Budget and schedule are the two main concerns of a line producer. In this capacity, the line producer needs to work closely with the director, unit production manager (unless, of course, in a classic plot twist, the line producer is also the UPM) and other key department personnel to come up with a schedule that fits the budget. The line producer also acts as the de facto manager of all the major pre-production team. On top of all that, the line producer needs to deal with all the major legal issues and permits, as well as make regular financial reports to the other producers. And even with all that responsibility, line producer is still a better job than…
So you’re gathering your production design people, camera people, location people, casting people…whoa, that’s kind of a lot of people. Maybe you should have somebody who can keep all of them straight? That’s where your production management team comes into play. Sure, this may seem like adding more people to solve the issue of too many people…but trust us, it will be a lot easier in the long run.
Line Producer / UPM
Sometimes, there’s no getting around the fact that certain roles on a production are just tiring and thankless. Meet your production coordinator! It has all the paperwork and organizational responsibility of line producer or unit production manager work, with none of the power or glamour. The coordinator’s main task in pre-production is to set up the production office. Sounds pretty simple, right? Even if you’re lucky enough to have an office that’s not somebody’s living room, the production coordinator still has to show up an hour early every day to handle all day-to-day scheduling and forms, ranging from call sheets to filming permits to the visa for that cast member you just found out is actually Canadian. And all of this is BEFORE the 4am call times during production.
Learn more about the Production Management team and their specific role on a production, and see what established Line Producers and UPMs have to say about the job in the videos below: