Film and TV drama
Assistant production coordinator
Also known as: APOC
What does an assistant production coordinator do?
An assistant production coordinator helps run the production office and plays an essential role in setting up filming.
They keep a close eye on the people involved in a production, helping the production coordinator ensure it is fully staffed. If a crew member falls ill or a gap in staffing comes up, they look for additional team members by advertising online or contacting agencies, then gather CVs. They also book paramedics and a standby ambulance for stunt days, as well as a fire engine and team.
Managing the production diary and meetings is part of the assistant production coordinator’s job. They usually book travel and accommodation for cast and crew, such as hotels, flights and trains - although some bigger productions have dedicated roles for this. They also help arrange visas if the shoot takes place abroad.
When the first assistant director has put together the shooting schedule, the assistant production coordinator distributes it - along with scripts – to cast and crew. They also send out amendments.
Assistant production coordinators often organise contracts for cast members and stunt people. They sometimes create cast lists and gather in risk assessments.
Assistant production coordinators also order equipment, including cameras, lenses, batteries, SD cards and hard drives. Sometimes they even order cars and costumes. They research and compare prices to try and save the production money and when the order arrives, they courier or ship it to location.
As the shoot draws to an end, assistant production coordinators help ‘wrap’ the production. They return all the leftover stock and tie up loose ends.
Assistant production coordinators usually work on a freelance basis.
Watch and read
- Assistant production coordinator James Dean on Make a Move - ScreenSkills
What’s an assistant production coordinator good at?
- Organisation: planning, multi-tasking, working calmly under pressure
- Teamwork: following instructions, listening carefully, asking for direction when appropriate, using initiative
- Communication: sharing information with heads of department, writing clear emails
- Budgeting: keeping records of spending and controlling it, keeping the line producer and accountants updated on spending
- Innovation: finding solutions to problems, dealing with the unexpected
- Knowledge of filmmaking: understanding the process and needs of each department
Who does an assistant production coordinator work with?
An assistant production coordinator reports to the production coordinator and works closely with the production secretary.
They work more broadly with all other areas of the production including cast, crew, agents, producers and directors.
How do I become an assistant production coordinator?
Most assistant production coordinators start off as production assistants or runners. That way they can learn the skills they need to progress to production secretary and then assistant production coordinator.
Working in the production department is a good role for people who have acquired business or project management skills in another industry and want to move into film and TV. Hospitality is a great area to have worked in as you will have dealt with people, finances and logistics.
It also helps if you can drive, especially outside of London. If getting a driving licence is a financial barrier to you, consider applying for a ScreenSkills bursary to help you pay for it.
At school or college:
To become an assistant production coordinator, you need a good level of education that includes GCSEs in maths and English.
A-levels or Highers in film studies, media or art and design are relevant. As it’s a role that combines understanding film production with project management and accounting, subjects that develop your skills in that way are useful too. Combine film studies with business or business studies and maths for a well-rounded skillset. Or you might want to take the following Level 3 vocational qualifications:
- OCR Technical Diploma/Extended Diploma in Business
- BTEC National Diploma/Extended Diploma in Business
If you want to go straight into a job or apprenticeship, the following Level 3 vocational qualifications will equip you:
- AAT Advanced Diploma in Accounting
- Diploma in Production Accounting for Film and Television
- IAO Diploma in Accounting
- OCR Cambridge Technical Diploma in Art and Design (Photography)
- OCR Technical Diploma in Digital Media (Moving Image and Audio Production)
- BTEC National Diploma in Film and Television Production
- BTEC National Diploma in Photography
Selected schools and colleges have also started offering T-levels – a qualification designed to help you get into the industry you’re interested in. They are 80% classroom-based with the remaining 20% on a work placement. A T-level is equivalent to three A-levels.
The following T-levels would help kickstart your career in production:
- Media, Broadcast and Production
- Digital Production, Design and Development
- Digital Business Services
Get an apprenticeship:
An apprenticeship is a job with training, so it’s a great opportunity to earn as you learn. You might be able to find a production manager apprenticeship, but it can be challenging to find apprenticeships within production companies.
It might be worth looking for a job as an apprentice in an industry that uses similar skills such as project management, business or accountancy. You can then transfer into production management at a later point, so long as you keep up your interest in film and TV drama and develop your contacts.
Check out What is an apprenticeship? to learn more about apprenticeships and find an apprenticeship to learn how to find one in your region, or approach companies directly. Go to ScreenSkills information on apprenticeships for the main apprenticeship schemes in film and television.
Get a degree:
It’s not essential by any means, but you can have a look at ScreenSkills’ list of recommended courses in film and TV. 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 film and TV industries.
Get experience in organising:
While you are trying to break into film, get management or project management experience. Any job that involves planning, organising and budgeting will give you good experience. Hospitality is a great area to transfer from as it combines all of these – as well as experience with people.
Go to ScreenSkills’ events like Open Doors to meet people working in development departments. Give people in the production department your contact details and ask if you can do work experience. Go to How to network well for some tips.
Create a LinkedIn profile. See if there are Facebook pages or other social media groups for people making films or TV in your area. There might even be groups for runners and trainees. Join them. Create a ScreenSkills profile. There are a lot of crewing agencies that will charge you to be on their books. Sign up to the free ones initially. Wales Screen, Northern Ireland Screen and other areas offer free crew databases. Find a film office near you and get connected. If you do sign up to paid sites, make sure they specialise in the areas in which you’re interested.
Become a trainee:
Get onto ScreenSkills’ Trainee Finder scheme. Get the skills, make contacts and start working as a production trainee
You might also be interested in…
- The Production Guild
- Shooting People
- Below the Line: Find Film Work
- Screen Daily
- Box Office Mojo
- BAFTA Guru – YouTube Playlists
- ScreenSkills resources directory
- Development department
- Production management department