What's the Difference Between Line Producer and Production Manager

April 17, 2023


Lights, camera, action! Have you ever wondered who's in charge of ensuring everything runs smoothly on a film or television set? The entertainment world has many moving parts, and it takes a skilled team to bring a project to life. That team includes a unit production manager, line producer, and production manager, but what's the difference between these roles?

In this article, we'll explore the differences between line producer and unit production manager and clarify the responsibilities of each position for film production. Understanding the behind-the-scenes magic of a product will give you a new appreciation for the art of filmmaking. So grab your popcorn, and dive in with us!

What is a Line Producer

A line producer is a vital film or television production team member who manages the project's budget and day-to-day operations. They collaborate closely with the director and unit production manager to maintain the project's timeline and budget.

The line producer is engaged in every stage of production, from pre-production planning through post-production, and supervises the work of several departments, including the camera, sound, and lighting crews.

What is a Unit Production Manager

A unit production manager is a vital component of a film or television production team responsible for managing the project's logistical elements. They collaborate closely with the director and line producer to ensure the product works well.

The unit production manager manages diverse departments and resources, including venues, transportation, equipment, and staff. In addition, they undertake administrative duties such as budgeting, scheduling, and crew member recruiting with being involved in pre-production.

Line Producer: What Does a Line Producer Do

An important part of making movies and TV shows is the work of the line producer. From pre-production through post-production, they are essential to the project's success.

  • Set Up a Production Company

One of the first tasks of a line producer is to set up a film production company. This involves registering the company, obtaining necessary licenses and permits, and establishing a business plan. The line producer works closely with the film and executive producers to determine the project's scope and develop a production strategy.

  • Break Down a Script

The line producer's job is to break down the script into manageable parts. They analyze each scene and determine the resources needed for the production. This includes the actors, locations, and equipment needed for each scene.

  • Budget a Film

The line producer creates a detailed budget for the film. They work with the production accountant to estimate the costs of each department, including above-the-line talent, below-the-line talent, and production expenses. The line producer also ensures that the budget is realistic and within the limits of the film's financing. (The film producer would usually complete this in pre-production but manage the budget throughout)

  • Hire a Casting Director

The line producer works with the casting director to hire the actors for the film and acts as a production coordinator. They assist in creating the casting call and determine the roles' criteria. They also negotiate the actors' contracts and fees and ensure they align with the film's budget.

  • Find Great Crew for a Production

The line producer is responsible for finding a great crew for the production. This includes hiring production assistants, assistant directors, and other key personnel.

They work with the production supervisor to determine the crew's roles and responsibilities and ensure they have the necessary skills and experience to complete their tasks.

  • Scout for Shooting Locations

The line producer helps scout shooting locations for the film. They work with the director to determine the visual style and tone of the film and search for locations that match those specifications. They also negotiate the location fees and ensure they align with the film's budget.

  • Secure Film Equipment

The line producer is responsible for securing the necessary film equipment for the production. They work with the unit production manager (UPM) to determine the equipment needed for each department and ensure it is available for the shoot. They negotiate rental fees and ensure they are within the film's budget.

  • Production Insurance

The line producer ensures that the production is adequately insured. They work with the production accountant to determine the insurance requirements for the film and ensure that the product has the necessary coverage. This includes liability insurance, workers' compensation insurance, and equipment insurance.

  • Manage a Production

The line producer manages the production, ensuring that everything runs smoothly. They work with the assistant director to create a shooting schedule and ensure everyone is on time and on schedule. They also manage any issues during the shoot, such as weather delays or equipment malfunctions.

  • Prepare for Post-Production

The line producer prepares for post-production by working with the editor and post-production supervisor to ensure the film is ready for editing.

They coordinate the delivery of the footage, sound, and visual effects to the post-production team and ensure that the editing process stays on schedule and within budget.

Production Manager: What Does a Unit Production Manager Do

A unit production manager (UPM) is a critical component of the film or television production team who oversees all areas of the production process.

Their responsibilities include establishing timetables, procuring sites, arranging transportation, recruiting crew members, developing a budget, administering the production office, coordinating meals, and monitoring crew personnel.

  • Setting schedules

Scheduling is one of the most critical responsibilities of a UPM. They collaborate closely with the director, line producer, and production coordinator to construct a comprehensive production schedule for all shooting requirements. This involves managing the schedules of performers, locales, and staff members to guarantee seamless production.

  • Settings locations

Location security is another important obligation of the UPM. They collaborate closely with the site manager to locate and secure shooting venues. This may entail negotiating with property owners, acquiring permits, and ensuring all required authorizations are in place.

  • Providing transportation

Transportation is also an important aspect of the UPM's duties. They arrange with transportation suppliers to guarantee that cast and crew personnel are transported safely and quickly to and from shooting sites.

  • Hiring crew members

The UPM also has the vital role of recruiting crew members. They collaborate closely with the production assistant and post-production supervisor to find and employ the required production crew members. This comprises camera operators and makeup artists.

  • Creating a budget

Budgeting is a crucial aspect of the UPM's duties. They collaborate closely with the line producer and production coordinator to generate a precise budget for all production-related expenses. This comprises all services, from equipment rental to food.

  • Operating the production office

In addition to managing the production office, the UPM is responsible for several important responsibilities. They supervise the daily activities of the production office, including the management of paperwork, the organization of meetings, and coordination with the production team.

  • Organizing meals

The organization of meals is another crucial aspect of the UPM's duties. They collaborate closely with the catering staff to ensure that the actors and crew get nutritional meals throughout the product revise Snewrvise crew members

Another crucial aspect of the UPM's work is to supervise the crew members. They collaborate closely with the production assistant and other production team members to ensure that all crew members collaborate successfully and efficiently.

3 Key Differences Between a Line Producer and a Unit Production Manager

Even though both Line Producers and Unit Production Managers (UPMs) play crucial roles in film and television production, there are significant distinctions between the two jobs. These are three of the most notable distinctions:


Although both Line Producers and UPMs must have great organizational and leadership abilities, their skill sets vary somewhat. Line Producers must be capable of strategic planning and managing the full production process. They must comprehensively know all production components, including budgeting, scheduling, casting, and post-production.

UPMs, on the other hand, need expertise in logistics management and attention to detail. To keep the production on track, they must be able to handle complicated schedules, finances, and resources and have strong communication and problem-solving abilities.


The Line Producer is often a higher-ranking post than the UPM. Typically, the Line Producer directs the whole production, whereas the UPM reports to the Line Producer and controls the production's specifics.


Line Producers are often compensated at a higher rate than UPMs owing to their greater degree of responsibility and decision-making. In May 2020, the median annual pay for producers and directors, including Line Producers and UPMs, was $74,420, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

Yet, incomes might vary from less than $35,390 for the lowest 10% to more than $187,199 for the richest 10%. For large-scale projects, a line producer may make substantially more than a production manager, with some receiving six-figure incomes.

The Verdict

Although both positions demand strong organizational and leadership abilities, their tasks, hierarchies, and skill sets vary significantly. Line Producers are often higher-ranking and more strategic, while Production Managers are more focused on logistics management and are more detail-oriented.

In film and television production, both Line Producers and Production Managers play crucial responsibilities, and their teamwork is fundamental to the success of a project.

Knowing the distinctions between the line producer and the production manager may assist aspiring filmmakers and industry professionals in making intelligent career decisions and contributing to the success of films.

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