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Old 01-25-2017, 10:35 PM   #1
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Production Coordinator tips? Seeking advice.

Hi everyone,

New member here, hoping for some advice from production coordinators, PMs, and everyone above and below who can potentially help out. I truly appreciate it if anyone is willing to read the below and chime in.

I'm a NYC-based filmmaker and I'm currently holding for a production coordinator gig for a small shoot being produced by a guy I've worked with a few times (75% colleague, 25% friend- that sort of thing, and someone I don't want to let down).

I worked for several years as the exec assistant at a small but reputable indie outfit in NYC and left to enter the freelance world and focus on completing my own projects.

It hasn't been easy and I've been struggling to land on my feet with steady work, and this guy just texted me the other day asking me to put a soft hold on next week coordinating a small shoot. Not sure of the exact details, other than it's one location and one actor/talent.

For the productions at my former job, I worked in the production offices and on set, but this will be my first legitimate coordinating gig and I am certainly going to be in over my head. I spent most of my time developing scripts, so my active production chops are rusty. But I need the work and know that the only way to learn is to dive in and fake it until I make it. I think I can pull it off if I really psych myself up and prepare over the next few days.

SO, I'm looking for any and all advice, from the abstract and general to the tangible and specific, as to what I should do and expect for this shoot.

What are some thoughts on what I should do to prepare? What should I absolutely keep in mind? What are the first steps when I get into the office? If you need any words to latch onto, the following are things that perhaps people might have some further stories and advice about:

-Travel coordination
-POs and timecards
-Start paperwork
-Deal memos
-Production/working a set
-Managing PAs
-Production reports
-Wrap books

I'm not as clueless as I may seem (or maybe I am), and I understand that every production is different, but I want to hit every resource I can in preparation. I thoroughly believe in my ability to adapt and rise to an occasion, but I want to be as prepared as possible. So, again, I would greatly appreciate any and all thoughts from coordinators and the like.

Thank you so much in advance!
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Old 01-26-2017, 12:11 AM   #2
Alcove Audio
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Your department heads will determine your equipment & expendables needs, and probably some of your personnel requirements. My side of the biz is audio, so I'll put your attention there.

You'll need a PSM, a production sound mixer. Depending upon the budget s/he may be a "one-man-band" booming and mixing at the same time up to a three person team - PSM, boom-op and audio assistant - with various permutations in between. Your PSM will determine the production sound gear and sound crew requirements based off of the script and your walk-through/talk-through of the project, and will probably own almost everything you will need, and would know where to rent what was missing, if anything. You can find companies that will hire the sound team and gear as a package, $XXX.xx for X days. Oh, BTW, some production sound companies provide on-set comms, megaphones, walkie-talkies and the like; an avenue to investigate.

Your other department heads may have similar notions as far as equipment & personnel, and would probably have many of the contacts you would need.
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Old 01-26-2017, 01:34 AM   #3
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It's been a long time since I've done much coordinating.

Anticipate what's needed and do/supply it.
Trust your people, but verify.
If possible, use the best people, or at least the best you can afford.
Have their back.
Work with people. Not at them and not against them.
Be a decent human being.
Don't do/deliver more than is required.
Gut feeling, develop it, learn to trust it.
You're going to screw up. Fix it, learn and move on.
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Old 01-26-2017, 10:36 AM   #4
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Thanks so much for the replies so far. Very helpful. Part of my desire for such thorough advice comes from the fact that I don't quite know the nature of this shoot yet (i.e., how many people will be above and below me), so I want to make sure I have all bases covered.

Hopefully this will be of use to someone else, too!
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advice, production, production coordinator

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