Production Management Guide: Function, Importance, and Principles [2023]

production management
Michelle Brannan
Latest posts by Michelle Brannan (see all)

Producing anything, be it a product, creative project, or an entire event, requires a series of well-executed to-dos. Production management is the process of doing just that: planning, organizing, and sequencing tasks to make your production run smoothly and efficiently. 

If you’ve found yourself here, you’re likely looking to chat through the ins and outs of production management. And we’re beyond happy to help. Why? 

LÜK is a production partner for some of the best–Clinique, Adidas, Amazon to name a few–and thus knows what it takes to make a production great. Be it casting, navigating independent contractor payroll, or managing all communication therein, the team at LÜK is ready to guide the way when it comes to smooth, effective production management.  

Let’s get into it!

What is production management in the entertainment industry?

Production management in the entertainment industry refers to the crucial role of overseeing and coordinating the numerous elements involved in the production of movies, TV shows, music videos, theater performances, and any other forms of entertainment content. 

Why is Production Management Important?

Production management encompasses all elements responsible for ensuring a smooth rollout of the production process, effective management of resources, and a final product that’s delivered on time and within budget.

Effective production management is the only sure route to successful production. The amount of money, time, and energy involved in the creation of any project, product, or content requires managing systems that optimize resources, ensure high quality, and deliver a beautiful result.

Key Elements of Production Management

production management


When beginning a production, there is a balance of preparing for and responding to hurdles. It’s important to consider the scope and budget of the project, the creative direction, the deliverables and due dates, and all the folks and details you’ll need to manage. 

At LÜK we partner with producers to take the task of casting and the minutiae of entertainment payroll off their plate. The amount of communication, detail management, and sheer time saved with our partnership proves to be of major value as productions come together. Beyond that, producers can lean on our seasoned team members for guidance throughout. The delegation and teamwork involved come together to optimize and scale workflow for shoots to come. 

Whether you are leaning on a company like LÜK Network to handle the ins and outs of casting and payroll–or doing it all by yourself–you’ll want to prepare for all possible roadblocks and lay out a handful of elements for the task ahead. 

In the context of production, “legal” teams look after everything from compliance and laws to the regulations and legal requirements of the particular production you’re putting on. 

Some elements include: 

  • Intellectual Property Rights: Production teams should have awareness of details such as copyrights, trademarks, and patents, and can receive help from their counsel in avoiding ever infringing the intellectual property owned by others.
  • Employment Laws: Production companies must comply with employment laws and regulations governing matters such as minimum wage requirements, working hours, overtime, employee benefits, and non-discrimination policies. This ties into a need for the correct classification of employees under California labor laws and any other legal concerns that could arise.
  • Permits and Licenses: Depending on the nature of the production, certain permits and licenses may be required. This can include permits for filming in specific locations, permits for special effects, licenses for music usage, or any other permits relating to the production at hand.
  • Contractual Agreements: Productions usually involve contracts or deal memos that detail their agreements with talent, crew members, vendors, or distributors. Ensuring that these contracts are legally sound, properly drafted, and executed is important to protect the rights and interests of all parties involved.
  • Security: There are typically measures taken on productions to protect the safety, confidentiality, and integrity of people, assets, and information involved in the production process. It covers anything that ensures the smooth, safe, and secure operation of the production.


Accounting is simply the financial management of transactions, expenses, payouts, and revenues related to the production process. On productions, especially in California, there are important regulations to follow in payout and employee classifications. 

LÜK Network is a dedicated partner in the management and adherence to all the ins and outs of production accounting and the rule-following therein. Our tool LÜK Pay empowers producers with comprehensive, thorough payout management, and provides talent with streamlined, transparent access to their compensation. 

LÜK production management software
The LÜK Pay platform.

It’s a true win-win for everyone involved.

Stages of Production Management

The stages of production management vary between the particular type of shoot or production at hand and its implied details and processes. However, in general, production management can be divided into the following stages:

1. Production Planning

The planning stage involves identifying your goals, figuring out what is required to see them through (such as team, equipment, etc.), and developing a production plan. This includes setting production goals, establishing timelines, and creating a budget–as well as determining the sequence of tasks and what strategies will optimize efficiency and productivity. 

Folks will often create a production workbook that serves as a comprehensive tool for planning and project management. It’s a central reference guide for managing aspects of the production process. 

Contents vary from job to job, but some elements are pretty standard for production at large. Those standard operating procedures become the guideline for the rhythm of your shoot and shoots to come.

2. Pre-Production

When planning your shoot, you are in “pre-production mode.” This is the point where you are planning, preparing, and organizing for a smooth production ahead. As you carry on into future productions, referring to your production workbook and other tools from pre-production that optimize your workflow becomes essential.

3. Production Control

Production control refers to the practice of ensuring production operations run smoothly, resources like money and time are spent effectively, and deliverables are delivered in the highest quality in the best due time. This flow involves analyzing data and communicating with all parties involved to be sure folks have what they need for a job well done. 

Organization and outsourcing are everything in this line of work. LÜK Network’s tools in particular create dividends on production time saving that cannot be overstated. Having one tidy place where the history of your productions, payroll, and talent lives proves to be invaluable for our roster of top-tier clients.

4. Post-Production

Post production is the phase of a project that takes place after imagery is captured. It encompasses those processes of refining the assets gathered during the shoot. Whether you are video editing, retouching, audio mixing, or adding VFX, this process is significant and requires as much care and attention to detail as any other phase of production.

5. Production Delivery

Production delivery is the phase of production wherein a quality product is delivered to a client or consumer. At this stage, producers have ensured their deliverable is accurate, of high quality, and complete. 

Before this stage, there will be plenty of quality control checks, review periods, and all related communication.  

6. Process Improvements

Process improvements in production refer to any improvements made to ensure better efficiency, quality, or general upgrades to the process or final result. Top-notch producers will use each production as an opportunity to identify and implement improvements to their process. 

Oftentimes, these upgrades will be noted in their Production Workbook or Standard Operating Procedure guide, aka SOP. This empowers folks to pass along knowledge and nuance to their teams for best practices in shoots to come. 

Improve Your Production Management Processes

Producing is a significant undertaking with the to-do list to match. As you navigate your next production, there are several steps that can be taken to improve and elevate your process. In first identifying a lack in productivity, quality, or systems management, you can then pinpoint and foster continuous improvement as you grow. 

One of the best tools to leverage is in building an incredible team to whom tasks can be delegated. For on-set crew, word-of-mouth reccos are key–but for casting and payroll, LÜK Network is unmatched. 

Our tools were built for today’s producers to streamline the talent casting and booking process in ways that wholly lift the tedium and time of casting and paying talent. Give us a whirl to upgrade, elevate, and navigate your next production.


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