[Book Review] Film Production Management 101 - Raindance

Film production management is a gigantic task: at the heart of show business, the business of dreams and glittering images, lies the messy reality of where the sausage is made, a film set. A film production needs to be a tight, well-oiled machine which enables every member of cast and crew, everyone above and below the line to do their best work. The person who’s in charge of all this is the production manager.

In her book, Film Production Management 101, Deborah Patz, an experienced production manager, gives insight into what goes into this lesser-known yet crucial role of the film industry. In over 500 pages, she has devised not just a thorough guide on the duties of the job, but also a terrific overview of the filmmaking process.

The Nitty-Gritty of Film Production Management

Taking you from the inception a project, starting with the screenplay and the development of the production, all the way through delivering the finished product that is a film, Patz delivers here a comprehensive and invaluable guide of how to run a professional film production, however big or small. You will get knowledge on the details that could often be overlooked -such as how do you communicate, checklists, call sheets, production reports, then on to publicity and eventually audits of the projects.

What is clear as soon as you open the book is that the author is bringing a wealth of knowledge that has been, and could only have been, acquired in the trenches of the film and television industries. What makes this opus stand out from the back is that the information provided does not just concern the how of film production, but the why: this is a holistic approach to the practicalities of filmmaking, that involves thorough knowledge of all the roles that are required on set as well as an understanding of the requirements dictated by the bigger picture of the project.

Equally invaluable are the appendices included at the end of the book -for nearly a hundred pages, you will find sample budgets, logs, production reports, release forms, schedules, and many more.

What changes, what doesn’t

Deborah Patz has extensive experience, having worked for companies such as LucasFilm, Universal, and the BBC, among many others. Through a storied career as a production manager, working across media, changes in technology from 35mm to shooting digitally, the author has seen the dramatic changes that have occurred in the global film industry. Therefore, this book is not just one of the most helpful guides you could find for your film production, it also understands the history of the television medium, and what the constants are in running a project professionally. This second edition, in particular, puts an emphasis of the necessities of film production in the digital age.

Through the chapters, you leap from one department to the next, understand all the cogs in the machine, the truths, wisdom and knowledge that are imparted in this volume, while generally directed at the production of feature films, could certainly apply to a number of other types of projects, such as documentary. Deborah Patz’s Film Production Management 101 is an invaluable resources for filmmakers who want to become professionals.

Film Production Management 101 (2nd ed.), by Deborah Patz, is published by Michael Wiese Productions, and is available here.

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About 

Baptiste is a writer hailing from the part of France where it is always sunny. After a stint in politics and earning his Master's Degree in Management, he was a marketing intern for the 23rd Raindance Film Festival in 2015, then joined the team permanently in 2016 as the Registrar of the MA in Filmmaking. He is passionate about diversity in film, which he researches and writes about extensively. He is the producer of the hit webseries "Netflix & Kill" and the multi-award-winning short film "Alder", as well as a writer for stage and screen. His short film "U Up?" is currently in pre-production.