A Q&A with a Production Coordinator

Production Coordinator
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Do you love the film industry and see yourself in the career field? Read about what you can expect in a career as a Production Coordinator.

With any project that involves a big collaboration, someone needs to have the overview and be in charge of all things administrative, financial and logistics. In the film industry, these responsibilities fall onto the production team.

A film crew has quite a set structure, and within each department there is a clear hierarchical setup – production is no exception.

In a production team, there are various positions with designated responsibilities. Though it can vary from project to project, there will generally always be a

  • Production Assistant   (PA)
  • Production Coordinator
  • Line Producer
  • Producer

A Q&A with Production Coordinator Raine Grunau

Raine Grunau is a BA (Honours) Motion Picture and Television Production graduate who has been rocking her skills in the local film and television industries since 2014. Like many film professionals, she first started working as a production assistant. Since then, she’s worked her way up and has been filling the important role of production coordinator on various local and international film and TV productions. In a Q&A, Raine chats to EduOne about the film production career path.    

  • How did you end up in film and TV production?
    After graduation, I started an internship with F.I.L.MIt’s an organisation that acts as a bridge between film studies and getting into the industry.
  • Is it standard to start your production career as a PA?
    Yes. Starting as a PA is the best way to learn about all the different departments that work on a film project. It helps you to choose which area you want to go into. As a PA, you start with the smaller duties and work your way up from there.
  • What does a film producer do?
    A Producer is in control of the funding of a production. They are the core of the project from start to finish.
  • What are some of cool projects you’ve worked on?
    I enjoyed ITV’s Tutankhamun and National Geographic’s No Man Left Behind.
  • Have you worked with any really cool and inspiring producers?
    I assisted Sanne Wohlenberg, and she made me fall in love with the production department. She was fierce and powerful, while being incredibly charming and patient too. She inspired me very much.
  • What are the main differences between the various production positions?
    A PA will run errands and carry a petty cash float. A Coordinator will foresee bookings, flights, accommodation and gear bookings etc. A Line Producer works in marriage with the budget and keeps an eye on where each cent is going.
  • Does a qualification in film help you to be a good film producer?
    I do not think a degree is essential, though it can help. But at the end of the day you either have a natural affinity for it, or you learn as you go along.
  • How is the role of production different to screen media?
    Feature films are shot over a longer period of time, weeks or months, so there is also more time for organising. Commercials are quick, in and out, so if you enjoy a more fast-paced job, commercials are probably more for you. It’s important to remember though, commercials are seasonal, whereas features can go all year round.
  • What are some of the quality traits that a producer needs to possess?
    • logical mind
    • problem-solving skill.
    • great people skills
  • Is the South African film industry a promising area to pursue?
    I definitely believe there is a strong industry presence in South Africa, so it’s very worthwhile pursuing this career.
  • Do you have any advice for current film students who want to go into production?
    Try it out, and put your all into it. Wear a thick skin, and have a blast!

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The film industry isn’t for everyone. It isn’t as glamorous as everyone makes it out to be. Explore some other career options to see what else is out there that may tickle your fancy. Open Window Institute has many creative career options, check them all out!

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