Production

What Does a Production Coordinator Do?

Assemble

By Assemble

November 10, 2021

The Production Coordinator in Film and TV

If a producer is the person who enables the creative vision of a project with financing, resources and talent and the line producer or production manager oversees all operations and logistics, it’s the production coordinator’s job to facilitate administrative operations to make it all run smoothly.  Maybe not the most glamorous of jobs, but one of the most important in the crew hierarchy.  

The Production Coordinator Roles and Responsibilities

The production coordinator’s job begins in pre-production setting up the office, then heats up during production and continues through wrap, assisting the production manager in tying up all loose ends. The role can have many moving parts, but the main role is in the “coordinator” part of the title making sure that the producers, cast and crew have what they need during production.

  • The Production Office:  Get cozy. If you are gunning for the production coordinator position, you will be the first person in the office and often the last to leave.  In pre-production, that means ordering supplies and equipment for the office, onboarding new hires, sending and reviewing start paperwork (deal memos, payroll forms, non-disclosure agreements), filling out vendor forms (contracts and payment authorizations). Collecting, reviewing and coordinating with the production accountant on crew members time cards, handling credit card receipts and creating expense reports. Making sure the budget accurately reflects expenditures and identifying any overages, concerns or discrepancies. Using a top notch production software system can be extremely useful.


  • Coordinating Travel: This includes arranging flights, car rentals and hotels as well as any location scouting needed in pre-production. This might include arranging work permits and visas for cast and crew.


  • Distribution of relevant information: One of the key responsibilities is making sure important information is communicated to the cast and film crew and that payroll goes off without a hitch. This includes creating and distributing call sheets, updating cast, crew and vendor lists, creating “sides” (the pages of the script that are being shot during that day of production), any script revisions, updated schedules, relevant itineraries, daily status reports and handing out payroll while troubleshooting any payment issues.


  • Managing and Organizing: Production assistants assigned to the production office report directly to the production coordinator. For the production coordinator, they will often assist with ordering and organizing office supplies, taking and picking up food orders, coordinating rooms for script reads or production meetings and if the office or production is on a studio lot, issuing security clearances or “drive ons” to gain access to the production office or film set.


  • Wrap Duties: Works with the production manager or line producer to ensure that all final invoices for services provided are received, checked and paid and that all rental agreements are terminated, and equipment returned on time.

How to Become a Production Coordinator

You now know the answer to “what does a production coordinator do”, but how do you get the job?

Working as an office administrator, production accountant or production assistant is a great training ground.  Any type of position where you’ve gained experience doing administrative duties such as organizing, conducting research, scheduling meetings or travel, typing documents and distributing information is valuable.

The coordinator works with budgets so any experience as a bookkeeper or accountant where you’ve dealt with payroll and worked closely with producers preparing schedules and budgets for film productions is helpful. Also managing the day-to-day accounting financial reporting against the budgets is a natural fit for the job. 

One of the most important preparations you can do is understanding what each department needs and how they are interconnected. Working as an office PA gives you the perfect perspective and is the kind of entry level job that can lead to more responsibility and a path to the production coordinator position.

Finally, the film industry is driven by relationships. Join organizations and social groups that will allow you to meet more people in the film community. You may be able to find an apprenticeship or a shadowing opportunity in a production office to gain experience. People tend to hire who they know and who has proven to be reliable, smart, easy to get along with and hard working.  You can’t underestimate the social aspect. Remember, this business is long hours and deciding who is next to you on those 12 to 16 hour days can be a powerful factor.

Production Coordinator Salary

The local union covering production coordinators is IATSE Local 871. Salaries are determined by the budget of the production and are divided into a tier system. There is also a delineation between production and non-production cities where the base minimum salary differs slightly.  

Assemble has a comprehensive breakdown of the tiers and crew salaries here, but a production coordinator’s base minimum salary breaks down as such according to the most recent IATSE agreement:

Title

Tier 1

Tier 2/ production city

Tier 2/ non-production city

Tier 3 / production city

Tier 3/ non-production city

Production Coordinator

$29.57 hour

$37.77  per hour

$35.87 per hour

$39.74 per hour

$37.77 per hour

Production Coordinator Wrap Up

The key to being a successful production coordinator is having superhuman organizational skills, accounting experience, technology proficiency and to excel as a team player. You should know how to provide support above and below you on the hierarchy chart, have a great work ethic, terrific communication, problem-solving ability, be flexible and adaptable and possess fantastic interpersonal skills.  In other words, be someone everyone can depend on to get the job done right.

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