Unit Production Manager or UPM

Unit production manager or UPM is usually hired by the producer and is responsible for managing the production and regulating the cost of delivering the film on budget at the end of principle photography.

He or she works closely with the Line Producer and first assistant director and it is not uncommon for a line producer to function as a UPM.

Create a Working Budget and Schedule

Based upon the shooting script, the UPM will create a working budget and schedule during the preproduction process prior to start of principal photography. This will chart a recommend budgetary course for the project.

The UPM is also responsible for more detailed planning and execution of the costs that are allocated for actual physical production or filming of the movie.

The duties of the UPM under the supervision of the producer involved:

· Creating the preliminary shooting schedule.

· Overseeing the preliminary search and survey of shooting locations along with the location manager and location scout,

· And completing the business arrangement for such location.

· Assisting in the negotiations of deals for locations and equipment, supervising completion of the production reports for each day’s work.

· Showing the works covered that day and the status of the overall production.

· Overseeing the distribution of the production reports in line with the producers requirements.

· Participating in the hiring of the below line crew — that is everyone other than the actors, producers, writers and directors.

· Coordinating arrangement for the transportation and housing of the cast, crew and staff.

· Overseeing the securing or releases.

· And assisting the location manager in obtaining permits from the local authorities regarding the use of filming locations.


Before principal photography begins, both the producer and the UPM work to secure as many other production elements as possible, including a workable filming schedule and budget.

They both usually work from a production office during preproduction, and may later divide their time between the office and the set during the principal photography.


Creative decisions are not part of the UPM role. However there may be conditions where budget changes need to be made to accommodate the director’s vision.

During principal photography the UPM will have:

· Final approval overall financial expenditures,

· Approved salary and timesheet for crew,

· And sign off on each day’s call sheet.

The unit production manager is also the producers’ eyes and ears on set.


Production reports are produced daily:

· Detailing the shoots progress, cost incurred and changes made to the schedule or budget.

· If the film or show is lagging behind the projected goals, the UPM must step in to identify the cause, and take action to get the shoot back on track.

· Ultimately the UPM is responsible to the producer — the person signing the cheques, to keep the project on time and on budget.


The UPM must balance with the director want against the budget allows.

· If the scene is running over scheduled, the UPM may have to cut staff or draw funds from one line item to give to another.

· When conflicts arise that threaten the smooth operation of the crew, the UPM will step in to mediate the situation and decide on a cause of action.


While not a creative role, the UPM does have authority to terminate crew appointment, or alter the equipment and materials list, or advise the director on what is, and is not feasible under the budget and schedule.

Highly experienced UPM bring great value to the film for their strategic and creative problem-solving skills.

This individuals will positively affect the film’s budget as well as the final outcome and quality of the film on multiple levels.


A unit production manager must have knowledge of all equipment used in filmmaking, job function and computer software and techniques related to the industry.

He or she must also have extensive knowledge in the areas of finance, Hunan Resources, Mathematics, Statistics and entertainment business as a whole.


The UPM must also be a skilled diplomat and good problem solver.

He or she must be strong enough to say NO when the director want to spend more money than the budget allows.