written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 6/30/2010
Learn about what the field of production management entails in film and video production.
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Films themselves are large scale projects that exist somewhat autonomously, though may be part of a larger corporate or institutional strategy. In this way they need serious aspects of project management where the actual production of it, as well as pre-production and post-production phases, are kept organized and efficient. There are a number of film positions that help to organize and keep track of the production in different capacities, ranging from the lead producer to positions like line producer and production coordinator. One of these that takes a managerial role is the production manager, and his task is to deal with the production itself as it is the creation of a marketable product. The production management area actually extends a little farther than this and includes a few different areas. Here is a look at both production management in the larger sense, and the tasks of a production manager.
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Inside Production Management
Production management focuses directly on the management of the work that is taking place, so much of the tasks that are used in production management are ones that are standard to commercial projects. This can deal with clients as the projects is taking place, personnel, and different aspects of equipment management. In many situations the line producer or other positions may be considered part of the production management department, or at least accountable to the production manager. The general business and other applications that are in place during productions or in a production company in general may be part of the production management department but, like many positions and departments in film production, the specific lists of tasks that are in place in the production management department are dependent on the specific situation and company that is in place. In the general sense, think of a management position that oversees the development of the product content that a production company produces.
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The Production Manager
In an actual film production, the production manager will take on many of the roles that the production management department would in general. The production manager would likely be responsible for the budget in actual production, which would then be accountable to higher positions like the producer. The production manager would also usually be dealing with the schedule as well, adapting the schedule and making sure that it is working correctly. From these two positions, the budget and the schedule are then executed by the other departments. When funded by a commercial institution, such as a film studio or NGO funding the project, the production manager will likely report back to them so that they can get a clear idea of the progress of the production and where their money is going. This is the extension of the client management that the department does.