There’s so much brain and manpower that goes into producing a successful shoot. From casting directors to crew members to caterers, photo and video shoots are a collaborative effort from beginning to end.
In a producer’s perfect world, there’s an expert at the helm of each role so everyone can focus on doing what they do best. In the realm of production, there are a handful of jobs that support one another during each phase of the work.
We’re here to focus on one: the production coordinator. With over 60,000 production coordinators in the US alone, these professionals are a huge part of keeping the entertainment industry running smoothly.
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Production Coordinator Job Description
A production coordinator is responsible for organizing and overseeing many administrative and logistical elements of production management. The specific responsibilities of a production coordinator depend on the size and demands of the project at hand, but their main goal is to support the production team and facilitate effective communication.
Some typical duties of production coordinators include:
- Distributing call sheets
- Guiding the physical production team during set up and breakdown
- Arranging meals, transportation, equipment rentals, and permits
- Securing any entertainment insurance required for the shoot
- Making sure the project stays on budget and on schedule
- Managing 1099 payroll to ensure independent contractors and vendors are paid on time
- Being available to the producer for any lingering to-dos
People in this role must be quick on their feet under pressure and have a knack for effective communication.
Skills Needed to Be a Successful Production Coordinator
Each production coordinator has their own particular flow and style for how to get the job done. That said, there are a few skills every one of them should have to be effective in the role.
- Organization and attention to detail
- Time management
- Effective communication
- Ability to perform and solve problems under pressure
- Technical familiarity and proficiency. While it’s not necessary for a production coordinator to be an expert in gear, they should have a general understanding of the tools of the trade.
- Knowledge of production processes
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What Is a Production Coordinator Responsible For?
Overall, the production coordinator is tasked with ensuring the ideal execution of each step of the production, working closely with the production manager and each other department to keep everything running smoothly.
Let’s go over what a production coordinator’s role looks like during the different stages of the production process.
Before a shoot, a production coordinator will assist in preparing teams for the days ahead. Their to-do list may require support in:
- Securing production insurance
- Assisting with casting calls and booking talent
- Managing contractor payroll process
- Creating call sheets
- Building a crew
- Determining location requirements
- Securing permits and equipment
- Arranging meals and transportation for the cast and crew
The particulars will depend on the scope of the project, but there is a great deal that goes into getting a shoot ready to roll before day one.
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During the shoot itself, the production coordinator is tasked with putting out fires and keeping the ship afloat. This might include:
- Acting as point-of-contact for crew members
- Tellings PAs where to set up and how to support the flow of the day
- Distribute, collect, and organize the relevant paperwork
- Communicate any changes, needs, or problems to relevant teams as they arise
After shooting wraps, the production coordinator is tasked with making sure all the loose ends of the project are tied up. This step is crucial to be sure folks are paid, paperwork is filed, and budgets are adhered to. Their post-production responsibilities likely involve:
- Being sure all folks are onboarded to the payroll system of choice so they are being paid promptly
- All receipts and expenses are recorded and accounted for
- All gear is accounted for and returned
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Production Coordinator Salary
The salary of a production coordinator is dependent on things such as the city they are working in, the size of the production they are involved in, their level of experience, and their specific responsibilities.
In the United States, the salary for production coordinators can be anywhere from $30,000 to $80,000 a year with the average annual salary being around $50,000. On estimate, hourly rates for this role can range from $16 to $32.
How to Become a Production Coordinator
Like any other job in the industry, becoming a production coordinator typically takes a balanced combination of education, relevant working experience, and extensive networking within the industry.
There isn’t a specific educational requirement for becoming a production coordinator, as folks of many different schooling backgrounds can get the job done well.
However, pursuing a degree or completing relevant courses may give individuals foundational skills that make them attractive, qualified candidates for the job. Pursuing a degree in film, television production, communications, or a related field helps set up the relevant skills and knowledge this job requires.
2. Interning & Work Experience
Building actual experience is really the best way to become qualified for any role in the production industry. Volunteering or interning on film or television productions can provide opportunities to network with professionals working in the industry as well as gain hands-on experience in the job at hand. Offer your assistance, express your eagerness to learn, and be proactive in building relationships with the production team.
These roles can provide useful exposure to the production process and first-hand experience working with professionals in whichever area of the industry they’re interested in.
3. Entry-Level Roles
Production coordinators often begin their paid careers as production assistants, also known as “PAs”. Working as a PA empowers folks to learn the ropes of production, gain practical experience, and demonstrate a dedication to and the ability to handle set responsibilities.
PAs work hand in hand with production coordinators, which is the best way to learn the skills they’d like to emulate. Developing the relevant skills is the most important piece of the puzzle. Honing the skills and foundational knowledge that is specific to production coordination is just essential.
In any entry-level role, a focus on developing organizational skills, communication skills, time management, and attention to detail is the best place to begin.
Networking is key for building connections and opportunities within the production industry or any industry for that matter. One strategy for networking effectively is to attend industry events like:
- Film festivals
Attend these types of events when they pop up to actively engage with other professionals and participate in the community. This strategy can help you learn about the industry, build relationships, and find work or internship opportunities.
5. Join Industry Organizations and Associations
These groups are often hosting networking events, posting job boards, and providing resources for professionals in the industry. Participate in these organizations to meet folks who are doing what you’d like to be doing—people love sharing their experiences and helping newcomers!
6. Reach Out for Informational Interviews
Find production coordinators or professionals whose careers you admire and reach out for a time to chat and pick their brains. Prepare thoughtful questions, express your interest in their work, and seek advice on how to get started in a meaningful way.
Informational interviews can lead to finding valuable insight, potential mentors, or even job opportunities down the road.
7. Utilize Online Resources
Social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and industry-specific forums can be powerful networking tools across the board.
Create a professional profile highlighting your experience, skills, and goals. Connect with the professionals in your specific industry, join relevant groups, and actively participate in discussions. Share industry-related news, insights, or your own work to establish your presence and engage with others. Simply put, use these tools to build your personal brand, get involved, and meet people who you could collaborate with in the future.
8. Attend Local Industry Events or Meetups
Keep an ear out for local industry mixers, meetups, or networking events specifically tailored for professionals in the production field.
These events offer an informal, comfortable setting to connect with working professionals, make new contacts therein, and exchange passions, ideas, and goals. Actively involve yourself in conversations, ask pointed questions, and follow up with the folks you meet and have a connection with!
9. Build a Team and Get Started
Collaborate with folks in other roles on independent projects in your chosen field. Working with peers who are also just getting started can foster lasting relationships and open doors to future opportunities for each of you.
As you gain experience in real life circumstances and prove your skills, you may be recommended for production coordinator roles or introduced to industry professionals as you build your resume.
Most of all, keep in mind that networking is not simply about seeking opportunities for yourself, but also about building genuine connections and offering support to others who are building careers in the industry.
Approach networking with an optimistic and authentic mindset, and be proactive in maintaining the connections you make. Building a strong network takes time and effort, but it can greatly enhance your chances of becoming a production coordinator or working any job for that matter.
10. Continuously Improve Technical Skills
Stay updated with the latest software, tools, and technologies used in production coordination. Familiarize yourself with scheduling software, spreadsheets, and other industry-specific applications. This is a great way to maintain a competitive edge as you build your skills and cultivate your specialties in the field.
One of the best tools for production coordination? LÜK! LÜK Network provides entertainment payroll services tailored to the specific needs of producers. The user-friendly platform makes tracking and managing the payroll for independent contractors in your cast and crew easy. We ensure freelancers are appropriately classified, workers’ compensation and payroll taxes are handled, and talent from multiple casting agencies is paid through one invoice.
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11. Develop Soft Skills
Strengthen your organizational skills to manage multiple tasks, deadlines, and resources efficiently. Use productivity tools, calendars, or project management software to stay organized and prioritize tasks effectively.
Communication is a key aspect of being an effective production coordinator. Work on improving your verbal and written communication skills whenever you can! Practice clear and concise communication, active listening, and convey instructions and information effectively to whoever you’re interacting with.
Production coordinators also consistently encounter unexpected challenges and changes on the job. Practice problem-solving techniques and develop the ability to make decisions under pressure when you can. This is a bit of an abstract skill, but a great one to keep in mind as you build your professional toolbelt.
12. Foster Strong Relationships and Teamwork
Cultivate positive working relationships with crew members, departments, and any other teammates involved in the production. Collaborate effectively, foster a sense of camaraderie, and maintain open, smooth lines of communication.
Being approachable, kind, and supportive will make everyone’s jobs easier and people will remember you for it.
13. Seek Feedback and Learn from Your Experiences
Actively seek feedback from colleagues, supervisors, and industry professionals during and after a shoot. Reflect on your performance and be mindful to identify any areas for potential improvement.
By doing so, you can learn from past experiences and apply hard lessons learned to your future projects. Be sure to embrace a growth mindset and be open to learning and evolving in your role as you go.
14. Be Calm Under Pressure
Production environments are oftentimes fast-paced and high-pressure. Take time to develop strategies to manage stress effectively and maintain a calm and composed outlook and attitude. This will enable you to make clear decisions and lead your team efficiently, even in challenging situations. And again, people will appreciate and remember you for it!
15. Stay Organized With Documentation and Record-Keeping
Maintain accurate and up-to-date production documentation, such as call sheets, budgets, and schedules. Develop efficient systems for record-keeping and archiving. This will help you access information quickly, track progress, and ensure compliance with legal and administrative requirements.
Improve Production Coordination with LÜK
Great production coordination involves a lot of moving parts. The best method for smooth sailing is to build a trustworthy, awesome team and then simply delegate, delegate, delegate! It’s all about the quality of the folks you work with and of the tools at your disposal.
Having a production partner like LÜK Network for payroll, insurance, and casting is proven to provide a valuable edge on the integrity and efficiency of your workflow.
No matter your role in production, we’d be thrilled to meet and chat and show you how we can supercharge your shoot with our support. It’s our thing.