Today we launch a new monthly series designed to shine a light on our talented members, and the roles they perform in our film and high-end TV industry. Our new Membership Focus will look in detail at specific functions within our 25 grades, with case studies from PGGB members. First up is the role of Production Manager, and we spoke to Liza Carmel, Damian Anderson and Roger Evans about their careers, journeys, and experiences with the Guild.
The Production Manager is right at the centre of a production, responsible for the day-to-day logistics in prep, on the shoot, and beyond. Based both on set and in the office, they must have a good working knowledge of all aspects of the production, and the responsibility to make sure a shoot goes smoothly rests with them. Production Managers also look after staff wellbeing and mental health, so must be approachable for crew members to discuss problems or issues - professional or personal. All of which means the role is at the very heart of the filming process, and a hugely important one to any production.
“We’re the ones on the front line, who not only need to understand what’s happening on the ground, but also in the backroom, and down the line, and in every possible scenario” says Liza Carmel. “If we have done our job well, we will have created a safe working environment where not only do our crew feel supported, but where we are able to deal with the inevitable challenges collaboratively.“
Liza has huge experience in the industry, but has taken her time to reach the role of Production Manager: “I’ve been a Guild member for a long time, and I worked as a coordinator for almost 20 years before stepping up to Production Management” she says. “My first role was on McCallum in 1997, but my first PM credit wasn’t until 2017, with Trigonometry (released 2020) – this is probably unusual these days!”
For Damian Anderson, this level of experience is also key: “I specifically decided not to rush my journey in the industry, and to experience as many areas of the production office as possible – so when I became a PM myself I knew it was right. I pride myself in understanding the department in its entirety. Titles – be it manager, supervisor – need to be taken seriously in this industry.”
Like Liza, Damian’s journey in the industry has been a long one. “I started when I was 16 years old, working on Panavision’s trucks, cleaning workstations. I understood very quickly that it was important to know where your talents lie, what your natural role is. And despite working with cameras, I wasn’t a DoP – the order and cleanliness of my workstations was the work of a producer!”