know how to, or will be able to, repeat themselves. That is if, to the vitality which is at the base of the sector, favoured by new technology, also corresponds an effective evolution with the opening of new protagonists and the progressive alignment between younger and older generations.


The second category of staff, that of workers and employees, presents a profoundly diverse panorama for whom contractual relations in terms of open-ended, permanent contracts with a stable and structured work load concentrating on managerial, administrative and commercial activity which generally is more typical of the manufacturing industry.
The consistency of the dividing line between the category of workers and employees and the category of artists and technicians also reveals itself by the division of the indexes which measure the distribution of characteristics. Just as the skewness, which has a very limited form for workers and employees (-0.91 per annual working days and 1.32 per annual remuneration) as demonstrated by the gathering of positions for the majority of units near to the most gratifying values in comparison to those of artists and technicians which are greatly more considerable (respectively 2.34 and, incredibly, 36.81) and which reveal the unfavourable asymmetries, in as much as the majority of groups, due to affinities of conditions, are concentrated at the base, where less favourable treatment is situated. Otherwise, as the coefficients of variability which stand to indicate the large size, or less, of the variations in determinate parameters in relation to the average considered by all of those revealed within a determinate group: in this case the percentage of the corresponding divisions for the same entry (days worked in a year an annual remuneration) are 46.0 and 80.26 against 194.40 and 522.63.
Certain aspects of membership can, at this point, be revealed – to the specific cinema sector – as to the range of first occupations and, that is, from the moment of entering the job market for those who have just finished their studies. Other than representing a mere 47.6% in comparison to 62.8% of graduates from other courses and who find a permanent occupation, the youngsters who graduate with an academic qualification in performing arts subjects are assumed under the profile of a staff member with high or average qualifications in a proportion which is decisively inferior: 29.3% as opposed to 43.4%.
A final consideration, therefore, can be expressed in light of the two circumstances signalled at the beginning and at the end of the chapter on the relations of FUS dedicated to the professional influx of youngsters with a finalized academic course and entering in the culture and entertainment sector such as the cinema: the number of “young people who on undertaking university studies every year choose to attend the course of so-called “performing arts schools” certainly is not marginal: 4,500”9; and yet the qualifications given in such courses “constitute an exclusive title and entrance channel which is indispensable to the continuous employment developed for the 6% of employed graduates”, whereas the number of youngsters who have found a position “for which any kind of degree would have been sufficient is even less: 5.1%”.

1 Fabrizio Perretti and Giacomo Negro: “Economia del cinema”, ETAS-RCS Libri, Milan 2003, pages 64-90.
2 Legislative decree number 708 of 16th July 1947; law decree 182 of 30th April 1997; law 289 of 27th December 2002; ministerial decree of 15th March 2005.
3 The National School of Cinema numbers, for example, in Rome 60 students per year (other diverse courses of specialization are carried out in Turin, Milan and Palermo); the NUCT – ‘Nuovo Universita’ del cinema e della television’ (New University of Cinema and Television) of Rome, promoted by the autonomous funds CALT, numbers 180 for seven different professional activities (recitation, direction of photography, visual effects, set design and screenwriting, directing, production with 15 students and editing with 64); the School of Cinema, Television and New Medias of the Polytechnic of Culture, Art and Language (which forms part of the civic school system of Milan) organizes 22 different courses. For informational purposes and further evidence of vocational activities in response to every increasing demand, one can point out among the most well-known initiatives the Pietro Scharoff Academy of Dramatic Arts in Rome, that of Lazio, the Nico Pepe of Udine, that of the Teatro Bellini in Naples and the Teatro d’Europa of Cesinali; then there are: Accademia dello spettacolo; Accademia europea di cinema e television Griffith 2000; Accademia internazionale per le arti e la scienza delle immagini; Accademia nazionale arti cinematografiche; Accademia della Luce; Corsi di Doppiaggio; Corso superior di recitazione cinematografica; Link Academy; Master in gestione delle imprese del cinema e dell’arte; Magica – Master europeo in gestione di impresa cinematografica e audiovisiva; NABA – Nuova Accademia di belle arti; Professione Cinema; Scuola Romana di Fotografia; SFX – Studio Academy; Virtual Reality and Multimedia Park; Visionario; Zelig-Scuola di television e cinema; plus the writing schools Golden and Omero.
4 Edited by Fabrizio Maria Arosio, responsible for the operational unit “Istituzione e servizi culturali” of ISTAT.
5 As far as professional qualifications are concerned the ‘Chi e’’ (Who’s Who) of the web site “cinema” contains 11 databases which reveal 2,498 operators: directors (358), directors’ assistants (128), set designers (499), directors of editing and assembly (300), directors of photography and filming (235), musicians and sound track composers (223), screenwriters, architects and designers (156), costume designers (129) sound technicians (281) engineers and technicians of special effects (143), casting directors (46). The repertory presented on “Annuario del cinema italiano and audiovisivi” , reports, on the other hand, from 15 different profiles: directors (389), director’s assistants (32), actors (959), set designers (288), screenwriters (50), musicians and composers (73), directors of photography (87), costume designers (52), dialogue writers (45), designers and sound (40), casting directors (24), dubbing directors (83), cameramen (26), directors, inspectors and assistants of production (47), functionaries and general staff (123).
6 The frequency of collaborations is considered in light of the probability calculations which depend on game theory. Suppose there exists only three objects, if, for every one of these there is the eventual formulation of three preferences regarding how to work: with only one of the others in a pair; with both of the others; with none of the other two. The total combination of these alternatives generates 64 diverse possibilities.
7 Fabrizio Montanari and Alessandro Usai: “La squadra artistica e ideativa” second chapter (pp.57-84) of the volume edited by Severino Salvemini “Il cinema impresa possible. La sfida del cambiamento per il cinema italiano”, Edizione Egea, Milan 2002.
8 Alessandro Usai, Filippo Montanari, Giuseppe Delmestri: “Il cinema tra arte e box office: reputazione e relazioni” in “Artwork and Network” by Severino Salvemini and Giuseppe Soda, Edizione Egea, Milan 2001. The 23 directors who have directed more than seven films during the period are: Carlo Vanzina (16), Neri Parenti (14), Pupi Avati (10), Carlo Verdone and Nina Grassia (9), Enrico Oldoini, Maurizio Zaccaro, Gabriele Salvatores, Mario Monicelli, Maurizio Ponzi, Carlo Mazzacurati, Alessandro Benvenuti and Aurelio Grimaldi with 7; Lucio Fulci, Ettore Scola, Daniele Lucchetti, Marco Risi, Francesco Nuti, Tinto Brass, Cristina Comencini, Lina Wertmuller and Christian De Sica with 6.
9 Data referring to the academic year 2006-2007 in “La formazione universitaria in Italia per i beni culturali e lo spettacolo” ECCOM – European Centre for the Cultural Organization and Management (October 2006).


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