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TV or film production assistant Assistant production coordinator

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Production assistants support producers in making film or TV programmes.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £15,000 to £30,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: Variable per week

1. Entry requirements

A degree isn’t essential but you'll need IT skills, initiative and enthusiasm. If you’ve got secretarial experience or qualifications this could give you an advantage. 

A network of contacts and experience gained from student or community film, TV or radio projects, or work experience would be useful.

You could start work as a runner, junior assistant or secretary and work your way up.

Large broadcasters such as the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 offer work experience placements and graduate schemes. 

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

Doing a college course in media production could help you get started, especially if it is one that gives you hands-on experience and allows you to develop your contacts.

BBC Academy has more information on work experience and becoming a production assistant.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • organisational skills
  • excellent attention to detail
  • admin skills
  • maths skills for handling budgets
  • creativity when dealing with problems
  • stamina and determination

3. What you'll do

You’ll be involved in a range of tasks before, during and after filming, including:

  • hiring studio facilities and equipment
  • booking hotels and making travel arrangements
  • attending production meetings
  • copying and distributing scripts
  • typing and circulating production schedules (‘call sheets’) and daily reports
  • getting permission to use copyrighted music or film clips
  • dealing with accounts and expenses 

In television, you might also carry out production duties, like:

  • timing the show in the studio gallery
  • calling camera shots
  • cueing pre-recorded material
  • keeping records or logging of shots taken
  • making sure the shots look the same after breaks in filming

You’ll work as part of a wider production team, including producers, researchers, and technical staff like camera crew and editors.

4. Salary

Starter: £15,000 to £18,000

Experienced: £20,000 to £25,000

Highly Experienced: £30,000

You’ll usually be paid a fee for each project. Rates can vary widely. The Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU) has information on current pay guidelines.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You working hours will depend on the type of production and the location.

You’ll work long hours, including early mornings, late evenings and shifts.

You’ll be based in an office with other members of the production team, but during filming you could also spend a lot of your time moving between offices and production locations.

Location work could be anywhere in the UK or overseas, so you may need to travel and be away from home for long periods.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress to production coordinator and production manager, or become a researcher or producer.

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Last updated: 11 September 2018