It seems to take far too much effort to tell people what I do for a living. My actual job title is a throwback to the film industry, but what I do has very little to do with filmmaking. Traditionally, the Production Manager managed the crew and equipment, while the Producers managed the schedules & line item budgets. “Producer” sounds a lot less glamorous when you know what it is.
Although I have the vague title of Production Manager, I am often introduced in meetings as the Project Manager, to clarify my role for clients. And sometimes, yes, I do traditional project management stuff, like making Gantt chart schedules, calculating bids, hiring vendors, setting up meetings, etc. But to me Project Manager still sounds like it’s about software development or construction, as opposed to creative work.
My role naturally falls into some traditional ad agency patterns, since that is where creative work was made into an industry. For instance, I do a lot of account management – maintaining communication with clients and providing customer service. On the other hand, the producer side of my job demands that I play bad cop and charge for scope changes, etc.
A big part of my job is the bidding and proposal process, and then once we have the project I am less involved in the daily production than some Project Managers might be, because the Art Directors like to manage their own process to a large degree, while I manage client expectations.
What it comes down to is communication, which I mostly do via email because I’m a writer and I like an electronic paper trail. More than anything I am a communication hub and an interpreter of client requests. So when people ask what I do at my job and I say, “respond to emails,” I am only half-joking. That really is a big part of it. But I need a better way to express the value of what I do. Sometimes I need to remind myself that I actually DO something besides fending off chaos.