Television production assistant: job description

Last updated: 21 Jun 2023, 15:40

Production assistants support more senior creative staff on TV and film sets.

Television production assistant job description

What does a production assistant do? Salaries | Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Skills

Television and film production assistants provide administrative and organisational support to senior production staff prior to, during and after the production phase.

Typical duties include:

  • creating and distributing documents such as production schedules, call sheets and briefing notes
  • booking studios, production equipment, performance staff and production staff.
  • organising meetings and interviews
  • liaising with suppliers
  • making travel arrangements
  • check for continuity between takes
  • organising and processing contracts, timesheets and other documentation
  • dealing with budgets and expenses.

You could be asked to pick up tasks outside your job description and you’ll be expected to be able to learn quickly. This, plus the likelihood of needing to travel and work long hours against tight deadlines, can make this an exciting but high-stress role.

Graduate salaries

According to Glassdoor, salaries for production assistants tend to start at around £18,000 and can increase to around £24,000 with experience. Some production assistants can earn more than this, depending on location and level of experience. The nature of film and TV means you’re likely to be employed on short-term contracts or as a freelancer, rather than in a permanent role, which can make job security difficult.

Typical employers of production assistants

  • Independent production companies.
  • Television broadcasters.
  • Studios.
  • Media companies.

Jobs are advertised by careers services and university departments, and by creative organisations such as the Arts Council. You’ll also find them on specialist jobs boards. Many jobs aren’t widely advertised and instead are communicated by word of mouth.

Networking, job shadowing and speculative applications are essential: use directories, such as Kays Production Manual, to find contact information. A few employers operate graduate training and/or work experience schemes, for which early applications are advisable.

Qualifications and training required

The role of a production assistant is considered an entry-level one, so no specific qualifications or experience is needed. Both university graduates and school leavers can find work in this role.

Applicants can have a background in any subject(s), although it can be helpful if you’ve studied communications, media studies, English or business studies. The ability to demonstrate knowledge and a genuine interest in television and film is essential and often more important than academic qualifications.

Key skills for production assistants

  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Adaptability.
  • Enthusiasm.
  • Determination.
  • Perseverance.
  • The ability to learn quickly.
  • Organisational skills, especially if working freelance.
  • Administrative skills.
  • Budgeting skills.

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