Media production is a high stress environment. There is always a lot going on. Tensions are high and people are bound to snap at each other.
There is a system that helps things run as smoothly as possible though. This is the production hierarchy.
I feel the need to write about the production hierarchy as a media tip because of something that occurred to me today.
I was working on an in class production. For the show, I was the director. As we were rehearsing, I found that the Floor Director was telling me what to do, and the technical director wasn’t listening to any of my commands. It was immensely frustrating.
When I was first introduced to the hierarchy, it was after an also frustrating film shoot for the television series I am working on. No one was listening to who they should have been listening to and toes were being stepped on left and right. We had to bring out the hierarchy of production.
It’s not too complicated really, and a lot of it can be inferred with a basic knowledge of how production works. The hierarchy basically tells everyone on all levels of production what their job is, who will be asking them for commands and who they should go to for their own commands.
Spot 1 on the Hierarchy: Producer
The producer is in charge of making sure that the shoot happens. Their jobs include being in contact with the talent/actors, setting the time and the place, making sure the crew has a call time and various financial matters.
The producer is at the top of the hierarchy because they don’t have to answer to anyone, but that doesn’t mean that anyone on the hierarchy can ask them what they should be doing. There are too many jobs involved in production, and the producer will be too overwhelmed if the grip comes up to ask them how they should adjust the lights. That’s a question for an entirely different person.
Spot 2 on the Hierarchy: Director
The director is in charge of the actual production on the day that the producer has scheduled it. In a film environment, they work with actors, assistant directors and director of photography. In a television environment, they work with the technical director, audio engineer, floor director, and camera operators.
Similar to how the producer has no one to report to, the director only has to report to the producer. The director is only asked questions by the crew members and talent that they are directly working with. In production, what the director and producer says goes.
At this point, the hierarchy splits whether we’re talking about film production or studio television production. I will cover these individually when the time arises.