Inside Production Supervisor Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises

"Be Willing To Start With Low-Level Work...
The television, radio and print industries are not as glamorous as many young adults think. Most know that it's not all about movie stars, good-looking and articulate newscasters, and magazine cover models. Most know there are many people who you don't see on the screen, hear on radio, or see in prominent publications' pictures. Entry-level jobs usually require a lot of "grunt work. a? These jobs typically include mundane work such as filing, data entry, or climbing up a ladder to hang lighting under a supervisor??s direction. However, an entry-level job in the media business can lead to climbing the business ladder for a satisfying career." (TV And Radio Producer + Senior Editor/Writer For Print; 2013)

Career: 28 years of experience, currently based in Arizona, female
School: Studied Communications at University Of Central Florida in Florida; completed Bachelor degree in 1978

"Breaking News:Your Formal Education Means NOTHING...
How totally pointless studying it in school would be. People get jobs based on who they know and it doesn't even matter their background. Experience isn't even that huge of a requirement to get in on the bottom floor. Everything I learned in college was irrelevant." (Marketing Director; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Illinois, male
School: Studied Advertising at Loyola University New Orleans in Louisiana; completed Bachelor degree in 2008

"Different Working Environment...
I was surprise that after getting out of college, I actually have been working on much less organized and challenging productions than I did in college. Much of my training was how to work in established organizations that can afford to do all the protocol. But much of my work now is more chaotic, and requires different flexibility and skills from me." (Theatrical Stage Manager & Dramaturg; 2013)

Career: 7 years of experience, currently based in New York, female
School: Studied Theater at Oberlin College in Ohio; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"More Jobs Than You Think...
I was surprised that my studio production experience translated almost seamlessly into the healthcare field. With Video Conferences becoming so popular, we have built a television studio inside the hospital to accommodate long distance learning seminars. When I first graduated, I thought I would be limited to work in places like Hollywood and New York. Never did it cross my mind that I would be able to transplant my skills into a medical setting." (Audio/Visual Technician; 2013)

Career: 6 years of experience, currently based in North Carolina, male
School: Studied Communications at University Of The Incarnate Word in Texas; completed Master degree in 2012

"Management In Theatre...
I found it surprising how many management skills I have ended up needing. Fine arts students rarely get taught leadership or managerial skills." (Production Manager; 2014)

Career: 16 years of experience, currently based in Missouri, female
School: Studied Production Design And Technology (Theatre) at University Of Cincinnati in Ohio; completed Master degree in 2004

"Low Level Duties...
I was surprised at how much my job is about getting people coffee and handing out papers. I expected some of that but it is the majority of my work. I've got my foot in the door though which is what I wanted so hopefully I can move up soon." (Production Assistant; 2013)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Rhode Island, male
School: Studied Film at University Of Rhode Island in Rhode Island; completed Bachelor degree in 2010

Best & Worst Things About This Career

Production Assistant: "I love my job because I am so involved with the whole production. I get to see each episode come to life. I often get to interact with the directors and board artists and see them share their vision through the stories they tell and the drawings they create. One of the worst parts about the job is the pay. Production staff in the entertainment industry usually get paid the least despite the amount of work that we do." (2011)

Television Production Coordinator: "The best part about my job is that I get to work with volunteers. These people take time out of their lives to learn about making television programs and they keep coming back because it is enjoyable. Another bonus to my job is that I know that I am the person that brings information and entertainment that is in my town, to the people in my town and beyond. The downside in my job, to me anyway, is when I have to say no to someone. Someone would want an event covered an if I can't find a volunteer to do it and I am committed elsewhere, I have to say no and their event doesn't get covered and shared with the community." (2011)

Career Background

Production Supervisor

  Job Tasks
  Work Environment
  How to Prepare for the Job
  Job Outlook

Career Tips

"Life Skills In Theatre...
Life skills are important to theatre people as well; the tortured artist routine only works very early and very late in one's career. Those that are scattered early in their career are weeded out, and those that become that way later in their career have earned their way to less specific responsibilities. Proper dress, grammar and diction, proofreading, etc are all very important parts of any career, including the fine arts." (Production Manager; 2014)

"Pay Your Dues...
Be prepared to deal with some awful, low-budget, disorganized productions at first. You build up your resume and contacts, and you'll work your way up quickly if you're talented." (Theatrical Stage Manager & Dramaturg; 2013)

"Talk Your Way To Employment...
It's all about knowing people. You just have to network and open doors because ultimately that's all that really matters. I have supervisors who were waiters before this. They just crossed paths with the right people." (Marketing Director; 2013)

"Try Smaller Markets...
There is a lot of competition for entry-level jobs in the media business. It is often easier to get started in a small market rather than in a large city. Do your job well and you will probably be promoted, or even move on to a more lucrative job in a larger media outlet." (TV And Radio Producer + Senior Editor/Writer For Print; 2013)

"No Limits...
Don't limit yourself. With advancing technology there are wider and wider applications for your skill set. Don't be afraid to branch out a bit and explore outside the norm." (Audio/Visual Technician; 2013)

"Develop A Network Through Internships...
While in college, I highly suggest having multiple internships. It's really a great way to get real work experience. Internships in the entertainment industry also provide great insight into how shows are actually created. Connections are also one of the most valuable aspects of succeeding in the industry. They often lead to jobs and internships and are a great way of building your network. Another way to get more connections is to attend networking events and panel discussions. This is also a great way to gain insight on the industry. I'd also suggest watching a lot of movies and TV shows and really pay attention to the details. You'd be surprised by how much you can learn just by watching." (Production Assistant; 2011)

"Gain A Broad Background Of TV Jobs...
Take courses and workshops in every end of television. It is not only important to know all the jobs in the field, but how they function and what it takes for the person in that position to do that job. Stay passionate about your dreams. Not only will it be easier for you to stay focused on you career, but others will see you passion and they will want to work with you and even help you make your dreams come true. There is nothing wrong with starting from the bottom. Production Assistants are great positions to have for getting an inside view of the business and for networking, but don't think you can't do the same thing working for craft services, being a grip, or even an apprentice to a carpenter or electrician." (Television Production Coordinator; 2011)