Production Management Track

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Love movies, but always thought you had to be an actor or a super creative director type to fit in? Don’t let that stop you! And don’t forget that, as creative as it is, filmmaking is a business too. And that means pressure from deadlines and budget comes up, quite often. Let’s face it, when people are running around full of artistic vision and creative flow, someone has to be grounded enough to keep the project on track! That’s where the Production Management Track comes in.

In CCM’s Production Management Track, you’ll come to an understanding of what goes into running a working production company:

  • Management of Studio Resources
  • Project Management
  • Production Scheduling
  • Finance and Accounting
  • Acquisition of Footage and Stills
  • Management of Rights and Clearances
  • Contract Negotiations

This track is especially directed toward anyone who wants to start their own production company or is looking to work in upper level management. Also, as an added benefit, it is a fraction of the cost of the CCM Production and Acting Track programs. Below are some key areas of the Production Management Track:

Key Areas

Making sure all of the details of production are happening, and happening when they should, requires dedicated attention and sure-handed leadership. CCM’s year-long Production Management internship is a full immersion into key areas that anyone who wants to be involved in making production happen will need to know. And, for the dedicated and ambitious, staying for two years as a CCM Production Management Intern will really equip someone to work in the business professionally.

Management of Studio Resources

The specific and unique needs of each project require a lot of flexibility and creativity to make whatever is needed happen. Production Managers and coordinators play a key role in making the difficult seem like a simple process. Need a wild animal on the set? Need seventy-two nuns in a scene? Need the fuselage of a period piece airplane? Need a giant hole dug in the ground so that zombie-like arms can reach up and grab the unsuspecting? The people who work in Production Management can make these things a reality!

Keeping the studio stocked up with all of the needed materials is CRITICAL. Tape, hard drives, tracking purchases, keeping up with repairs that are being done, making sure that all expendables are restocked as needed… Production simply cannot be done without all of these, and a lot more, items being taken care of.

The Internet must be on and working, so there must be communication with the IT department. Telephones must be up and running. And, the studio must be kept nice and cold so that production can go on while lights that give off a lot of heat are making a scene look the way it should.

Shipping completed projects is vital. Deciding which shipment company, and how the package is going to get where it needs to be has to be done correctly or whatever has been produced isn’t going to be seen by anyone. (Yes… A lot of projects are now being delivered online which means delivery via FTP or other means has to be supervised and/or carried out.)

It’s been said that a fed crew is a happy crew. That is in fact a very true statement. So keeping water, meals, and craft service supplies available in the studio is a very important function.

Someone has to manage all of this. That is why people make entire careers out of Production Management.

Project Management

Every project that makes its way through the studio has to go through different departments and phases of production. At each phase, many different people bring their skills and collaboration to make the project a success.

Those involved in Production Management make sure that every person gets each task done when it’s supposed to be done. The word “manage” is not used lightly here! Communication is key. Effective leadership is a must. Working with creative people who bring their talents, skills, and emotions to the table is a reality!

  • Make sure that the brainstorm team has turned in all the ideas required on time.
  • Make sure that the producer, writer, director, and director of photography are all collaborating on the Shot Sheets.
  • Follow up and be certain that airline tickets have been booked and paid for. Make sure that all vehicles needed to make the shoot a success have been acquired and are ready to go.
  • Has all rental equipment been secured and payment terms been arranged?
  • Are all shoots getting done on time to ensure that the production stays on schedule?
  • Keep track of all the footage that is coming in from the studio or field and follow up with the team in post-production to make sure that the project is being assembled in an orderly fashion and that dailies are being sent out.
  • Make sure the editor is delivering all cuts needed and keeping on schedule.
  • Follow through with the graphic artists to be sure that any art or special effects they need to deliver are getting approved and delivered to the right people at the right times.

For sure, the Production Management people are involved in and have a bird’s-eye view of everything that goes on during every production that CCM does!

Production Scheduling

New projects are added to CCM’s production schedule almost daily. Being able to tell a client exactly when their project is going to be completed is an important part of doing what any studio or production company does.

The only way to give a date that is accurate or to meet a required deadline is to accurately calendar and manage the bandwidth of each area in the studio.

Production Managers learn how to plan and flex with changes in order to keep projects on track.

Finance and Accounting

All projects require funding and proper management of those financial resources once they have come in.

Supervising the budgeting process, tracking each budget as production is underway, and then providing a final accounting is necessary to keep any project within its guidelines.

Acquisition of Footage and Stills

Obtaining and using any visual items that are not originally produced requires knowing where to get them and how to get them.

It also requires knowing what size, resolution, and availability a piece of footage or a still has.

The most important thing is this: finding the asset that is just right for what the project requires.

Management of Rights and Clearances

Getting it and finding it is only the beginning.

Any footage, stills, or music must be legally cleared for use. Payment might be required. But there are other factors as well:

  • How long can the asset be used?
  • Where can the asset be used?
  • What medium(s) can it be used on?
  • What credits have to be given for its use?

In addition, anyone, or any place that will appear in a given project must have a corresponding executed release. Making sure that those releases are up-to-date, copied, ready for use, and signed is the responsibility of the Production Manager overseeing a given project.

Finally, it is imperative that any paperwork required to be executed and submitted for music, people, or acquired assets is supplied in a timely fashion.

Contract Negotiations

The price, terms, and acquisition of assets, and the participation of talent in a given project is often the end result of deep discussion, compromise, and eventually a carefully worded document.

Production Management Interns may simply have to be sure that all agreements are reached and all necessary paperwork is executed. But, the ambitious and skilled Production Management Intern may be able to get involved with the actual negotiations themselves.

Agreements to use music, contracts with artists who will appear on screen, and the ability to understand the rules of assets acquired online are all part of mastering contract negotiations.

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