What is a Production Manager?

PRODUCTION MANAGER
FILMMAKING NOTES

The Job of Production Management is the job of organization, budgeting, scheduling and preparing for everything.

POINTS OF A PRODUCTION MANAGER

1. Prepare breakdown and preliminary shooting schedule
2. Prepare and coordinate the budget
3. Oversee preliminary search and survey of all locations and the completion of business arrangements
4. Assist in the preparation of the production to insure continuing efficiency
5. Supervise completion of the Production Report for each days work, showing work covered and the status of the production, and arrange for the distribution of that report in line with the company’s requirements
6. Coordinate arrangements for the transportation and housing of cast, crew and staff
7. Oversee the securing of releases and negotiate for locations and personnel
8. Maintain a liaison with local authorities regarding locations and the operation of the company

THE PRODUCTION MANAGER’S RESPONSIBILITY IS TO FACILITATE THE WORK OF THE EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, PRODUCER AND DIRECTOR AND TO PROVIDE THEM WITH THE BEST POSSIBLE WORKING CONDITIONS

The Production Manager MUST protect the film and the interest of the company they are working for

They are in charge with the control of all organizational, managerial, financial and logistical aspects of the production

Production Managers will have a lot of MEETINGS, make sure you know how to run one.JOB IS TO FINISH THE PRODUCTION ‘ON TIME, ON BUDGET’

As a Production Manager you will be expected to know every detail about every unit during all phases of production
-Keep logs that contain notes on your conversations
-Keeps a paper trail of memoranda that details recommendations, suggestions, directives and opinions expressed by and to anyone involved in the production

PRODUCTION MANAGER STAGES OF PRODUCTION
PRE-PRODUCTION
-screenplay breakdown
-shooting schedule
-location scouting
-budget
-casting and unions
-permits
-hiring staff and crew
-unit supervision
-permit clearance
-equipment rental and stock
-lab supervision
-payroll service
-insurance
-post-production preparation

PRODUCTION

-Responsible for a glitch-free shoot and must handle both logistics and overall organization
-Budget must be monitored according to the cash-flow chart

-Public relations must be started
-Together the Production Manager and the Assistant director on the set are responsible for the flow of information. They must ensure that everyone involved with the production – staff, crew and cast – knows what is going on, when and where

POST-PRODUCTION

-Generally the Production Manager organizes the editing phase in advance, including sound effects, music production, opticals and mixing

PREPARING FOR THE PRODUCTION

SCRIPT BREAKDOWN

With an initial first glance reading of a screenplay, an experienced producer or Production Manager can get a good estimate of the size of the production

Considerations come into play when designing the shooting schedule

1. Availability of the actors
2. Availability of the locations
3. Putting day player actors into shooting all their scenes in one day to cut costs
4. Desirable to schedule less complicated scenes during the first few shooting days in order for the crew to find its specific rhythm and chemistry
5. Exterior scenes should be scheduled before interior ones, which are independent of whether conditions and if they can be shot safely towards the end of the shooting period
6. Trying to shoot in script order as much as possible

    * * * * *

    Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Fesival held in downtown Toronto on the last Thursday of every single month. Go to http://www.wildsound.ca for more information.

    Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.
    Great way to get your story out: http://www.wildsound.ca/logline.html

    Submit your Film, Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem anytime to the festival today: http://www.wildsound.ca

    Watch recent Writing Festival Videos. At least 15 winning videos a month: http://www.wildsoundfestival.com

    Deadline for Writing Festival – Books, Poems, Scripts – http://www.wildsound.ca

Tips to Produce a Movie

HOW TO PRODUCE A FILM
FILMMAKING NOTES

FILM PRODUCTION
– How to make a movie!
– How to PRODUCE a film!
– How to be the best Movie Producer

A movie producer has the most important position in film production. Why? Because they start from the top, and are in charge in the entire production. They play many different roles: the mother, the father, the lover, the romancer, the persuader, the psychologist, the soothsayer, the comic, the best friend, the teacher, the warrior, the negotiator, the arbitrator, the dreamer, etc…

The best thing to do when making a film is hire or get people who know what they are doing technically, and with whom you can be in sync, artistically.

Before anything else, the producer must know the end result of the project, and know which path the project will take after it is completed.

THE PICTURE HAS TO BE MADE – You have to do whatever it takes.

The key to being a great producer is TIME MANAGEMENT.

SIX STAGES OF FILM PRODUCTION
DEVELOPMENT
PRE-PRODUCTION
PRODUCTION
POST-PRODUCTION
DISTRIBUTION
EXHIBITION

DEVELOPMENT
-Developing the major elements of the project
-Totally at the expense of the producer
-Selling, money, doing work, showing what you have on the table

PRE-PRODUCTION
-The period that commences as soon as the financing (grants or other funding) has been secured
-Make sure you have all of your Film Agreements in place
-AND make sure you know how to run a proper MEETING
-Immediately follows the development, securing and organizing of personnel and equipment needed for production
-Pre-production SAVES you a bundle in the future IF you’re properly organized

-It’s all about GOOD, CHEAP and FAST
-Know the Rules of Film Budgeting
-Orchestrate all the players, location, equipment, cast, crew and props to prepare for any complications that might occur once the film is rolling
It’s important to think about CONTINGENCIES during this phase.
What if the weather turns bad?
Do we have an alternate location ready to go?
Is there something else we don’t have?
Where are the nearest hardware stores, gas stations, restaurants, groceries, rental cars, etc.?
Back-up CREW MEMBERS.

Make sure before getting to Film Production that:
-Legal problems and FEES are all completed
-Rights acquisitions for songs etc. are taken care of
-STAFF CONTRACTS are drawn and signed

PRODUCTION
-It is the phase in which most problems can occur
-There are no substitutions for solid groundwork in pre-production
-This is the stage of the manufacture of the RAW PRODUCT

WHAT THE PROJECT FAILS TO DO IN PRE-PRODUCTION AFFECTS THE FILM PRODUCTION, AND WHAT THE PROJECT FAILS TO DO IN PRODUCTION AFFECTS POST-PRODUCTION – ALL OF WHICH WILL AFFECT THE END RESULT

POST-PRODUCTION
-More than 80% of what happens in post- can be fiscally determined in pre-production
-In order to do so the producer must have a clear understanding of the entire process
-THEY HAVE TO KNOW WHAT EVERY JOB DOES AND HOW TO GET THE JOB DONE – THAT IS A GREAT FILM PRODUCTION

LOOK BACKWARDS
Think of the project from Z to A

DISTRIBUTION
-Delivery of the product by those who licensed, and control availability to consumers
-DON’T JUMP INTO FILM PRODUCTION WITH LITTLE CONCERN ABOUT THE WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN TO THE FILM
-Know where you are going and why the film is being made
-The key to a successful filmmaking career is distribution – without it, no one will ever see your FILM
-In producing, your job is to create a marketable product

EXHIBITION
-Cosumption of the product by the audience

BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE WHOLE PROCESS

Film is one of the three universal languages, the other two: mathematics and music
-FRANK CAPRA, Director (It’s a Wonderful Life, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington)

MONEY-SAVING TIPS FOR FILM PRODUCTION
1. PREPARE A DETAILED BUDGET
Shot list every nuance in advance. See how the story is going to flow visually – then you can change it. Go over the action, dialogue, technical requirements, camera angles, color schemes, costuming, blocking, lighting sound etc…

2. REHEARSE YOUR ACTORS
Build trust with your actors. When it’s time to get to the set, it may take only a word or two from the director to get the actors ready for the camera.

3. COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR DEPARTMENT HEADS
There should be many production meetings, where every script detail is discussed. The department heads can take notes, do their own research, and come up with questions for future meetings. Once you are in FILM PRODUCTION there should be a meeting at the top of the day to go over what you expect to cover, and a short ten-minute meeting at the end of the day to go over what’s coming up. Then the crew can sleep on what’s going on. If any one of the crew senses that the director doesn’t know what he or she is doing, then all respect and enthusiasm for the project is gone. Everyone wants to work on a first-class film.

4. DON’T SPEND MONEY ON UNNECESSARY THINGS

5. USE ‘BUYOUT’ WHEN WORKING ON LOW-BUDGET FILM PRODUCTION PROJECTS
You pay a flat daily rate regardless of how many hours are worked. Then you know how much the cast and crew will cost at the project’s outset and you will avoid overtime charges which can quickly send you over budget.

Give crew a cut after distribution so they can take a daily cut of their on-set fees.

HIRING YOUR FILM CREW FOR YOUR FILM PRODUCTION
CLICK HERE for rules of the trade in hiring the best crew.

7.CONSULTANTS
They can save you a tremendous amount of money. An assistant director can break down your script. A production manager can prepare a budget. A script consultant can review your script for structural or pacing problems. THEIR IDEAS ALONE CAN SAVE YOU THOUSANDS.

THE GREATEST WEAKNESS OF YOUNG FILMMAKERS IS THAT THEY ARE UNWILLING TO ADMIT THEY DON’T KNOW SOMETHING. ALWAYS SEEK MENTORS.

THE RELATIONSHIPS YOU BUILD ALONG THE PATH OF THE PROFESSION ARE THE RELATIONSHIPS THAT WILL STAY YOU FOR YOUR ENTIRE CAREER

ALL RELATIONSHIPS ARE EQUALLY IMPORTANT

NEVER BURN A BRIDGE – JUST RECONSTRUCT THEM

An independent producer’s responsibility is to know the budget backwards and forwards, inside and out, and creatively finesse the resources so that every cent will be seen on the screen.

LISTEN TO AND CONSIDER PEOPLE’S IDEAS CAREFULLY

People skills are the number one advantage of any kind of filmmaking. Having good people skills, evoking a good performance out of the cast, crew, PAs, studio people and investors, and being able to have people share and believe in your visions and stories are absolutely paramount to the success of any director.

YOU HAVE TO LISTEN TO PEOPLE YOU DISAGREE WITH – TAKE THOSE CRITICISMS FOR WHAT THEY ARE AND LEARN FROM THEM

Your weaknesses can be covered by clever hires.

REMEMBER
1) this is an adventure
2) it is a test of everything that you are
3) it’s only a movie
4) keep a sense of humor, and you’ll be just fine

 

_____

Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Fesival held in downtown Toronto on the last Thursday of every single month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.