So, you want to be a production coordinator

With so many career options in the film and television industry, it can be overwhelming to figure out where you should apply your skills. Our industry Q&As with local crew provide an introduction to the different career paths available in the industry, helping you find what you’re passionate about and providing advice and tips that’ll help you land that dream job.

We caught up with Samantha Ramphal for an introduction to the role of production coordinator. Samantha has spent several years working as a production coordinator, primarily in animation, for companies like DHX Media, GAPC Entertainment and Atomic Cartoons, where she currently works as a production manager. She was the CG production coordinator on the Emmy Award-winning Netflix series The Last Kids on Earth and the animation coordinator on the film Curious George: Royal Monkey. Prior to joining Atomic Cartoons, Samantha worked on both live-action and animated productions, such as My Little Pony: The Movie, Transformers: Rescue Bots, The Incredible Hulk, and Repo Men.

Production coordinator/manager Samantha Ramphal. Photo provided.

Can you start by telling us what a production coordinator does?
A production coordinator is responsible for managing a particular department of production. They are often referred to as the “glue” that holds the production together.

Did you always want to work in the film, television and animation industry? How did you get started?
My dream was to be a singer, however, due to lack of talent, I figured TV/Film would be the next best thing! I started off as a background actress.

What skills or training does a production coordinator need to be successful?
Having a post-secondary education in TV/Film production or animation is a great start. To be a successful coordinator the main skills would be time management, working well under pressure, deadline-oriented, working well with others, and problem-solving skills. It is also important to have great communication skills.

What’s the most challenging part of being a production coordinator?
The most challenging part of being a coordinator is being able to find the balance between the creative side and the production side.

Production coordinator/manager Samantha Ramphal. Photo provided.

What has been your most rewarding experience in this industry?
I have been able to offer a lot of opportunities to those just starting out in the industry which has been really rewarding for me as I was once that person looking to get my foot in the door.

What advice would you give others in Ottawa and Canada who are interested in becoming a production coordinator?
Volunteer and network. I would not have made it in the industry if it weren’t for the references made during my volunteer positions, internships, and networking events.