What do Production Managers do?
Production Managers organize the business, finance and employment issues in film and television productions. As a Production Manager, you would be in charge of how the production budget is spent and making sure that everything runs smoothly during filming.
Before production begins, your work would involve:
meeting the producer and other senior production staff to examine scripts or program ideas
drawing up a shooting schedule and estimating cost
hiring crews and contractors, and negotiating rates of pay
negotiating costs and approving the booking of resources, equipment and suppliers
overseeing location bookings and arranging any necessary permissions and risk assessments
During filming, duties include:
making sure that the production runs to schedule, and reporting to the producer on progress
managing the production schedule and budget
managing the production team
dealing with any problems
making sure that insurance, health and safety rules, copyright laws and union agreements are followed
To become a Production Manager you will need substantial experience in TV or film, in-depth understanding of the production process, and a network of contacts in the industry. Experience and track record is more important than formal qualifications, however, you may find it helpful to take a course that includes practical skills, work placements and the chance to make contacts. You will need a good understanding of budget management, so skills and qualifications in accountancy are useful.In terms of qualification, a Bsc in Administration is preferable but you must be good in public relations, negotiation and lobbying.
You could work your way up through the industry to become a Production Manager in various ways. For example you could start as a runner or an assistant or secretary in the production office, and progress to production coordinator then assistant production manager. You might also start as a trainee production accountant. Alternatively, you could progress from runner to 3rd assistant director then 2nd and 1st assistant director, or to assistant TV floor manager then floor manager or location manager.It is not essential to have studied film, video or media production before you look for work in the industry. However, you may find it helpful to take a course that includes practical skills, work placements and the chance to make contacts.
Training and development
You will mainly develop your skills on the job as you gain more experience in the production management role.
You could also take short courses in various specialist business and production skills, for example in risk assessment, or budgeting and scheduling software such as Movie Magic.
Skills, interests and qualities
excellent financial and business skills
good computer skills
excellent planning, negotiation and problem-solving skills
good written and spoken communication skills
confidence, assertiveness and decisiveness
the ability to work well under pressure and to tight deadlines
the ability to manage people and delegate tasks
willingness to work long or flexible hours when needed
a knowledge of first aid and health and safety.