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How the industry works

If you are considering a career in production management in TV drama it is important to have a broad understanding of the whole production process – in order to help you appreciate the part you will play in it, but also the roles and responsibilities of the many other people you will be working with.

You can download Creative Skillset’s National Occupational Standards for Production (Film & TV), which offer a breakdown of the main functions involved at each of these stages of production.

They were created in consultation with industry professionals from film and TV to capture what you need to know and be able to do when carrying out different tasks in a production environment. So they are a good place to start to get an overview of the production process – and what follows is based on this suite of standards.

Although there are differences between the production of film and TV content and between genres from drama to factual, the process essentially follows these stages:

TV Drama Production Management - flowchart

The production process

Taking the main stages of the process it is possible to break these down further to identify the key activities or “functions” involved at each stage that are relevant to film and TV drama productions. These headline functions are based on tasks detailed in the suite of National Occupational Standards Production (Film & TV):

tvdpm - work flow

As a line producer or production manager the major focus of your role will tend to be the pre-production and production stages. The extent of your Involvement in the development stage or in detailed oversight of the post-production and delivery stages will depend very much on the individual production – the size, scope and budget, the make-up of a particular production management team and your own areas of specialist knowledge acquired on your path to these roles.

But being able to see the bigger picture – to understand the end-to-end process from conception to delivery and to understand the creative and commercial challenges of a production – will be crucial to your success in these roles.