Pride_bannerPride © Nicola Dove, Pathé, BBC Films, Calamity Films | Pride (Cast Left-Right) Faye Marsay (Steph), George Mackay (Joe), Ben Schnetzer (Mark), Joseph Gilgun (Mike) And Paddy Considine (Dai)

Production Manager

Personality type:

The lowdown

  • Managing the production budget
  • Making sure the production runs smoothly for the Producer and Line Producer
  • Scheduling shoots and negotiating hire of crews and equipment

Is this role right for me?

To do this role, you will need to:

  • Have good experience of film production
  • Have excellent knowledge of the film business
  • Have a thorough understanding of production processes
  • Be dynamic and highly self-motivated
  • Be prepared to work long hours
  • Be able to react calmly under intense pressure.
  • Have good planning and admin skills
  • Be highly organised
  • Have good communication skills
  • Be a good negotiator
  • Understand relevant software packages
  • Be experienced at creating and managing budgets
  • Have good contacts with suppliers
  • Know where to recruit reliable production personnel
  • Understand insurance issues
  • Understand the relevant health and safety laws and procedures

What does a Production Manager do?

Production Managers are in charge of the 'below-the-line' budget. This covers costs relating to the crew and the practicalities of running a production.

In pre-production, Production Managers work with the Producer, Line Producer and First Assistant Director to prepare a provisional schedule. Production Managers then consult with the various Heads of Department. They estimate the materials needed and prepare draft budgets.

Once the overall budget has been agreed, Production Managers help Producers to recruit crew and suppliers. They negotiate rates of pay, and conditions of employment. They arrange the rental and purchase of all production materials and supplies.

Production Managers oversee the search for locations, sign location releases. They also liaise with local authorities and the Police regarding permits. On smaller productions they may also negotiate contracts with casting agencies.

During production, Production Managers ensure that all bills are paid and that the team is working well. Their responsibilities include setting up controlling the spending, paperwork and liaising with the First Assistant Director to make sure the production schedule and departmental budgets are on target.

Production Managers sign and authorise all purchase orders, and help the Production Accountant to prepare weekly cost reports. They make changes to the schedule and to the budget as needed. Production Managers deal with any personnel problems or issues that may arise, and ensure that everyone complies with Health and Safety regulations. 

At the end of the shoot, the Production Manager 'wraps' the production. This involves ensuring that all final invoices are dealt with, locations signed off, rental agreements terminated and equipment returned. On larger productions involving more than one Production Unit, Assistant Production Managers may be given these jobs. The role of Production Manager is challenging but well paid, usually on a freelance basis.

Will I need a qualification?

You don’t need a qualification in film or media studies but a degree is an advantage. It is also useful if you have been on industry courses covering health and safety, budgeting and scheduling, IT and first aid. You will need a full clean EU driving licence.

If you are considering taking a film production course in higher education, the following courses have been rigorously assessed by the film industry and awarded the Creative Skillset Tick for the high standard of education they provide and the degree to which they prepare you for a career in film:

Film production courses awarded the Creative Skillset Tick

What's the best route in?

You can become a Production Manager after working as an Assistant Director or by working in different positions in a production office. You can also move into film from production management roles in TV, advertising or drama.


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