The Floor Manager is the person in charge of the studio floor. The studio floor is the main production area, but this could also be a stage or where the presenters and guests are located if shooting outside. The ‘FM’ is also the link from the gallery to presenters, guests and audience on the studio floor. A talkback system is used to stay in contact with the gallery, this is usually an earpiece and microphone. The information which is passed, usually consists of the cues and timings for the presenters and guests, which the FM then relays to the studio.
Before the show:
- Seating and preparing the audience
- coordinating rehearsals
- Ensuring all equipment is in place and checked for any potential technical faults
- Checking the staging, furniture and props are all ready
- Brief the presenters and participants in the show
- Production planning and consulting on logistics
During the show:
- Preparing and organising upcoming parts of the show
- Relaying information from the gallery and to the studio
- Cuing presenters and guests and giving them timings
- Controlling the audience and keeping them safe and entertained
- Safety issues on the studio floor
- Updating the director of action happening off camera
- If outside of the studio; talks with venue staff, organising the guests, etc.
A typical starting salary for a Floor Manager is between £14,000 – £20,000. At senior level with 10-15 years of experience, a typical salary would be £25,000 upwards. A majority of FM work on a Freelance basis, where salaries can be paid on an hourly, daily or weekly basis, depending on the company’s preferences. Higher salaries will be earned in London, but a freelance FM may earn between £180 to £400 for an average days work. This is all average, however each job varies depending on the location, company, experience and the duration and demand.
A Floor Manager is always expected to stay until the job is complete. This could mean working late nights and evenings, with irregular and long hours. It is not uncommon to work a 15-hour day. The hours a FM will be needed, is dictated by the studios booking times. Each day will be different, depending on the demand. They could film one episode a day, or five. This could lead to working ten days in a row, or three extremely long days, then a day off. This is mainly the conditions for someone working freelance, they will be expected to work the hours demanded by the production company. Freelance workers will also experience periods of time of unemployment, which is the same for many freelance workers in different media sectors. FM mainly work within a studio, however if they’re covering such sporting events they will work on location. Big television companies such as the BBC and even small independents, are now more commonly hiring self employed or freelance Floor Managers, as freelance work is more commonly possible. FM’s usually dress casually, but will need to be smart casual if working on location, as they’re representing their company and need to be professional.
I know I won’t be able to get a job straight away as a floor manager, so I could gain experience being an Assistant Floor Manager ‘Assistant Floor Manager is a junior member of the production team involved with the practicalities of the production. In drama, will collect actors, look after them, prepare props, reset them after takes, wash up etc as necessary. On studio shows will look after contributors and assist the floor manager with similar duties to those above.