A Day in the Life

Production Secretary

Really depends on the company or the production. You could have to come in early to go over items with your director or producer. You can be their right hand person. So first thing could be opening and dealing with post. Or it could be finalising on the production. You are part Production Assistant and Part researcher at times. 09:00
Usually on a Monday, find out about future meetings (which may require room booking), guests who need transport and hotel accommodation, catering requirements, location catering requirements, legalities, copyright clearance and start booking and filling in forms. 11:00
Deal with awkward members of the public on the phone and some internal enquiries about using footage from our last programme on remote lighthouses. 12:00
You may be typing up scripts, photocopying, distributing, paying expenses to team or artists, you could be required on location to help running. You may have to log video/DVDs and keep a library. You may have music requests and need to produce forms for copyright clearances. - it could be a long day, but it will most likely be an enjoyable one!

What you do: The range of the job?

The Production Secretary working in the film and television industry provides administration assistance to the Production Co-ordinator and Production Manager. This is more than a traditional secretarial role. It could be less, depending on the production and the company you are working for. You may be in a junior role as they have a hands on Production Assistant - or you could be the right hand person to the producer and/or director. You may work to one person you may be part of a large team. You will mainly be the full administrative support to the production. Work Activities The work of the Production Secretary involves maintaining phone communications by ensuring phones are in good working order, processing phone calls and recording and relaying messages. The Production Secretary assists in the organisation and running of the production office by maintaining filing systems, monitoring supplies of stationery and office supplies and ordering supplies as required. The Production Secretary assists the Production Co-ordinator by researching travel, transport and accommodation requirements of the cast and crew and helping to organise whatever is required. The Production Secretary is responsible for production paperwork such as typing and filing contracts, letters, documents and script changes and photocopying/faxing documents as required. He/she maintains a contacts list of relevant personnel by typing initial lists of names/address/contact telephone numbers of all cast and crew and ensuring that contact information lists are updated, filed and distributed to all relevant personnel. The role of the production secretary can vary; he/she may be office based, work on location or be mobile. On bigger-budget productions the position entails a greater level of responsibility, since there is a bigger cast and crew to service.

Qualities: What you need to be able to do the job?

A Production Secretary must be hard working and efficient. The job calls for excellent office skills and a calm, organised nature A decent level of IT skills, a good telephone manner, and attention to detail. Ability to prioristise tasks, a cool approach to the work, and an understanding of the production process (if you are a quick learner, a very good way into TV and film where you can learn the business).

Career path: How you start and where you can go with it?

Come in as production secretary and you may develop into a researcher, production assistant - you may change departments and move into corporate and become an executive's PA! Upgrading from Trainee to Production Secretary involves learning and progressing through experience, so on-the-job development is limited by the amount of work that is available. Film work is on a freelance basis but employment opportunities exist within independent production companies. While opportunities are expanding in the film, video and television industry generally, the amount of work available fluctuates. The progression route for a Production Secretary can also be to Production Co-ordinator and Production Manager.

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