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Senior Director, Production and Operations, Topic (Temp)

First Look Media, New York, NY

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This is a 6-month contract position with the possibility of becoming permanent.

The Role: 

The Senior Director, Production and Operations is responsible for overseeing all physical Production and Ingestion needs for all of Topic’s non-Studio content, including narrative films, television episodic series, digital series, podcasts, shorts, and documentaries. 

This Senior Director will work closely with the Development team and external producers and distributors to develop and vet production plans for shows in development and pre-production (including budgets, schedules, cash flow and overall approach to physical production), as well as oversee production and postproduction on Topic projects.

The Senior Director will act as a liaison between Topic and its outside partners in all matters related to physical production, acquired content ingestion, and oversee Topic’s post-production executive.

This role includes overseeing all departmental Operations including pitch/development/production project tracking, the team’s overall budget, and systems management including month to month and annual review/planning. This role will also oversee and advise on existing systems in order to maximize efficiency as we assess and build Topic’s production capability. 

After six months, as we build Topic’s slate and as Production needs are assessed, there is potential for this role to become a regular staff position. 

Comprehensive working knowledge of the independent film space, film and television industry agreements, guild and union regulations (WGA, DGA and SAG-AFTRA) is required. 

Complete understanding of production and post-production budgets is a must. 

The Senior Director, Production will be an integral member of the Topic team and will report to the GM, Topic. The role will initially have one direct report, Post-Production Coordinator.

Primary Responsibilities: 

  • Work with producers and Topic Management to create and/or vet production schedules and budgets.
  • Core responsibilities include overseeing the staffing of productions, cost reporting, vendor and crew deal negotiations, tax rebate analysis, payroll, and any necessary guild, legal and insurance requirements.
  • Work with Human Resources as needed to negotiate crew deals and staff up productions.
  • Oversee all productions for Topic, to ensure that productions are on-schedule and on-budget, and identify potential problem areas as early as possible. Make set visits as needed.
  • Communicate with productions, distributors, and Topic execs on production status across multiple projects concurrently.
  • Ensure that producers and distributors have delivery specifications and are properly budgeted to deliver according to spec.
  • Assist producers in identifying solutions to location, staffing, vendors and other production-related challenges.
  • Manage Topic Post-Production staff to ensure timely delivery to Topic and outside partners according to all delivery specifications, make sure deliverables are budgeted prior to post.  
  • Work with Topic Finance and Business Affairs to determine appropriate levels of insurance coverage and ensure that all productions are complying with these requirements.
  • Establish a strong roster of vendor and staff/crew relationships for a broad range of productions.
  • Help develop best practices from pre-production through delivery.
  • Oversee all project, systems, and budget tracking, including month to month and annual review and planning for the next year.

Background & Qualifications: 

  • 6-8 years of experience in production executive roles, line producing or production management across various platforms including film, television and digital content.
  • Proven experience of production team management with a major studio, television network or production company.
  • Extensive relationships within the production community and beyond is required.
  • Excellent communication (written and verbal), interpersonal, organizational and computer skills are necessary.
  • Ability to operate with significant autonomy and discretion.
  • Ability to prioritize in a complex, fast-paced environment.
  • Experience dealing with film festivals (submissions, film traffic protocols, etc.)
  • Ability to effectively and efficiently create budgets and schedules for film, television, podcasts, acquisitions, and documentaries. Experience with small to moderately budgeted auteur-driven, independent scripted projects essential.
  • Ability to manage multiple, complex projects that are global in nature under extremely tight deadlines.
  • Start-up experience strongly preferred, in particular comfort level with performing all production tasks as sole member of department during a parental leave.
  • Working knowledge of post-production and content ingestion process: hands-on post experience beneficial, but not required.
  • Experience with production budget and management and tracking software tools and databases.
  • Experience in generating production reports and schedules.
  • Strong cost reporting skills and ability to constantly estimate completion costs throughout a project.
  • Strong skills to react to changes in story and production - particularly in our more journalistic and documentary programming.
  • Ability to be hands on as needed, “owner mentality” and accountability a must.

About TOPIC

Topic is the ambitious new storytelling brand and entertainment studio from First Look Media, dedicated to supporting creators at the forefront of culture. 

From Academy Award®-winning films to television, audio and digital, we explore a wide range of subject matter, both fiction and nonfiction with an emphasis on stories of consequence that explore the issues of our time. Our approach – challenging, compelling and unconventional – reflects our commitment to discovering and amplifying independent new voices, and supporting established ones.

About First Look Media

First Look Media is a new-model media company devoted to supporting independent voices, from fearless investigative journalism and documentary filmmaking to smart, provocative entertainment. Launched in 2013 by eBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar, First Look Media was created with the belief that independent perspectives are vital to both a vibrant culture and a thriving democracy. 

First Look Media is currently in the market with its flagship properties, The Intercept, Field of Vision, and the soon to launch Topic SVOD service, and plans to continue expanding its mission of supporting independent voices via a variety of new brands, formats and platforms as well as through foundational technology helping creators and audiences develop, distribute, discover and connect with meaningful stories.

We are an Equal Opportunity Employer--people of color, people with disabilities, women, and LGBT candidates are strongly encouraged to apply; we are committed to a diverse workplace, and to supporting our staff with ongoing career development opportunities.  

About First Look Media

A bold, independent spirit defines everything we do at First Look Media – from journalism that holds the powerful accountable, to arts & entertainment that shapes our culture. Launched by eBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar, First Look Media is built on the belief that freedom of expression and of the press, and fiercely independent perspectives, are vital to a healthy democracy and a vibrant culture. Through our award-winning entertainment studio, Topic, we develop, produce and finance content for all screens including feature films, television, digital series and podcasts. First Look’s entertainment business supports the work of our nonprofit side, which is home to The Intercept, dedicated to fearless, adversarial journalism; Field of Vision, the filmmaker-driven documentary unit; and The Press Freedom Defense Fund, supporting journalists, filmmakers and others challenging actions that restrict press freedoms and impede access to information of public concern. First Look co-financed Spotlight, the 2016 Academy Award®-winning Best Picture and has continued to build an impressive slate of feature films under the Topic studio including: On the Other Side, with Carey Mulligan attached, which tells the story of Kate Webb, the female war correspondent who was held in captivity during the Vietnam War; Academy Award® nominated cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto’s (Silence) directorial debut of Bastard with Martin Scorsese and Emma Tillinger Koskoff of Sikelia Productions, alongside producer Jordan Horowitz (La La Land); My Abandonment directed by Academy Award®® nominee Debra Granik (Winter’s Bone, Down to the Bone) and starring Ben Foster (Hell or High Water, The Messenger). In addition to feature films, our documentary film roster includes: No Man’s Land, produced in association with Morgan Spurlock’s Warrior Poets, about the Patriot Movement; Nobody Speak: Hulk Hogan, Gawker & Trails of Free Press, directed by Brian Knappenberger, which premiered on Netflix; and the newly released Risk, from Academy Award® winner Laura Poitras (Citizenfour) about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, which will premiere on Showtime this month. Our list of influential podcasts covering politics, current affairs and popular culture include the number one charting (iTunes) Missing Richard Simmons, Intercepted with Jeremy Scahill and Politically Re-Active with W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu. We also publish The Nib, a site for the most provocative satirical and political comics.

First Look Media

Want to learn more about First Look Media? Visit First Look Media's website.