The floor manager is the guy (or girl) in the thick of it. Used mainly in studio productions, floor managers are the directors’ men on the ground. They ensure presenters and guest meet their cues and the programme runs smoothly. To give you an example, before the acts come onstage in The X Factor, the floor manager is the fella in the headset counting them on.
They also have a bit of a roadie role, checking that equipment is working properly before filming starts and the relevant props are ready. Floor managers ensure that audiences are seated and guests know where to go and what to do. They lead a team of runners and oversee other departments, such as props, lighting and sound.
Television floor managers also help prepare and plan productions, supervise the live rehearsals and make sure everyone knows what they should be doing and when. They deal with any technical hitches and ensure the production floor meets health and safety regulations. In short, they prevent everything from descending into absolute chaos.
Salary & benefits
The majority of television floor managers are self-employed and work freelance. Consequently, salaries can vary depending on location, set, duration of contract and employer.
Floor managers might earn anything from £120 to £400 a day. Those starting out will probably expect salaries between £16,000 and £22,000, while those further along in the profession might be earning over £25,000 a year.
Due to the freelance nature of the work, it doesn’t offer a lot of job security. Working hours are irregular and ultimately depend on how long the studio’s been booked for.
Consequently, television floor managers might find themselves working a 14-hour day, for days on end, or late into the evenings. Happily, these periods of intense work will usually be followed by a few days off.
This profession is open to those both with and without degrees. Those with degrees come from all degree disciplines, but some take courses in areas such as media studies, film and television, or drama/theatre studies to give them an edge.
This isn’t an entry level position. Regardless of education, everyone usually has to work their way up to a floor manager role from more junior positions, such as working as a runner or an assistant floor manager. Entry through a technical role is often advantageous.
Good floor managers will be super organised, quick to react and resolve problems under pressure, have top-notch communication skills and a friendly, approachable manner.
Training & progression
Television floor managers tend to learn on the job, usually through working as an assistant floor manager or runner, although there are some courses that people can take to improve their skills.
As most floor managers work on a freelance basis, networking and effective marketing will be key to their career development. These guys might specialise in a certain area of television and command higher fees, or they might progress onto assistant director or producer roles.
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