I used to be surprised when one of my tasks for the day was to find a DJ booth or a gold metallic speedo for a shoot, but after 3+ years, it’s just another day as a Production Manager.
From the outside, managing a production may seem like fun and games: filming on the beach, asking complete strangers to kiss on camera, working from one of the most remote areas I’ve ever been to, or searching for the perfect rockstar wig. But behind all of these projects is a talented team of creatives and a Production Manager, focused very hard on the planning and execution of the project. Production management is a balancing act, 100% about details, and it falls somewhere between creativity and business.
Video production can be divided into 3 phases: pre-production, production, and post-production. In pre-production, we meet with clients to gather all the nitty gritty details and goals of the project. Every project is a bit different, so I need to be flexible and tailor the process to the client’s specific needs. This can involve concepting, outlining, scripting, and storyboarding. Pre-production is the most crucial stage. I am there every step of the way, making sure our client knows what stage we are in and when the next deliverable is coming their way for review.
For animated projects, once we move into production, I make sure our team is hitting deadlines internally so we’re holding up our end of the timeline for our client. As the animation department is hard at work building visuals, I keep our contacts up to date on all developments.
Live action filming is another ballgame. Remember the gold metallic speedo? (How could you forget?) Live action is a whirlwind of tasks for a PM. It’s a lot of moving parts that can involve location scouting, locking down crew members, casting and booking talent, wardrobe shopping, propping and set design/construction, and handling logistics for the shoot day. I’m always there on set, coordinating the day.
As the touchpoint between all departments on set (talent, crew, and client), a large portion of my job is planning, communication, and problem solving…and boy, have I problem solved. Wardrobe rips in the middle of filming, lawn mower starts up outside just as we record sound, talent has a life crisis. I’m on it.
I make sure our team has everything they need to create and capture the content needed. And I am there to ensure our clients are happy with the footage. Happy clients = happy Production Manager! The secret sauce is preparedness. Having a detail-oriented Production Manager will ensure a smooth shoot day.
Post-production is the magical time when everything comes together into one beautiful video. This can include sound design on an animated project, editing the footage from a live action project, adding in graphics, color correcting, and tweaking sound levels. Post is when all the special touches are added to create the best looking, and sounding, finished product.
With so many hands in the post-production pot, a key part of my job is to ensure timely handoff between departments. There’s nothing my sound designer loves more than an edit delivered to him on time.
Once we have a first version ready to share, I coordinate between our client contacts on the project and move them through the revision cycle. This includes multiple rounds of revisions on a project. We give our clients many touchpoints and opportunities to give feedback along the way. By the time they are seeing the first version of their project, they already have an extremely clear idea of what it will be.
Make it Easier
Creating a quality video takes dedicated time and resources. The benefit of working with The DVI Group is we have a team of experts, and kickass Production Managers like myself, to ensure a smooth process from start to finish. My goal is to make it easier, make it better, and make it matter. Whatever the need, we find a way to make it happen in the most effective way.