We’ve covered technical positions previously in the Day in the Life series, but let’s talk about one of the most important roles for any video production team: the Project Manager. From keeping a project on track, to liaising between team members and the client, the Project Manager is the glue that holds everything together. And that glue is key in delivering the quality found in our Video Ad service offerings.
We spoke with Magic Media and Igloo Creative House’s Senior Project Manager, Dana Dagan, to find out more. After serving as a photographer in the military, Dana studied content writing and worked on film sets, in the process having learned how to work with a global set of clients and suppliers. She has been with Igloo for 3 years, using her combined skills and experience to oversee multiple projects at any given time.
If a Project Manager was to be defined in three simple terms, Dana says, it would be: calculation, authority, and sensitivity.
And in her own words, the Project Manager is ‘the person with the bigger picture.’ They always have the client’s directive in mind, with a promise to take care of their product, and to get the best value for their money.
On the other hand, a Project Manager is on the front line to all employees. They ensure the team is receiving the support it needs, while prioritizing the pipeline schedule. More than anything, problem-solving is the main facet of the job. The job revolves around ‘people and situations,’ and possessing the ability to find solutions on the spot.
In the morning, Dana starts by reading the studio’s schedule for the day. Although a project manager needs to consider every aspect of a single project, another key element to their role is multitasking. For Dana, it’s much better to know about every project in the studio, instead of just hers. This way, she can support the other project managers if required, while also considering the workload of the team as a whole.
On the way to the studio, she reads and responds to emails, making sure if there’s important information, or changes, to the morning’s tasks. Throughout the day, the Project Manager has meet-ups with each team about new tasks, as well as video-calls with clients either requesting progress updates, or kick-starting a new project.
For the majority of the day, Dana is the person in the middle: with the client’s feedback on one hand, and the team’s perspective on the other. In between, she makes the schedules and deliverables to the clients, making sure every day that her assigned projects are on the safe side with their time and budgets.
For a Project Manager, the greatest obstacle in the way of a project’s quality is miscommunication with the client, including setting clear expectations of each other. As Dana explains, they are constantly seeking to prevent disappointment by establishing, in advance, what can be realistically achieved within the budget and time-frame.
This dynamic is sometimes similar in working with the creative teams as well. Trust plays a major part, as the Project Manager is the main point of contact throughout the project. Your creative teams rightly keep high expectations of you when it comes to backing them up at every stage of the production pipeline.
But Dana stresses that the whole situation isn’t life and death! Project managers can easily take things to heart because of the care needed for every project. In order to keep things balanced, she recommends holding regular meetings with your team to clarify and adapt your work-flow strategy, with a mind to delivering the best possible product for your client.
Each project varies in its scope and scale, and so the production process can alternate. Igloo has its separate Creative House and Gaming domains; each studio is very different from the other. In the Gaming studio, they deal with leading international clients, creating slick designs for slot and poker ads, which includes a lot of 3D work. Meanwhile, the Creative House team is smaller, crafting promotional videos for high-tech clients.
The Project Manager is involved from the get-go in every project. Dana starts with getting to know the client in a meet-up: ascertaining the project’s needs, providing a quote, setting a schedule. All of this information is then collated into Igloo’s task management software.
Once pre-production has begun, the client reviews almost every stage of the process. This entails that the Project Manager oversee deliveries and review calls, alongside notifying the team of any changes in the pipeline.
At each step, they update the project status to their own managers, raising key questions about the team’s progress and if we are correctly bringing the client’s vision to life. And even though every project has its own Art Director, Project Managers have the final word on whether a project makes sense as a whole.
According to Dana, projects are very dynamic, especially in the video domain. Therefore, they require a manager that is in touch with all bases at once, and most importantly with the client. That relationship is a part of what keeps the client coming back and makes the hard work worthwhile.
Thank you for checking out this day-in-the-life of a Project Manager, undeniably one of the most important roles for any production. Seeking a career in games, entertainment, VFX, or cybersecurity? Check out our careers page for more information. Or, if you’re interested in collaborating with us on a project, or using our services, talk to us today.