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Production management is an important part of television or film production, but the role is not to be confused with that of the producer or director. This position is a little less creative and more organisational and administrative, with the production management team ensuring that a production runs without a hitch. Heads of production and production co-ordinators run the entire production, dealing with all departments and all administrative aspects.
A production assistant is the first step towards running a production, providing vital assistance and support to the production co-ordinator.
Being a production assistant is a privileged position and gives a valuable insight into the production process. The entry-level role requires a lot of organisation and multi-tasking, handling the important practical tasks that keep a production running successfully.
Activities can differ enormously between productions and generally include:
Production assistants can work on all types of programmes within television or film. Occasionally the role of a production assistant can overlap with that of a runner, but generally production assistants are given a lot more responsibility and are able to spend more time learning about the production process.
This role is a step up from that of a runner or researcher and competition for places can be ferocious. Therefore, production assistants must demonstrate a keen interest in production, a willingness to 'muck in' with all relevant departments and an eagerness to gain more experience. Working hours can be long and demanding, but this position can offer great opportunity for progression.