TV / Film Production Manager

Job Description:

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

Job Category:
Tourism, Hospitality & Entertainment

What you will do:

During the planning stages of a production, you may:

  • work with the producer and senior production staff
  • draw up a production schedule and budget
  • negotiate costs with suppliers
  • hire crew and contractors
  • approve bookings of resources, locations, equipment and supplies
  • arrange permissions and risk assessments
  • manage a production office team

During filming, you could:

  • make sure the production runs to schedule
  • control and monitor production spending
  • report on progress to the producers
  • deal with any problems during filming
  • make changes to the schedule or budget, like
  • rescheduling filming in bad weather
  • make sure that health and safety rules, insurance terms, copyright laws and union agreements are followed


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • 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 (drive)
  • to be flexible and open to change (adaptability skills)
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a TV/Film Production Manager, you’ll want a strong educational foundation and relevant skills, but there aren’t specific subjects required for this role. However, some subjects can be beneficial for a career in TV and film production. Here are subjects that can be helpful:

  1. Media Studies: Media studies can provide you with a solid foundation in the principles of media production, including film, television, and video. It covers areas such as media theory, production techniques, and storytelling.
  2. Business Studies: Production managers often handle budgets, schedules, contracts, and project management. A strong foundation in business studies can be beneficial for managing the financial and logistical aspects of production.
  3. Mathematics: Basic math skills are essential for budgeting and financial planning, which are common responsibilities for production managers.
  4. English: Good communication skills are vital in the film and television industry. A strong command of the English language, both written and spoken, is necessary for script coordination, negotiations, and project communication.
  5. Art and Design: Courses in art and design can help you develop a creative eye and understand visual aesthetics, which is important for making creative decisions in production.

Post School

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.

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:

  • Diploma in Creative Media Production (Level 3 in the UK)
  • Diploma in Film and Television Production (Level 3 in the UK)
  • Media, Broadcast and Production (T Level in the UK)

You may be able to do a media production coordinator higher apprenticeship, or a creative industries production management degree apprenticeship. You’ll usually need experience in production management or production accounting to do the degree apprenticeship.

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.

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 for example Uk based outfits like PACT and The Knowledge.

Having a network of contacts in the industry will help you to find work.

Other Routes
You may be able to get training through one of the new entrant training schemes that broadcasters and film bodies offer. For example, in the UK,:

  • BBC trainee schemes
  • Channel 4 training scheme
  • ITV Careers
  • BFI

You could also take short courses in production skills run by film schools, regional screen agencies and private training providers.

Career tips
You may find it helpful to have accounting skills and qualifications because of the budget management work involved with this job.

Restrictions and Requirements
You’ll need to have a first-aid certificate

Working Hours and Environment:

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 & 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.