When a child is asked the question, “who do you want to be when you grow up?” his or her answer would most likely be any of the commonest professional titles the world hears more often—anything ranging from a “doctor” to an “engineer.” On a particularly rare occasion would a child say that he or she aspires to be, for instance, a “crossword-puzzle writer”, or an “ice-cream taster.” It could either be that the child is actually focused on being a doctor, or it possibly does not have the slightest clue that building colossal structures using Legos in Legoland is a real profession.
The world is as broad as the ocean when it comes to jobs, and we have merely scratched the surface in knowing a morsel of them. Hidden away underneath the heaps of teachers and doctors are an assortment of jobs that sound too extraordinary and less essential to be factual. In truth, however, these jobs support the economy while being crucial in their own way, and even more than that, they honestly sound more interesting than the commonest of jobs we see today.
There is always a reason behind the heart-rending smile or the perfectly timed, high-pitched cry a baby would make in a movie or a television commercial. More often than not, a baby-wrangler is responsible for influencing this outcome.
A baby-wrangler’s job is to control the emotions of a baby, to make it happy or sad depending on the theme of the set. Babies are fickle, sensitive to the tension in an atmosphere, and a lot can depend on a baby alone, be it in marketing or a movie. To set the mood of a child star, a baby-wrangler works behind the camera dancing, singing, laughing, making faces near the photographer, or even at times, fake-crying in order to make a baby cry.
Sound is a vital aspect of film and theatre. At times, even sounds as negligible as footsteps, creaking stairs or liquid being poured could make the most significant difference. The simple crunch of a monkey biting through fruit or the peck from a bird’s beak on wood enormously contributes to the sense of realism producers intend to provide through a nature documentary film. In theatre, the sound of the crack of an actor’s bone may be as important to the story as the plot is.
These sounds, however, are generally not made during the filming of the movie, no microphone is installed close to the bird, and an actor does not, indeed, break a bone. The credit for these sound effects go to the foley artists in the crew, who work with the images of the screen post-production, pairing sounds up with movements. Foley artists have to be sharp and observant enough to carefully sync the sounds with the images. They are also creative in finding ways to create these sounds by gathering the correct but most unusual of objects and materials and making the perfect movements that produce the right sound.
As absurd as the title may sound, professional crime is an ironically legitimate job.
Professional criminals receive a paycheck for committing crimes, such as theft and swindling, as these are people hired by companies to carry out break-ins to detect glitches and errors in their security. Professional criminals also referred to as security consultants, are meticulous individuals that use skilled techniques to perform their jobs, and can be classified into two, namely physical consultants and IT consultants. Physical security consultants are capable of all that from evading cameras to decoding safe locks, while IT security consultants are experts in the digital fields, hacking into systems in all possible ways. Professional criminals sniff out defects and also suggest solutions and improvements that can be done.
Experts in zoology relating to insects, or entomologists may at times join film production crews for the purpose of taming and training insects for the screen. Steven Kutcher, an entomologist dubbed “The Bug Man of Hollywood”, for instance, lives up to this title by working with film crews whenever live insects are used on set instead of CGI. He holds credit for much of the insect-related work done in Spider-Man, Arachnophobia, Roadhouse 66 and Exorcist II.
Film-crew entomologists such as Kutcher have thoroughly studied the behaviour of insects so as to develop methods to get them to perform what they want. On the set of Arachnophobia, Kutcher used invisible vibrating wires to lure a spider into a slipper. He advised the film crew to install a large studio light in front of a cage of locusts to get them to climb to the screen of the cage during the production of Exorcist II. He had to install a cap on the stinger of a scorpion so it could not harm the actor as it crawled on his shoulder in Roadhouse 66. An entomologist working with a film crew must abide by the rule of not harming the insects while ensuring that it also does not harm any of the crew members. But Kutcher takes pleasure in his job, saying, “the world is filled with people who do not like insects which is a great opportunity to teach those people the joys and wonders of all of the arthropods in the world and how you can relate to them. And when you understand how they work, the world is a better place.”
Long description short, all that an ice-cream taster is responsible for is trying flavors and creating new flavors all day.
As easy and enjoyable as the job might sound, an ice-cream taster, also called a flavorologist and a sensory analyst is required of much more than a willing mouth. Ice-cream tasting is part of science and marketing as much as it is product development, and an employee is expected to be creative enough to generate new flavours, have a perceptive palate (which is the mouth), patience and imagination. Ice-cream tasters judge the flavour, appearance, consistency and flavour of the ice cream, with tasting done on about 30 flavours and 60 samples on an average day. Besides being excellent in duties that include designing flavour concepts and performing quality assurance tests, an ice-cream taster is typically qualified with a degree in food science.
By Mischelle Rupasinghe