The Floor Manager works principally on studio-based productions, and makes sure the many moving parts of a live production – cast, guests and any participants – know what their cues are and meet them.
The Floor Manager’s role is a linking one: he or she operates between the Director and those participating in the programme, and is a critical liaison throughout. And all of this management and marshalling takes place under studio lights, in front of many people – and with the clock running.
Through a detailed knowledge of who does what, and when, the Floor Manager runs the show, armed with a running order, a headset, and bundles of energy and persuasive powers. With the help of numerous production runners, they bring order to all departments before and during recording.
In addition to managing and preparing people for their role in the recording and broadcast of the show, responsibilty extends to ensuring the availability and correct positioning of lighting and props, for example.
Floor Managers are highly organised people, who combine their communications skills, charm and persuasion to address and ideally predict any issues that may affect the programme, and avert the problem.
The role is demanding, and frequently requires long, consecutive days on set or location during a busy shoot.
To perform this role, you must:
Have an in-depth knowledge of the working of live TV studio shows.
Be completely familiar with scripts, running orders, participants’ cues and floor plans.
Be the Director’s eyes and ears for all action and developments that are taking place off-camera.
Understand in principal how equipment used during a show works.
Know how to conduct rehearsals to the highest standards.
Have a sufficiently wide knowledge of live TV production to be able to monitor the work of all departments and to give instructions accordingly.
Have the people skills to relate to celebrities, talent and audiences – and anyone else involved in the production.
Be calm under pressure, and good at keeping talkback communications to crew, and instructions to participants, clear and concise.
Have full knowledge of all safety regulations relating to filming live TV in studio.
Like so many other roles in the TV sector, there is no one path taken to reach this position. People will often have worked their way up from Runner and Production Assistant, or may even have come through more technical routes such as lighting.