Name: Jess Barnes
Job Title: Production Manager at Radley Yeldar
My position in a nutshell… I support producers through all aspects of film production.
How I got the job… I worked my way up. I started off as a production assistant – this is the entry level role within a film team – then moved up to a production co-ordinator role and now I’m a Production Manager. I didn’t have any experience in the industry and started out in the service industry. I’ve worked in restaurants, a cinema and also a comic book café! Immediately prior to working at Radley Yeldar, I was working as a secretary for an architectural design company but I really love film so decided to switch up my career and pursue something that I was more interested in.
My studies are also unrelated to the industry, I studied English Literature at university as I didn’t know what I wanted to do as a career at that point and wanted to keep my options open.
My typical day… There is no such thing as a typical day! It all depends what projects we have going on. On any given day I could be booking travel, arranging permits, booking equipment or managing budgets.
My most memorable moment… When I was acting as a producer on a shoot at the V&A museum for a charity event. Not only was the location really impressive, but there were also celebrity chefs and politicians there that we had to interview, which was really fascinating. I also felt super official walking around with a press badge on!
The worst part of my job… Sometimes things can get really hectic, and as we have strict deadlines to meet, it means we can often end up working late.
The best part of my job… Sometimes I get the opportunity to be a producer on some of the projects, usually smaller animations – at first it was terrifying but it’s also really fun.
What are the key skills / attributes needed in your role… You need to be organised, detail-orientated and a creative problem solver. This helps massively with all the planning that goes in to producing films. Don’t worry too much if you don’t have technical knowledge to start with, as you pick things up quickly if you’re naturally interested in the process.
Advice for someone looking to go into a similar role… There isn’t one route in to this industry and I don’t think you necessarily need to go to university but when applying for roles, think about what transferable skills you have gained through work experience. You need to be good at juggling lots of things at once and remain calm under pressure – these are skills you can develop in any working environment. Having a passion for film is essential, you need to show potential employers that you are curious and willing to learn and engage. Do some research in your own time, for example, consider why you like certain films and how they use different camera shots.
It’s always worth applying for a role that you’re interested in – the worst thing that can happen is they say no!