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Media Production Manager

What does a Media Production Manager do?

Media production managers work behind the scenes in film, television, radio and video. They play a key role in programme production by organising schedules, budgets and people. Production managers are involved at each stage of a programme, from initial planning, estimating and scheduling, through filming or recording, and on to final budget and production reports.

A major part of a production manager’s work takes place in the planning stages of a production, where they:

  • meet the producer and other senior production staff to examine scripts or programme ideas
  • draw up a production schedule and budget
  • hire the crew and contractors
  • have final approval over bookings of resources, locations, equipment and supplies
  • arrange any necessary permissions and risk assessments
  • manage a production office team.

During filming, their duties might include:

  • making sure that the production runs to schedule
  • controlling production spending and accounts
  • making sure that health and safety rules, insurance terms, copyright laws and union agreements are followed.

What qualifications do I need?

There are various routes that can be taken to become a media production manager. Qualifications are less important than having substantial experience in media, in-depth understanding of the production process, and a network of contacts in the industry. They often start as runners, junior assistants or secretaries in the production office, and work their way up to production coordinator, then assistant production manager. In some cases it may be helpful, or even necessary, to take a course in film, video or media production. The most useful ones include practical skills and work placements. Production managers also need a good understanding of budget management, so it would be an advantage to have skills and qualifications in accountancy.

What subjects do I need?

Contact each institution for their specific requirements, but these subjects are recommended: 
• Visual Arts
• Dramatic Arts
• Business Studies


Where can I study?

Various Film Courses

The Film Industry Learner Mentorship Programme
Learnerships: Film Industry

Big Fish School of Digital Filmmaking
Various Film Courses

City Varsity School of Media and Creative Arts
Advanced Diploma: Film and Television Production Techniques

Tshwane University of Technology
Certificate: Film and Television Production

Damelin Education Group
Diploma: Film Making and Broadcasting

Centre for Film and Media Studies

University of Johannesburg
Bachelor of Arts: Audio-visual Production Management

University of Cape Town
Bachelor of Arts: Film, Media and Visual Studies

Boston Media House
Diploma: Media Studies

Where can I get more info?

National Film and Video Foundation – nfvf.co.za


Interview with a Media Production Manager

Aubrey Ratsoma | MEDIA PRODUCTION MANAGER | Department of Correctional Services

Aubrey Ratsoma | MEDIA PRODUCTION MANAGER | Department of Correctional Services


Why did you choose to work in media?
Destiny had a hand in it, and people like Beyers Schoeman at Boston City Campus believing in me.

What training did you undergo?
I did a Media Diploma at Boston Media House and RAU Faculty of Arts. I was driven by a desire to achieve, but I have to give credit to the staff of Boston City Campus; they were more than teachers – they became friends who encouraged me every step of the way. They really prepared me for the real world of media and communications.

What type of personality is best suited to media-related work?
You need to be creative and be a people person, as well as God (the Guru Of Design) fearing.

Is experience as important as formal training?
You do need formal training so that when you ascend the career ladder, the experience gained through the journey can advance. Remember that after training, it’s you versus the world.

Describe a typical day on the job
Calendar of the day, meetings, creative work, video work, distribution plans, calendar of the day again, meetings, briefing the colleagues, thanking God, and hoping – sometimes.

What do you like the most about your work?
A client who has a challenging request. You never experience the same old day with the same old problems. I also like seeing a client’s face when they see beautiful designs. The ‘thank you’ one gets from clients pushes me to do more impressive work with my team.

What are the highlights of your career to date?
Meeting the president of South Africa regarding some design marketing concepts; doing some TV adverts for top firms; working with great people like Danny K while I was at Pre TV Media; doing work for people like Eugene Mthethwa and Mr Trompies (Kwaito singer).

What are your future goals?
To be there for my family more, as this type of industry requests a lot of my time; to grow the company I work the way God wants me to; to advance myself in terms of further education and communication.

Advice for young media moguls?
It’s okay if you don’t know what you want to be; you will find your calling. Don’t rush and make hectic decisions. Be humble and never lose your temper, as sometimes you might also lose good people. Love the ones that smile back at you. You are never too old to study. Laugh loudly and remember you are always young in front of your parents and God, so it’s okay to act childish!

Describe your job in three words
Fun • Creative • Learning