Visual effects (VFX)
Also known as: Production assistant, VFX coordinator, Bookings assistant
Production coordinators help ensure VFX projects run smoothly. Working under the production manager or producer, they help to arrange the day-to-day running of the team and make sure everyone has the information they need to work effectively. They organise the movement of the assets through the VFX pipeline.
They are responsible for distributing the assets and artwork needed to the relevant departments. They relay supervisor or client briefs to artists and feedback to the relevant teams about the progress of the work. They keep production databases updated with the current status of shots and take detailed notes in meetings. They also track costs against the budget. Scheduling external meetings is also often a part of their job and they keep their client-side counterpart updated about the status of the project.
Production coordinators need to communicate well with everyone. They liaise with production and post-production. It’s their job to help to keep everyone on target so the project is finished on time and on budget.
Production coordinators work closely with staff throughout production and post-production, relaying information between the production team, VFX supervisors and artists. They usually report to the production manager.
There are two routes into becoming a production coordinator. Some come with skills as a VFX artist. Others come with a background in film production. Either way, you need to show you have very strong teamwork and organisational skills as well as a good understanding of the way visual effects are made.
At school or college:
You can take A-levels or Highers in business studies, film studies, media studies, English, maths and economics. Or you might want to take the following Level 3 vocational qualifications:
If you want to go straight into a job or apprenticeship, the following Level 3 vocational qualifications will equip you:
Get an apprenticeship:
Apprenticeships are jobs with training. They’re a great opportunity to earn while you learn. It’s ideal to get an apprenticeship with a VFX studio. However, if you can’t find one, it’s worth getting an apprenticeship in another industry. This can give you experience from which you can go into VFX at a later point.
These are the relevant apprenticeships that might be available throughout the UK:
You might even find degree apprenticeships:
In Scotland, you might be able to find degree-level apprenticeships through the following frameworks:
Before taking any apprenticeship, check what you’ll be learning with your prospective employer and college, so you can be sure it will be giving you the skills you want. Go to how to become an apprentice to learn how to find apprenticeships in your region or approach companies directly.
Get a degree:
You could either take a degree that equips you with the technical skills of a VFX artist or a degree in film production. Have a look at ScreenSkills’ list of recommended courses in film or VFX. We recognise courses with our ScreenSkills Select award where they offer training in the relevant software, dedicated time to building a portfolio and have strong links with the VFX industry.
Become a trainee:
Get onto ScreenSkills’ Trainee Finder scheme. Get the skills, make contacts and start working as a production trainee.
Look outside the industry:
See if you can get a job as a runner with a 3D animation studio or company. This will help you build contacts, skills and knowledge related to VFX. While you are trying to break into VFX production, get management or project management experience. Any job that involves planning, organising and budgeting will give you good experience.
Take a short course:
Hone your skills in production management by taking a specialist course. Go to the list of training courses recommended by ScreenSkills and see if there is one in production management.
Get to know people in VFX by attending events. Meet professionals and ask them questions about their work, while demonstrating interest and knowledge in the sector. Offer to provide them with your professional contact details and try to stay in touch with them. Go to how to network well to learn how to do this.
Search for jobs:
Find the VFX companies that you’re interested in. Look on their websites to see if they’re advertising for junior roles. Some might advertise for runners. Some might advertise for assistants, receptionists, administrators or personal assistants. Even if there aren’t any jobs advertised, contact the company and ask if you could do a work placement with them or if you could come and meet them. ArtStation is a good example of a site that includes job listings in animation, games and VFX (remember to filter its job listings by country). ScreenSkills offers some advice from professionals on how to approach animation and VFX employers.
Being an assistant games producer; this is another production role that involves helping with the day to running of projects that combine artistic and technical expertise. You might also be interested in being a production coordinator in the animation industry, or a production coordinator or line producer in the film and TV drama industries. Alternatively, you could consider being a script supervisor or production coordinator in the unscripted TV industry.
Covers genres ranging from period dramas to epic fantasies screened at the cinema, on TV or on streaming sites
Combines art with programming as well as production, design and testing - the UK’s fastest growing entertainment industry
Creates the illusion of movement, includes computer-generated, stop-motion and hand-drawn animation
Thanks for giving us your feedback, your response has been saved. If you'd like to also leave a comment you can do so in the field below.
Thank you for your feedback, it is greatly appreciated.