Production Coordinator – Francesca Sardone

What is your job role and what does that involve?

My current role is Production Coordinator on a CBBC drama. The role of Production Coordinator involves a lot of paperwork! As the production office distributes scripts, schedules, call sheets, etc. Day to day responsibilities change but can include applying for child licences, clearing music, sourcing crew, dealing with travel and accommodation, and issuing contracts for cast and crew.

How did you get to become a Production Coordinator?

After completing my degree I worked for a local production company as a Production Manager, producing films for business. It was a great training ground for me and also helped me to progress quite quickly once I started working in TV drama. At 29 I got my first job in TV drama as a production runner, and within a year I went on to be Prod Secretary. I then began working in feature films, and spent 3 years working at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden as a Prod Sec and then Assistant Prod. Coordinator. I left the industry for two years when I had my son, and then was very fortunate to get my current job as a Coordinator when I moved from London back to Newcastle.

What training have you had?

I have a Degree in Media Production and a Masters in Radio Production and Management, but my training has mostly come from on-the-job experience.
What key skills do you need for your job?
Organisation! You have to spin so many plates doing this job that you have to be highly organised. It is essential that you can work efficiently in a team as you will be spending a lot of time with the crew. Good verbal and written communication skills are important, as you need to deal with a whole range of people –including cast, agent, crew and suppliers.

What’s the one thing people should be aware of pursuing this role?
The hours are demanding when you work in TV and film. You have to sacrifice a lot when you are at your desk for 12+ hours a day so you must really want to do the job. It helps that I love what I do!

What advice would you offer future Coordinators?

Be prepared to move for a job. The industry is busy at the moment but you can never really guarantee work so a move might be necessary.
Be respectful – if you are enjoyable to work with people will want to bring you back or take you onto new jobs!
What do you wish you had known when starting out?
That it is ok to turn down a job. I worked solidly for a few years and never really took time off. You can only sustain that for so long.

What are your top tips..

1. Always keep a to-do list and highlight rather than cross out your completed tasks (that way you can still see what you have written if you need to refer back)
2. Try and save money when you are working
3. Try and have a positive attitude – nobody wants to spend 12 hours a day with a difficult person

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