Stephanie S.

Assistant Production Co-ordinator
Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

Stephanie S.
Theatre, Film and Television
Film and Television
United Kingdom

My employment

Assistant Production Co-ordinator
United Kingdom

More about Stephanie

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A day in the life of a Assistant Production Co-ordinator in the United Kingdom

Being at uni, I always loved production as it was a way to enable those around me to realise their vision. It may not always be the most creative job in itself, but without production, nothing else can happen!

Briefly describe the organisation you work for

I am a freelancer, doing contract work for anywhere between 2 weeks to 6 months in High End UK TV.

I've worked for companies such as World Productions, Sid Gentle Films and Eagle Eye Drama, with credits on BBC1, BBC2, ITV, HBO, Disney+ and Channel 4.

What do you do?

What I do varies with each production, but I can do anything from writing cast contracts and distributing scripts to monitoring our carbon output.

On some productions I am responsible for booking all the transport and accommodation for our cast and crew - whether this be a plane to the shoot, or a taxi down the road to a local hotel. I can also be responsible for managing department expenses, cast and crew training and organising team meetings.

It all changes depending on the day!

Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?

Being at uni, I always loved production as it was a way to enable those around me to realise their vision. It may not always be the most creative job in itself, but without production, nothing else can happen! (Plus, I love making spreadsheets and that's about 50% of the job)

After graduation I took part in the Beyond Brontës scheme run by Screen Yorkshire. This led to my first job on a daytime factual show, Saved & Remade, and after getting my first credit it became much easier for me to get into my next role!

Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?

I wrote my dissertation on wellbeing within the industry so I was well aware of how difficult things can be in film and TV, but it's much different working in it to reading about it! It is a tough industry, and sometimes it can take a toll when you're working in a very stressful environment. You need to make sure you're always taking time to look after yourself, and setting boundaries with work. The hours are long, so you need to make the most of your down time to really try and switch off.

Describe your most memorable day at work

Rather than just a day, the most memorable part of my work and what makes me the most excited about what I do is Albert! Whenever I manage to make a small change within a production to minimise our carbon footprint I feel a great sense of achievement, and seeing it all come together at the end of a job with all the finished documentation makes me feel very proud! It's no secret that this industry can be harsh on the environment, and being able to make a difference feels amazing.

What’s your work environment and culture like?

The culture and environment vary a lot based on your role, the production and your team.

We tend to work in the office on our studio lot or in the production truck out on location, but I occasionally work from home- again, it depends on the job.

On most jobs, the production office is quite relaxed, with the radio on and people wearing whatever clothes they fancy (sometimes even pyjamas) but the biggest difference between this industry and others is the hours. We work different hours every day, with 11 hours being the standard, however it does often end up being more.

Although 16 and 18 hour days are thankfully becoming a thing of the past, we still work in a very bizarre industry and other departments often expect production to work 24/7. You have to learn how to stand your ground and draw a line at the end of the day.

What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?

Whilst at uni I was heavily involved with YSTV, becoming Station Director in my last year. This was how I learnt most of what I now use every day when it comes to production - managing large teams, arranging events and fire fighting problems when they arise.

(YSTV is also the best society so you should definitely join if you haven't already!)

What would you like to do next with your career?

I would eventually like to head back up north, but at the moment I'm happy to continue climbing the production ladder in Bristol!

What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?

These are fairly boring tips, but things that I wish I'd have known about this industry.

1. You need to plan for not having a stable income. Unless you get in at a production company, every bit of work is contract based, and you need to plan around this. Private pensions and savings are vital - don't put it off! And a spreadsheet where you record all of your jobs and incomes is really important (make sure to save your payslips too!)

2. Prepare to struggle finding a landlord because renting as a freelancer is a nightmare. Landlords don't like people without a regular and guaranteed income - but there are always going to be people out there who will give you a chance so don't give up. Just bear in mind that you might have quite a few rejections before finding somewhere, and they may ask for a hefty deposit or guarantor. Private landlords tend to be a bit better and more flexible than estate agents so look out for them!

3. Car insurers will charge you an arm and a leg when you say you work in film and TV - and as a young driver they may even refuse to insure you. If you can find a way of avoiding saying 'TV' or 'Film' then that will have a huge impact on the price (just don't lie as it will void your insurance).

What topics from students are you happy to answer questions on?

I am happy to answer any questions about working in UK HETV!

My main passions are sustainability and wellbeing within the industry, and I work primarily in production, although I also have experience working in art departments.

However, I know people from everywhere and every department so I can always try and put you in touch with someone who can help and give you some advice even if I can't!

Next steps...

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