Media

TV or film production manager

Production managers take care of the business, financial and recruitment side of film and television productions.

Annual Salary

Variable

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours

Variable

3%
Future employment

There will be 3% more TV or film production manager jobs in 2024.
In your local area

What's it all about?

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

University

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 for a degree

College

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) for a level 3 course

Apprenticeship

You could start out by doing a broadcast production assistant advanced apprenticeship and then work your way up to management level as your experience grows.

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), usually including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

Other Routes

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.

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.

You can search for film and TV companies to approach for experience through media business listing services like PACT and The Knowledge.

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.

You could join The Production Guild for professional recognition, training opportunities and to make industry contacts.

Variable

Freelance production managers are paid a fee for each individual contract or project.

Freelance rates can vary widely, and may be negotiated based on the type of production and your track record. 

The Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU) has information on current pay guidelines.

Variable

Your working hours could be long and irregular, depending on the demands of a production. Freelance contract work is very common.

You’ll usually be based in an office, but you’ll also visit studios or filming locations. You may need to travel and be away from home for long periods.

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.

You can find out more about working in production management from ScreenSkills and ProductionBase.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You’ll need:

  • excellent financial and business skills
  • IT skills
  • excellent planning, negotiation and problem-solving skills
  • written and spoken communication skills
  • the ability to work well under pressure and to tight deadlines
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