know more about production manager : the production manager

tout savoir sur le responsable de production : le directeur de production

The director of Production


For the recovery of the articles which, for reasons of time, will appear every 15 days instead of every week, for a long time, I would like to talk to you about the director of production. It is a key figure in the production of a film and it is also, when one is a technician, the first person you meet or who calls us. I’ll explain the role of the production manager, to tell you his salary and his responsibilities…in short, you’ll learn all about this exciting profession and the role it plays on a shoot.

To begin with, I would say that the production manager is a bit like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get ;o). These almost 18 years, I stumbled on the men and women holding this position, on of the cons (of bitches), people imbued with their person, of the gentiles (girls), old-old who does not tell a story, the pros, the cinema lovers, adventurers, people with whom I would like to work more often. In short, as many cases as people, projects, etc…

A production manager is that used for what ?

This position is involved in all stages of the production of a film, a short, a tv movie or a series. Its role is to ensure that the financial of a project but also that all trades are gathered (relevant) and all work in the same direction. The production manager must also ensure that the work plan and the order of shooting are well respected while being vigilant about the working conditions and the application of the labour code.

Who hires the production manager, and when ?

Let’s be clear, it is the producer who hires the production manager so that it can read the scenario. At this time, the movie is still a project and the producer needs to know a little more specifically where it’s going and what the script implies in terms of human costs and technique. The first work of the director of production will, therefore, be read the scenario and begin to make the estimated budget.

ATTENTION : you must do the difference between the producer who is in charge of finding the money by making a plan of financing, that is to say, how and where it will be able to find the money and the production director that makes his quote.


I see you coming with your big clogs, you wonder why it happens in this order. It would make more sense to first do an estimate and then to search for the money. In fact, the producer is a quote to the ladle and then will look for partners and funding. Once that the production manager comes into play, it must identify if the funding plan is good or not. In the case where the estimate exceeds the funding plan, the producer must begin the hunt for other partners and sources of funding. Depending on the remaining amount to come by, the producer can still make the decision to start the production by saying that the rest of the money he will find before the closure of the budget. On one of the last projects on which I worked, the financing was completed during the first week of shooting.


Just after you have verified the quote, the producer starts the production. The production manager must take note of the castings that the director made. As soon as it validates a comedian (with the agreement of the producer and sometimes the chain), the production manager will make contact with agents and pushing the actors. He already sees if the actor is available for the period, negotiates the character and the items contained in the contract : lodge perso, driver lost, supplements in the lodge etc…

For the negotiation, the production manager knows exactly the margin of maneuvers that he has seen that it is he who holds the purse strings of the film. Therefore, it can accept a postmark as high for a comedian and lowered, flush with down to earth, with the stamp of another to be in equilibrium at the level of its budget.

For the mini-series Virginia Saviour, I have been dealing with the director and the production manager first. During any phase of scouting, these two people were my unique audience. That is to say, the importance of the role of the production manager. I should not convince only the director but also the dir prod.

You should know that on a film, the director or the director chooses his 1er assistant and chief operator, but the rest of the team is the production manager that the monte. While it is true that the chief operator chooses its chef machino and electro , but it may be that this is the dir prod that to make the first searches at the case where it runs in the region and that he was forced to find technicians on site.

The same way as it is the production manager who hires and negotiates the filming equipment based on the equipment lists of the heads of teams. He has to go back to the heads if their lists are too high, despite the deals and negotiations of the director of production with the hosts. It goes without saying that the quotation, contracts, agreements and all financial data must be set prior to the commencement of filming.

What is the role of a production manager during the filming ?

The director of production is always close to the tray, without being stuck. Often the dir prod come to ” run the day “ which allows them to have a link with the team, the actors and the director. Then once the first plan is ready to be put in a box, he joined his production office a few hundred meters up the plateau, and leads his team consisting ofa production administrator , which sets out the pay sheets, and plays a role of accounting and the secretary of production which relieves the director of production of purchase orders and the secretariat. She was also the one who types and corrects the map service before approval by the production manager and do a last check on the 2nd and then 1st asssistant front of the fire and give it to the Commissioner assistant to the distributes it to all the team at the end of the day.

On the plateau, the production manager is there to manage invoices, purchase orders, permissions, sign cheques, etc…But each day also has its share of unforeseen events or tensions and the production manager must find solutions. This could be : find additional hardware, to accept overtime for the good of the staging, find a doctor to a comedian suffering, but above all keep the cap budget and the stage, at all costs.

Its primary role on the board it is especially to make the link between the production and what is happening on the plateau. The production manager must keep an account of the atmosphere and of the progress of the project to the producer, each and every day.

And after ?

Once the last plane is in the box, the production manager was ” made “ to do. That is to say that it must close all pending cases, salaries, conventions, solve problems in case of accident or damage to the premises, decorations. For a feature film it takes 10 to 15 days to finish.

The production manager also follows up the post-production, that is to say : editing, calibration, mixing, etc…It may be that the producer hires a director of post-production, the director of post-production follows all the steps of after turning in respecting the initial budget, the director of production.

The salary of a director of production

The tv production director is paid weekly, like any technician, he wins 2343 euros/ week. This salary means gross.

At the cinema the pay is also weekly, it is : 2506 euros/ week gross.

You can find all the courses to become production manager in the articles on schools and BTS. It happens quite often that the managers, the assistants become director of production. Like all the trades of the cinema (or almost) there is always a way to get there without having done the adequate studies. Attention, this is never easy, sometimes it takes more time, it is also necessary to provide rebates to upgrade, follow the stages, but the game is worth the candle.

I would like to add that the post of director/ director of production is a position of responsibility and that each mistake can cost thousands of euros to the production, jeopardizing the film, or even end up in prison !


That’s it for this article : ” director of production “. Let me have your comments at the bottom of the article.

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Tom Weil

Category: Uncategorized

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