It’s 07:00 and I’m writing this from the tube on my way to work, the quietest time of my day, aka no reception!
I grew up determined to work in Film and TV, so against my parent’s dreams of me practising law, I went to Salford University where I studied Media Production. Salford had a local channel at the time, Channel M, which gave me the invaluable hands on experience I needed to prepare me for the industry.
That was 15 years ago and since then I’ve been fortunate enough to work across a wide range of programming including, Feature Films, Shiny Floor, Documentaries, Paranormal, Obs Doc, Reality and Comedy.
I’m currently in Production but my role is most essential during the Pre-Production period. If something is well scheduled, crewed and budgeted realistically, it facilitates a smooth running production and creates a happy team.
It goes without saying in Production things are forever changing editorially. So additional to being flexible, a strong knowledge and understanding of the overall production, is key.
Today is the day I’ve been working towards for weeks. At 08:00 the OB trucks will be arriving at the Hackney Empire Theatre, which is not set up to be a filming location. They’ll be rigging alongside the Sound and Lighting teams who are arriving at 09:00. The Art department are scheduled to arrive at 11:00 with the set, ready to build ahead of filming tomorrow. This is where being organised within an inch of my life will pay off, as everything is timed to the last minute. Most importantly, I need to ensure everyone carries out their jobs safely, as H&S (health and safety) is a huge part of my responsibility.
I don’t recall sitting down much and it’s already the end of the day. We wrapped at 20:00 and I headed home to catch up on emails and such. Everything went as planned today but I found myself on the phone and email to agents for a couple of hours negotiating talent contracts for our future records. I also spent an hour or so sending test footage to our Post-Production house to check everything was up and running to everyone’s specification.
It’s now 00:30 and due to editorial changes that have had a knock on effect to the set, I’ve just finished reassessing and amending our risk assessment before the walk around tomorrow morning with the independent H&S specialist.
Best get some sleep before my alarm rings at 05:45 for the big day. In a mere few hours I’ll be in the theatre filming with an OB, 150+ crew, fire dancers, stunt men, 2,000 members of the public, comedians and pop singers with entourages we can only dream of. Let’s hope the catering truck turns up!
Shanna is a freelance Production Manager, working for a range of productions for ITV, the BBC and more. See her full profile on The Talent Manager.