Some lessons learned from our Grierson DocLab In Focus: Production Management webinar

Some lessons learned from our Grierson DocLab In Focus: Production Management webinar
Watch the recording of the webinar

Applications are now open for our three Grierson DocLab schemes. Following our webinar for prospective production management applicants, here are some of the main myths about this career path busted.

Myth 1: Only "TV People" work in TV production

TV production is not the closed world it might seem from the outside. Production Secretaries, Co-ordinators and Managers come from all walks of life as it's transferable, organisational skills and abilities that are key. Worked in a warehouse? Been an administrator? Organised weddings? Love a spreadsheet? This could be the job for you.

Production managers are the people who keep production on track, so they need to be brilliant problem-solvers, have strong budgeting skills and enjoy managing complex logistics.

Myth 2: There are only jobs in London

There are lots of job opportunities in London but television is made all across the UK. There is a significant TV production presence in Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Salford, Leeds and Birmingham with several independent production companies based in locations the country over.

The work placements for this Grierson DocLab scheme will be in London and Bristol, with paid support for travel and accommodation.

Myth 3: It's all paperwork and no creativity

Production Managers are the glue that keep the whole show together. They're there from the very start of a production's development right through to transmission - first in, last out. They are involved in all elements of a production from casting, scheduling, filming on location, editing and eventually, the transmission. There is a lot of creativity in financial and logistical problem-solving as well as working alongside the producer and director to create the best possible production. There's a lot of thinking on your feet along with the spreadsheets.

Myth 4: It's all short-term contracts and no job security

The production team are with a show from its very start to its transmission, meaning that contracts often last for long stretches of time. For example, a 10-part series can take 14 months to make. So there is often much more stability in production management than other areas of TV.

And there are very clear lines of career trajectory in production from secretary and junior co-ordinator to production manager and producer. It offers strong prospects for growth and development as well as being able to move between genres, broadcasters and companies.

Myth 5: It's way too difficult to break into TV

One of the principle reasons The Grierson Trust and Netflix have teamed up to train a new cohort of individuals in production management roles is because there is a distinct skills shortage in this area and the industry is crying out for newcomers to bring their transferable skills to TV.

Organisations like The Talent Manager, which hosts job postings and matches individuals to possible positions, is a really good place to start a job hunt and Grierson DocLab offers on-going mentoring and career support to its trainees and alumni too.

Myth 6: You need a degree to work in TV

There is no set route into TV production and hands-on experience often counts for more than formal education. Skills such as being able to drive, being computer literate or holding a first aid qualification can be just as important.

Find out more and apply for Grierson DocLab In Focus: Production Management | Deadline Friday 12 February 5pm.

Read the summary from freelance Production Manager, Amy Panesar and Netflix’s Audrey Duffy.

Read the full details on all our 2021 Grierson DocLab schemes:

  1. Grierson DocLab
  2. Grierson Grierson DocLab In Focus: Production Management
  3. Grierson Grierson DocLab In Focus: Editing

Published: 25 January 2021

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