If you’re a bit of a film geek like us, chances are you’ve probably watched the credits at the end of a movie. Like us, you’re sure to be marvelled by the number of people involved in putting together a film. But, also at the range of weird and wonderful jobs and job titles needed on a film set. If you’ve ever wondered “what does a production coordinator do?” today is your lucky day!
In this article, we’ll delve into the production coordinator job description and cover what a typical day might look like. We will also give you an overview of a production coordinator’s salary and how to become a production coordinator.
Let’s dive in!
In a nutshell, a production coordinator (sometimes referred to as a Production Office Coordinator) is responsible for organising all aspects of shooting a film. As you can imagine, this is a huge job to make it all run smoothly.
In most cases, they will start work during pre-production. However, they get really busy during the actual shooting (production) phase. They tend to start the wind down of their tasks as the film gets closer to a final wrap.
Production coordinators set up a production office. They are responsible for organising everything; from travel arrangements and hotels to booking locations and equipment. They are also responsible for sorting out visas for the cast and crew and even making arrangements for things like catering.
All of this has to be done in line with the complex beast that is the budget of a movie.
As you can see, a production coordinator job description is pretty varied. Here are a few of the key tasks a production coordinator might encounter during a typical working day.
They are also responsible for distributing the shooting schedule to all the appropriate team members. They are the main point of contact who are also responsible for helping to work around any scheduling issues or changes.
In addition, they also need to make sure the cast and crew are able to get to where they need to be. The production coordinator will often arrange for visas for cast and crew working internationally.
Also, they are responsible for transport to make sure everyone gets to a location on schedule so shooting can begin.
A production manager is also responsible for ensuring that the cast and crew have the equipment and resources they need.
This would include arranging for cameras or lighting equipment. Or perhaps booking time at a commercial studio. Their responsibilities also extend to making sure the production office has all the tools it needs, such as phones and materials.
As mentioned above, it often includes making sure that services, like catering and toilets, are on location.
A film set is a multi-faceted beast that is constantly evolving. As a project continues, different cast and crew members come and go as the project moves along and there are multiple script changes and updates to the storyline.
A production coordinator is responsible for making sure that all new team members are on boarded properly. They are responsible for documenting any changes to the script or schedule, distributing them and communicating it to everyone involved. The production coordinator also has an army of assistants and PAs to whom they will delegate tasks.
The production coordinator is responsible for fielding new inquiries and returned calls associated with the film. They then have to make sure that messages get through to the right people.
The production manager is also responsible for generating a number of different reports.
This includes financial reports to show that a production is on track to keep within budget, progress reports showing if a production is on schedule and also other administrative tasks associated with a film.
Finally, as a production comes to an end, the production coordinator will support the wrap of a shoot. This involves closing accounts with suppliers, paying final invoices, returning loose stock or getting rid of items they no longer need.
Ultimately, their job is tying up the loose ends at the end of a production.
Although most production coordinators work during the production phase (i.e. when a film is actually being shot), some will also work as a Post-Production Coordinator. This is a similar role in the sense that you work with multiple different departments putting a film together.
The post production processes are very administrative and are centred around making sure that all paperwork is correct. Also ensuring the final video and audio masters are stored and that backups are properly maintained and catalogued.
Additionally, they act as an interface between different departments such as sound, colour, marketing, etc. They make sure the teams have the post-production facilities they need.
A production coordinator is incredibly organised, very good at communicating and excellent at managing multiple tasks simultaneously.
A-Levels or equivalents in film, media, art and design are certainly useful. Some websites also recommend combining the arts subjects with practical ones like business or maths.
There are also degree courses in film and production that will be very useful in ensuring a deep understanding of how the industry works.
Additionally, it will show how a production is put together as well as offering practical advice on how to build a network and find work.
You can also find apprenticeships in the UK such as the Creative Industries Production Manager (Level 7, England) and the Broadcast Production Assistant (Level 3, England) which can be very useful.
Generally, people looking to find work in the film or TV industries will need to start at the bottom in a relatively menial role. This includes jobs such as a runner.
As you gain experience, you can work your way up to eventually working in your desired role.
There are some film production coordinator jobs posted in online forums such as LinkedIn or ScreenSkills.
However, a lot of production coordinators will find work based on referrals and recommendations, so networking is often really key.
Production coordinators tend to be freelance so it is fair to say that salary brackets can be quite broad and of course how much work a they will take on will affect their take home salary.
That said, on average production coordinators in the US will earn in the region of $45k a year and in the UK it translates to around £30k.
A production coordinator is a really exciting, complex and challenging role that is integral to the film industry. If you like working on lots of different projects, are great at organising and communicating and you love movies then this is a great job that gets involved in pretty much every aspect of the shooting phase of a movie.
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