This guide will teach you everything you need to know about the production coordinator job role on film and TV sets.
Filmmaking is not just about what happens on set – behind the scenes it is the production coordinator who keeps the show running. They run the production office, where they perform a variety of administrative tasks, such as keeping track of the schedule and script revisions.
This is a critical production team role, with the potential to advance to higher positions such as line producer and producer. Below we have broken down the production coordinator’s responsibilities, skills, salary, and career guidance.
There is so much preparation and organization that has to happen in order for a film to be made successfully. Every aspect of crew management and scheduling needs to be addressed. This is the responsibility of the production management team, often led by the line producer.
The production office coordinator (also known as PC or POC) plays a vital role within any production management team. They assist the line producer and are in charge of the production office. They work with producers, directors, and production managers to complete a range of clerical tasks. Duties include: maintaining budgets, schedules, coordinating travel, booking accommodations, and work permits. It’s not the industry’s most glamorous side, but many successful producers started their careers within this role.
Production coordinators are often self-employed and hired on a short-term basis, working from project to project. However, occasionally television and commercial companies will employ full-time staff. Typically the line producer or producer will hire the production coordinator. It’s also not uncommon for producers to hire the same production team repeatedly. This next section will break down the production coordinator’s specific duties throughout the production stages.
During pre-production, the coordinator will assist the line producer in setting up the production office. They will help with crew hiring, organizing equipment rental, supplies, and supervising staff. Additionally, they will distribute shooting schedules, script revisions, book accommodations, and make travel arrangements. The work will vary per project, but their primary job is to help the line producer get ready for production.
During production, they are responsible for running the production office, and providing various administrative services to keep the cast and crew happy. Duties include scheduling transportation, supervising the production assistants, managing the phone, and working with the production accountant to track the budget. This is primarily an administrative role, and the production coordinator is never on set. When the production nears wrap, they help the line producer to close accounts with suppliers and return equipment.
Like all film industry job roles, the production coordinator needs no formal education. However, a degree in film or business would provide you with a range of useful skills. Furthermore, some colleges and film schools can provide internships at production companies. State film commissions are a great way to look for local film opportunities.
Many production coordinators start as production office assistants. This will allow you to watch how others work in this role without too much initial responsibility. After you gain an all-around understanding of the role, you can begin to move up the ladder. Production coordinators can advance to production manager, line producer, and producer roles.
The production coordinator role would suit people who thrive within administrative, organizational, and managerial work environments. It’s a demanding role that requires long, unpredictable work hours. The top three skills you will need for this role are:
Communication, organization, and adaptive problem-solving.
Additional skills include: teamwork, team leadership, diplomacy, self-motivation, staying calm under pressure, time management, excellent organizational skills, in-depth film production knowledge, IT skills, scheduling, accounting, and budgeting.
Production Coordinating is a managerial role that requires background knowledge in administration and film production. The salary will change depending on your experience, the type of production you are working on (film, TV, factual TV, commercial), and most of all, the production budget.
As a production coordinator, you can expect to make between $37K-$49K per year. The higher salaries are in the Los Angeles area and the lowest are in the state of Hawaii. Like all film industry job roles, there is room for salary negotiation per project. The union IATSE Local 871 represents production coordinators and can advise you on pay rates. You will need to have 30 days of paid film union work experience, or 100 paid non-union days to join.
Production office coordinating is a critical, clerical job in the film industry. POCs act as the focal point between the production team and crew. And very importantly, they provide support to the line producer in securing and managing the production resources. Best of all, If you do well in this role, there is a clear-cut progression to line producer and producer positions.
Are you interested in becoming a production coordinator? If you have any more questions about the job role, let us know in the comments section below.
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