Unit production manager

Unit production manager

A Unit Production Manager (UPM) is an executive who is responsible for the administration of a film.


A UPM is usually hired by a producer of a film or television show, and is responsible for watching all the costs of the project, with the intention of delivering the film or television show on budget at the end of principal photography. The UPM will deliver the working budget to the financier during the "prep" period (pre-production, prior to the start of principal photography), thereby setting the business plan of the project. Typically, Producers are responsible for cost-related decisions on above-the-line (primarily, casting) issues, while the UPM is responsible for the below-the-line (primarily, production period) costs. The Film Director will usually have the final say on the selection of the cinematographer, costume designer, production designer, and film editor, while the UPM makes the deals and hires the remaining crew.

Before principal photography begins both UPM and producer will get all of the production elements in place, usually working in the production office. When the shooting begins, they may divide their time between the office and the set, or may work out of a trailer on the set. They typically remain on a project for 2-6 weeks of "wrap-up" after principal photography.

While the position of UPM is one that gets very little recognition outside the film industry, but all successful UPMs have a great deal of knowledge about every element of filmmaking, as they must approve each and every expenditure. UPM's are also often listed first on a film's ending credits.

A union UPM is represented by [http://www.dga.org The Directors Guild of America] .


A UPM's duties usually include the following:
* Preparing the budget by breaking down the script into its elements
* Bearing the responsibility for most of the financial negotiations, such as for equipment procurement and concerning stage costs
* Preparing a preliminary shooting schedule; the 1st Assistant Director takes over this responsibility while discussing changes with the UPM
* Hiring the crew, except for those hired by the director

Management duties

UPMs also have management duties to perform, which include the following:
* Approving all production expenditures, usually submitted via purchase order, check request, or petty cash envelopes
* Negotiating the crews' salaries and approving time cards
* Negotiating equipment procurement (for example, cameras, film stock and lights), while attempting to use the preferred vendors of the Director of Photography, Director, or the UPM themselves.
* Approving each day's "call sheet" and "production report".
* Often needing to mollify those members of the crew involved in personality conflicts.

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