Production Manager (factual) – Melanie Rainbow

What is your job role and what does that involve?

I am a Production Manager, I generally work with a Production Co-ordinator and maybe a Production Secretary. We oversee and implement what the editorial team need, from organising equipment & crew, booking travel, sorting permissions, obtaining road closures, booking security, make up, wardrobe, drawing up schedules, drawing up contracts, paying invoices and expenses. There is a long list of responsibilities.

How did you start out in this line of work?

By accident really, through a friend who had been let down. They offered me a job as a runner, making tea for a Saturday morning sports show. I had to print off scripts and organise tea runs then it quickly went from there. I can assure you the printer always breaks when you need it!

What training have you had?

None other than Health & safety. Common sense, asking questions, being eager to learn and being keen can get you a long way.

 What are a few of your career highlights so far?

I’ve worked on many successful firsts, the first ever Snog Marry Avoid? The first First Dates to name a couple. Studio shows are quite rewarding too as you can see all the hard work come together, who doesn’t love a huge spinning glitter ball?

What key skills do you need for your job?

Organisational skills and multi tasking skills. Having the ability to listen to one conversation whilst replying to an email or text. Prioritising, as a lot of requests can come at you thick & fast.

What’s the one thing people should be aware of pursuing this role?

You need to love Excel, it will be your friend for life, but will also cause you a few headaches!

What advice would you offer to those looking to do what you do?

Start as a runner, work up to Prod Sec (or 3rd Ad etc)  and go from there. Muck in, just because your particular task is completed does not mean you can’t help others.

Always invest in comfy shoes and layers.

What do you wish you had known when starting out?

You learn something new on every production that you do, often what appears to be a dull project on paper can be the most fun & rewarding

What are your top tips..?

Always muck in, everyone wants to go home at a reasonable hour.

Learn to make good coffee & tea, everyone will love you. Or cake… if you can bake people love you even more!


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