Category: Leigh Harkrider

Leigh Harkrider Discusses the Unit Production Manager Position

As one of the fastest-growing industries, film has quickly become one of the most popular majors for American college students. Averaging close to 50,000 graduates each year, recent film graduates often clamor for the 2,000 studio positions available and, in doing so, overlook other dynamic film opportunities available to them. Leigh Harkrider, a unit production manager, line producer, and filmmaker with over 13 years of experience within the industry, hopes to showcase its various positions and the requirements associated with each position. Today, Leigh Harkrider will discuss the Unit Production Manager Position, its daily tasks, and what prerequisites the job requires. 

What is a Unit Production Manager 

A Unit Production Manager, otherwise known as a UPM or Production Manager, primarily serves as the film shoot administrator. Unit Production Managers are often hired for various projects, including major films, television, commercials, and amateur films. UPMs manage the project’s budget, schedule, and various tasks and problems that arise during production. While the Unit Production Producer sets the production’s budget limits and negotiates the main contracts, UPMs are in charge of executing the Unit Production Producer’s decisions. Additionally, a UPM will often be in charge of overseeing a section of the budget, taking charge of cast and crew problems, and often organizing units shooting abroad. 

How to Become a Unit Production Manager

To be considered for most UPM positions, candidates are often required to have attended an accredited film school. It is essential for UPMs to have an in-depth knowledge of the various aspects of a film production in order to manage a set properly. Additionally, when hiring a UPM, the hiring staff will frequently look for candidates with past budgeting and organizing experience. The more experience a candidate has working on film sets in an organization or managerial capacity, the more likely they are to get the position. 

What Makes a Good Unit Production Manger

Perhaps the most important talent of any good UPM is the ability to multi-task. If a UPM is talented at managing budgets as well as keeping schedules but cannot do these tasks simultaneously, they will have a difficult time being successful as a UPM. A UPM position is made up of multiple responsibilities; to this end, a highly organized person with a background in juggling numerous tasks will often be the best person for the job.