NFTS Production Managers Work on Productions Starring Natalie Portman & Kit Harington


NFTS Production Managers Work on Productions Starring Natalie Portman & Kit Harington

Scholarships Available; Apply Now!

(Kit Harington, Jessica Chastain and Natalie Portman: Stars of upcoming film, The Death and Life of John F. Donovan)

 Sannah Salameh: “I always enjoy being on set; there is a special energy in a lot of people working towards a common goal that I really love”

We caught up with some of the NFTS Production Management for Film and Television Diploma students to find out what they are doing for their work experience and how it’s going so far. If you enjoy what you read, this could be you in September! There are also two scholarships available for Sargent-Disc, the leading UK provider of payroll, production accounting and production management software to the entertainment industries. Find out more and apply now at

Jenny Martin (Sargent-Disc Scholar)

I am currently on placement, working for Bedlam Productions Ltd. (who previously made The King’s Speech with Seesaw Films) under the Head of Production and with a freelance Producer. I have been helping to production coordinate three short political broadcast films to be aired on BBC and ITV. I saw this experience as an opportunity to learn more of the world of politics whilst doing a job which is otherwise familiar to me. My training at the NFTS really has prepared me well for the precision and efficiency that is asked of me from the job. As the team is so small, I feel I am a vital part of the machine and I am in my element.

I am soon to move onto my second placement, where I have been offered another two weeks on a feature film, Swimming with Men to be directed by Oliver Parker (Johnny English Reborn, St Trinian's 2: The Legend of Fritton's GoldDad’s Army) where I will be assisting in the production office. I want to move into feature films and/or TV drama when I graduate so this is really a gleaming opportunity for me!

I am so grateful to the School, to my mentors and to Sargent-Disc for supporting and encouraging me to speak out and offer myself to the world. At this stage I want to soak up all the available experience and familiarise myself with the industry, as soon I’ll be a part of it – and I really can’t wait!

Chris Hopper

I have been working on The Death and Life of John F. Donovan, an upcoming Canadian drama directed by Xavier Dolan with a stellar cast including Natalie Portman, Jessica Chastain and Kit Harington. Tasks have included researching venues for the wrap party for the UK unit and the costume department asked me research and order a pair of shoes for one of the actresses, which I managed to negotiate for free! The art, location, and production departments for The Death and Life of John F. Donovan are all based in the same office. I have been working in the prep period between shooting blocks so there has been a lot of organising to prepare for the next round of filming. I have been doing all the office-based runner jobs including food shops, post runs, coffee rounds, cleaning and tidying, and photocopying and printing, but I have also been able to visit other departments such as costume and help them out too.

For me the highlight of the Production Management for Film and Television Diploma so far has been the opportunity to manage the budget for a short film. Most people would not consider production management to be a creative role, but you have to know a lot about every department in the filmmaking process and manage money creatively in order to make sure the production survives. I find this a lot of fun as I get to build relationships within a production quickly! After graduation, I will be applying for jobs in feature films as a Production Assistant and plan to work my way through various roles in production (secretary, coordinator etc) and eventually hope to be a Production Manager in this area.

Kieran Nolan Jones (Sargent-Disc Scholar)

Since starting the Production Management Diploma, I have been lucky enough to participate in a number of work placements:

Sargent-Disc, a business specialising in accounting and software services for the entertainment industries, gave me the opportunity to spearhead pre-production on five animated 'how to' videos, which explained how to use their latest software CrewStart.

I am currently on work experience with Ridley Scott’s companies, RSA and Scott Free Productions, where I have been assisting each department within the whole company as an overall Production and Office Runner Intern.  In the production office, duties include answering telephones, filing paperwork and data entry. Other tasks include arranging lunches, dinners, and transportation, reservations, photocopying, general office administration, and distributing production paperwork. 

Furthermore, on an ad-hoc basis I am participating in work experience within the VFX department on Oscar-winning director, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck's new film, Werk ohne Autor, under the guidance of VFX Supervisor, Simon Giles (Penny Dreadful, A Royal Night Out, The Devils Double). This opportunity has allowed me to gain experience within an independent VFX setting. Tasks have ranged from sourcing post production crew such as Opening/End Title Designers, shadowing Simon as he creates the VFX budget, organising meetings and accompanying Simon on pitch meetings with various VFX Houses who aim to 'bid' to work on the project. 

When I graduate, I aspire to become a VFX Production Coordinator progressing to VFX Production Manager/Producer.  I am especially interested in following this career path as I find the overall postproduction and VFX pipelines fascinating. In addition I hope to develop and produce/production manage my own short fiction and animated films, progressing one day to feature length films.

Sannah Salameh

After working on two different projects for my work experience, I can say that every day is the same, but different.  There is plenty of running around, lots of stands to load in and out of trucks, and endless numbers of teas and coffees to make. Although the motions are the same, the context that you are doing them in always differs, and that’s why it never gets boring.

You have to be prepared to be the emergency glue to fill various holes! So far, I have been a caterer, set dresser, lights holder, first aider, background artist, child entertainer and cat feeder on top of doing the more straightforward PA stuff (a lot of printing, calling and emailing). For me the best part is always the people you meet and work with. You end up sharing very random things with your colleagues like trying to rein in two massive dogs running loose on a set, armed only with a piece of bacon!

I’ve had so much fun so far on the Diploma! I have met amazing people from every department, but I must give a shout out to my fellow PMs. We come from very different backgrounds, but people in that room have my back and I have theirs. I always enjoy being on set; there is a special energy in a lot of people working towards a common goal that I really love. Meeting cool industry people has been another highlight. Production Management is a female dominated profession, so we have met some badass women who have been so inspiring!  Another highlight was hearing Steve McQueen speak. I have admired him since way back in his art days and I was really star struck.

I want to be able to choose projects that really inspire and interest me. To have freedom of choice is the biggest luxury. In the long run, I want to be more involved in developing projects, starting a production company together with likeminded people would be cool, or even try my hand at directing.

For more information about the Production Management for Film and Television, please visit