Generation Next: Production Management Uncovered

Production Management is about much more than health and safety, figures and spreadsheets. Donna Taberer (BBC Academy) chairs this discussion with PMs about the creative opportunities available in their line of work, and what it takes to become one.

Contrary to popular belief, production managers can be just as creative as their editorial counterparts. In this session, industry insiders discussed the essential skills necessary to be a part of a production team, how to stay calm under pressure, the challenges faced at every stage and why a career in production management is worth it. We look at some of the best advice given from the panel:

Trevor Vergara, Senior Production Manager, Keo Films (Hugh’s Fish Fight, Excluded: Kicked out of School)

  • "I'm a conductor. I don't play the instruments and I didn't write the music, but I help it all come together."
  • "The skills that you learn in production management, you get access to more people on that other side than you do as a researcher, or assistant producer. My closest colleagues are my execs. At that level you really feel like you have a significant input. A valid input."
  • "Never be afraid to ask questions or feel like you need to know all the answers. The challenges are numerous daily. That's what we do."
  • "It's very important to get experience on location. It's only from understanding the real problems that happen day to day that you can better equip yourself from the office. They're up at 6, working long days - you realise what people are dealing with."
  • "A no is never a no, and anything truly is possible."

Melody Ambrose, Production Manager (One Born Every Minute)

  • "What you see on the television, we make a reality. You've helped your reporter get on the ground and get that story."
  • "I've worked on programmes where the laws have changed because of that programme."
  • "It is essential to have that confidence to say "I don't know, but I'll find out" and not feel pressured."
  • "Don't sit down. If you're idle - stand idle."

Emma Lyons, Production Manager, ITV Studios (I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, Red or Black)

  • "Without production management, it couldn't happen. We pull it all together. It's proving hard to attract people, because it's seen as not necessarily as creative, but you're still a part of that process."
  • "The hours are long, and it is hard work. But you get longer contracts; you get to see something through from start to finish."
  • "Try to get as much experience as you can, and get a range of experience. I was a production secretary coordinator. You don't need to be good with numbers! At entry level, really show you're capable and willing."

Generation Next took place on Saturday 9 May at BAFTA 195 Piccadilly - listen to the podcasts.