The Basics of the Production Office

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We get asked all the time, “What makes a production office, what do I need to have?” So today we thought we would share a very basic structure for you and a few tips.

Every great production owes much of it’s success to their production office. The production office is the very core of your production. The more organized and efficient your production office is, the smoother your entire production will be. This is where all your communications are handled. The production office negotiates any deals that need to be made, hires crew, handles logistics, purchases, and sales. All vital paperwork and forms go through your production office, including all of your budgets and insurance. This office is your think-tank, having to find solutions to problems your production hits. They also keep your crews needs met, both individual and production wide. Production offices are constantly buzzing, taking on massive workloads during their 12-15 hour shifts. Usually your production office will house, at a minimum, the following:

  • One Executive Producer with assistant.
  • One Producer with assistant.
  • The Director with assistant.
  • The Production Manager / Production Supervisor.
  • The Production Coordinator
  • If needed, a travel / shopping coordinator.
  • The accounting department which generally consists of a few independently locking offices. The number needed will be determined by the number of accounting staff.
  • The location Manager and any assistants.
  • Up to three Assistant Directors with a few Production Assistants.
  • The transportation department of 1-3 staff.
  • The art department. This is a large department consisting of a production designer, art director, set designer, set decorator, lead person, a set dresser, property master, assistant property master, and a department coordinator. *This department will need a large area that can be sectioned off into office space.
  • The unit publicist.
  • Desk space should be allocated for the stunt coordinator and director of photography.
  • A bullpen area for the assistant production coordinator, production secretary with at least two office assistants.
  • A meeting room.
  • A kitchen or break area that can be set up for craft service.
  • A separate area for photocopying, and faxing

There are some additional questions you may have to ask to determine the space needed. How many more producers will need offices? Will any other departments be housed there? Will props, dressing, camera, sound or photography need storage space? Will editing be done there? Once you have answered these questions, or any others that might pertain to your production, you can begin the search for your space.

When staffing your production office, choose a production coordinator, assistant coordinator and production secretary who are organized and have good interpersonal skills. These are the people who will interact with your entire production, they need to be able to be accommodating, and polite while still holding everyone to a ridged process. Not something that’s easy to do on the best of days.