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.
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.
To work as a production manager you should:
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.
If you would like to know anything about Media Production Manager that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.
80-110 New Oxford Street
FT2 Film and Television Freelance Training
249 West George Street
Tel: 0141 302 1700
Tel: 01286 671000
Production Managers' Association
Tel: 020 8758 8699
Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television (PACT)
1 Procter Street
Tel: 020 7067 4367
Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU)
373-377 Clapham Road