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How to become a Media Production Manager

media production manager careers

What does a Media Production Manager do?

Production managers organise everything necessary to ensure that a production is made on time and within budget. They report to the producer, and liaise with the director and other key design and production personnel, balancing the creative aims of the production with financial and time constraints. They may work on different projects for film, television, commercials or corporate productions, although most specialise in a particular genre such as drama or documentaries.

They assemble and manage the production office team, working during the preparation stage to organise resources, contracts, budgets and fees, and during production to manage the day-to-day running of the shoot to ensure everything goes smoothly. Financial management of the production is a key part of the role.The work also involves booking locations and carrying out health and safety risk assessments on the locations. Production managers also set up castings for artists, make sure scripts are prepared and distributed, and book and negotiate fees for crews and facilities. After examining the script or treatment, they set up production schedules to list what is to be recorded or filmed and in what order, revising plans where necessary to cope with any unexpected delays or problems.

They must ensure any planned work is carried out within specified legal guidelines, such those concerning the use of child actors, union agreements and copyright issues.

What's the working environment like working as a Media Production Manager?

Most people work on a freelance basis. This will usually involve working unsocial hours as schedules will often include weekends, evenings or nights. This could change at short notice if the production is delayed.

The work tends to be mainly office-based, but could also take place in studios or outside on location. Location work can include assignments overseas, possibly working under difficult conditions.

A driving licence and a full and valid passport are essential in this career.

What does it take to become a Media Production Manager?

To work as a production manager you should:

  • be numerate, with a good financial management background and the ability to use spreadsheets and budgeting software
  • have excellent communication skills, with the confidence to explain and challenge decisions when necessary
  • be able to remain calm under pressure and to work to tight deadlines
  • have good teamworking, organisational and negotiating skills
  • be flexible and adaptable, with the ability to solve problems and take prompt decisive action
  • be able to supervise other people and delegate tasks
  • be willing to work long or flexible hours when needed
  • have good knowledge of production resources and techniques, and possible limitations
  • have excellent health and safety awareness.

Media Production Manager Career Opportunities

Most production managers work freelance for a variety of employers within film, television or independent production companies.

After gaining several years of experience on a variety of projects, it may be possible to move into other roles such as producer, director or within other forms of media management.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Media Production Manager that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Skillset Careers
Tel: 08080 300 900 for England, Wales and Northern Ireland
Tel: 0808 100 8094 for Scotland

Prospect House
80-110 New Oxford Street

FT2 Film and Television Freelance Training
4th Floor
Warwick House
Warwick Street

Scottish Screen
249 West George Street
G2 4QE
Tel: 0141 302 1700

Penrallt Isaf
LL55 1NS
Tel: 01286 671000

Production Managers' Association
Ealing Studios
Ealing Green
W5 5EP
Tel: 020 8758 8699

Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television (PACT)
The Eye
2nd Floor
1 Procter Street
Tel: 020 7067 4367

Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU)
373-377 Clapham Road

Courses to help you become a Media Production Manager