Jennifer Radzikowski is a United Production Manager who has been responsible for steering the ship on projects such as the 2017 Academy Award Winner "Moonlight". She started her career in the locations department working on projects such as Dolphin Tale 2, Burn Notice, Bones, Dexter, 2 Fast 2 furious… the list goes on and on. Most recently, she was in Oklahoma shooting Tom McCarthy’s new thriller ‘Stillwater’ starring Matt Damon.
A Unit Production Manager is responsible for advising on and overseeing the production budget, working with department heads to hire the production crew, and helps to keep the production on schedule throughout the filming process.
In pre-production, the Unit Production Manager hires crew members and consults with department heads to figure out what the script needs from each department to shoot the film. This entails working on the budget, gear packages, and any special equipment needed for each department. The Unit Production Manager also oversees costume fittings, hair and makeup tests, camera tests, and locations scouts. Throughout this process, they work with the shooting schedule to make sure departments will have what they need when they need it for filming.
During filming, the Unit Production Manager acts as a face for the producers on the set. They support department heads and crew to make sure the shooting schedule is accomplished. In the event that a crew member must be fired, the Unit Production Manager will accomplish the task respectfully and with regard to employment contracts and union guidelines.
Budgeting: It is important that a UPM understands how much an element in a script will cost and how long it will take to film. A knack for numbers and detail-oriented planning will help any Unit Production Manager keep production on track.
Interpersonal Skills: The ability to communicate well, collaborate with a wide array of people and departments, resolve conflict, negotiate compromises, and listen to the needs of others is vital to a UPM.
Ability to meet challenges: Unexpected challenges arise daily on a film set. It is important to be able to problem solve quickly in order to help people stay on task in high-stress situations.
Self-Starter: A Unit Production Manager juggles a lot of daily tasks and interactions with people, always keeping the goals of production in mind. Someone in this position needs to self-motivated and confident to make decisions that will benefit the crew as well as accomplish the Director’s vision for the project.
Production Office Coordinator
All Department Heads
Work as much as you can on film sets as an intern and PA -- try more than one department! This will help you have an understanding of the crew and department needs on a production. The work you do in these positions will help you build key relationships and lead to other opportunities that will give you the right training for this position.
For TV and studio movies a Unit Production Manager should expect between $3,500 to $4,800 per week. On low budget indie movies this can be as low as $200 per day. The Unit Production Manager position is covered by the Directors Guild of America. You can see their minimum scale rates here:
Learn more about our guest and host:
Learn More About Jennifer Radzikowski: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0705943/
Learn More About Kim Mott: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm2714739/?ref_=fn_nm_nm_16
Film Crew 101: Certification is an extension of the free Podcast series "Film Crew 101" (available on apple, spotify, and wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts). Each episode pulls back the curtain on all the different roles that go into making a film or TV show from Gaffer's to Best Boy's and First Assistant Director's to Second Second Assistant Director's.
If you have ever dreamt about working in film and television but don’t know where to start, we invite you to get certified with Film Crew 101.