The Production Manager supervises and controls the creation, the finances and the public presentation of a show, and serves as the main liaison between the Director and the Production Crew.
The Production Crew consists of the Stage Manager, Music Director and Choreographer (if a Musical), Set Designer, Construction Manager, Costume Designer, Lighting Designer/Director, Prop Master, Make-Up Artist, Technical Director ( For Sound, Music or Special Effects), Light and Sound Board Operators, Make-Up, Lobby Display, Program Editor, Publicity Manager, Ticket Sales, Box Office Manager, House Manager and Ushers.
Generally, some persons will take on more than one of these functions. It is important that that the functions are staffed early. Communicate with the Director as to the responsibilities each of you will assume. Identify the amount of time that you as the Production Manager will devote to the production. Maintain close contact with each other so that these tasks are managed successfully. Communications with the Director and the Production Crew Members is key to a successful production.
THE IDEAL PRODUCTION MANAGER SHOULD:
- Have excellent organizational skills.
- Have the ability to communicate effectively.
- Be familiar with many facets of theater production.
- Be familiar with excel spreadsheets.
- Have a cell phone.
Want to be a Production Manager? In general:
The Manager works with the Director, BCT Board Members and others in the artistic community to identify people to staff the various roles on the production team The Production Manager is responsible for seeing that the functions are staffed early.
The Manager determines when, where and what is needed for auditions. Conducting the auditions is the Director's responsibility; the Production Manager facilitates the process by making sure scripts (or portions of scripts) are available for potential cast members to read, that a synopsis and a description of the characters is provided, and serves as a host/hostess to deal with arriving candidates.
The Manager at Bemidji Community Theater handles auditions and shall:
- Determine how information regarding auditions will be publicized including news ads, news stories, and emails to BCT contacts.
- Call a production meeting once the cast has been selected to review each director's, manager's or designer's responsibilities and when the associated functions should be completed.
- Outline when and where various production events will happen (rehearsals, set construction, cast photos, program editing and production, publicity etc.)
- Develop a budget in collaboration with the Director and the Production team. Previous budgets from other shows may serve as a guideline for various revenue and expense categories.
- Track all expenditures and provide the BCT Treasurer receipts for them.
- Conduct regular follow-ups on the various tasks for which the individual Production Crew Members are responsible.
- Confirm all venue arrangements for the production. Confirm the occupancy schedule for performances, rehearsals and set construction. Identify potential conflicts should the landlord have a need to use their space on one or two occasions while we are in production and obtain agreement how the conflict will be resolved.
- Identify any limitations regarding building access, use of dressing rooms, who can operate lights and sound (and how they get trained, if that is needed), and cleaning-up after the show. Follow-thru on all obligations and promises.
- Verify that a preliminary design for the show's program is completed shortly after the start of rehearsal. Photos and bios for the program must be taken at least 6 weeks before the show's opening. Program Development is a very time-consuming function. Re-writes, formatting and editing are labor intensive.
- Plan to have the program sent to the printer at least 2 weeks prior to opening night. The photos taken for the program can also be used for lobby display and determine who is responsible for the display.
PRIOR TO TECH WEEK:
- Arrange for ticket printing and publicity posters.
- Arrange for the recruitment of volunteers to distribute posters to area businesses.
- Arrange for a publicity release to the local newspapers, radio and TV.
- Arrange for ads publicizing the show to run in various local papers and other publicity outlets (ie." Chat About" on KB101).
- Determine procedures to be used regarding where and when tickets will be sold and the procedure to collect and deposit sales receipts.
- Arrange for lobby refreshment sales.
- Verify all deadlines are being met.
- Arrange for the staffing of ushers for each performance.
FOR TECH WEEK:
- Check with ticket outlets to make sure they have enough tickets and collect money. Verify that there is a process in place to return unsold tickets to the box office prior to each performance.
- Work with the Box Office Manger to define what attendance, ticket and sales data you need and in what format.
- Arrange for a newspaper photo to be taken and Lakeland Public TV to do an interview and a clip of the show.
- Determine who will record the show (if permitted) and arrange for a photographer to take 15 - 30 shots of set stage scenes during or after one of the first performances.
- Arrange for the delivery of programs.
- Several days before the closing curtain, confirm what the expectations of the "landlord" are regarding the schedule for removal of set material and props.
- Verify that the Actors and Production Staff are given assignments to their role during the Strike Process.
- Determine how and who will transport possessions and supplies back to where they belong.
- Provide the BCT Treasurer all receipts and provide a list of crew or cast who need to be reimbursed. Prepare a Revenue &
- Expense Report and an Attendance Report for the Show and submit it at the next BCT Board Meeting.
Beware of TIME. It is your biggest enemy. One moment, you have weeks and weeks, the next moment, everything has to get done. Do not underestimate the amount of time it will take to do this job, nor overestimate the amount of time available before opening night. Do not procrastinate. Get to know the people you are working with.
Don't try to take on all problems by yourself. If you need help, make some phone calls. Don't leave yourself exposed to the results of failures-to-perform by those whom you are supervising. "The Buck Stops Here".