Production managers take care of the business, financial and recruitment side of film and television productions.
Salary range: Variable
How to become a TV or film production manager
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
- a broadcaster’s training scheme
You could do a degree in media production before joining a production company.
You’ll find it helpful to take a course that includes the technical side of production, work placements and the chance to make industry contacts.
You’ll also need a strong knowledge of business and finance management.
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
You could do a college course which may help you to get a job with a media company. With experience, you could then move on to work in production management. Courses include:
- Level 3 Diploma in Creative Media Production
- Level 3 Diploma in Film and Television Production
You’ll usually need:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
You may be able to do a creative industries production management degree apprenticeship. You’ll usually need experience in production management or production accounting to do this.
You could also start out by doing a broadcast production assistant advanced apprenticeship and then work your way up to management level as your experience grows.
To get onto an apprenticeship, you’ll find it useful to have:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a degree apprenticeship
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
You could start as a runner or an assistant in the production office, then move on to become a production co-ordinator or assistant production manager. You could also start as a trainee production accountant.
Another option is to go from a job as a runner to 3rd, 2nd and 1st assistant director, or from assistant TV floor manager, then to floor manager or location manager.
Volunteering and experience
You’ll need a lot of experience in TV or film, and an in-depth understanding of the production process to get into this job. Your experience and track record will often be more important than formal qualifications.
Having a network of contacts in the industry will help you to find work.
You may be able to get training through one of the new entrant training schemes that broadcasters and film bodies offer. For example:
You could also take short courses in production skills run by film schools, regional screen agencies and private training providers.
You may find it helpful to have accounting skills and qualifications because of the budget management work involved with this job.
Professional and industry bodies
You could join The Production Guild for professional recognition, training opportunities and to make industry contacts.
You can find out more about creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- knowledge of media production and communication
- the ability to organise your time and workload
- excellent written communication skills
- leadership skills
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- the ability to use your initiative
- to be flexible and open to change
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
- have a first aid certificate
What you’ll do
During the planning stages of a production, your day-to-day duties may include:
- working with the producer and senior production staff
- drawing up a production schedule and budget
- negotiating costs with suppliers
- hiring crew and contractors
- approving bookings of resources, locations, equipment and supplies
- arranging permissions and risk assessments
- managing a production office team
During filming, you day-to-day duties could include:
- making sure the production runs to schedule
- controlling and monitoring production spending
- reporting on progress to the producers
- dealing with any problems during filming
- making any necessary changes to the schedule or budget, like rescheduling filming in bad weather
- making sure that health and safety rules, insurance terms, copyright laws and union agreements are followed
You could work at a film studio, on a film set, in an office or at a TV studio.
Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time and you may spend nights away from home.
Career path and progression
You could work on freelance contracts for television broadcasters or independent production companies and negotiate better fees based on your experience and reputation.
You could open your own studio or move into working as an executive producer, where you’ll be responsible for several productions at once.