Who Produces What?

Posted on June 10, 2007

Since thesis films have started, there’s been some confusion as to what the difference is between the Unit Production Manager (UPM) and Second Assistant Director (Second AD), both first year jobs. On F3s, there was only a Second AD and everything seemed to work out alright. So what does the UPM do?

There’s the official job description (page 10) from the DGA website, but some things don’t really apply, such as preparing a budget and coordinating cast and crew housing. It also says the First AD reports to the UPM, but I wouldn’t be bossing around my First AD anytime soon. Here’s how things have been working out so far.

I (the UPM) have been working for the Producer doing whatever she asks while the Second AD works for the First AD. On set I’ll handle cast, crew, and location paperwork (Crew Deal Memos, Actor Releases, Location Releases) while the Second AD will do the production paperwork (Call Sheets, Daily Production Report, Sign-In Sheets). Our roles have been more of an assistant then department head.

One of these jobs could probably be eliminated and everything would still be fine, but it does lighten the load during pre-production.

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Written by Joey Daoud

Joey Daoud is an award-winning documentary filmmaker. His past films have appeared on Netflix, The New York Times, and National Geographic. He is also a YouTube creator across multiple channels with videos garnering millions of views. In his free time, he likes to climb mountains, scuba dive, and brew unique coffees.

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