The Television Floor Manager
The television floor manager is the person in charge of the production "floor". In studio settings the floor is the main production area where all the action takes place, often on a stage. In outside broadcast settings, the floor is a temporary area where presenters and other talent are located.
The floor manager is the link between the director and people on the floor, i.e. presenters, talent, other staff and the audience. The floor manager normally wears an earpiece and microphone to stay in constant contact with the control room. S/he passes information and cues to the talent and relays information back to the director.
The floor manager's duties can include...
Before the show:
- Assisting with production planning and consulting on logistics.
- Ensuring all staging, furniture and props are ready before the show starts.
- Ensuring all equipment is in place and technical checks have been done.
- Briefing presenters and talent.
- Preparing the audience.
- Coordinating rehearsals.
During the show:
- Relaying information between the control room, floor staff and talent.
- Providing cues, timing and other information to presenters and talent.
- Informing the director of any relevant off-camera action.
- Preparing for upcoming parts of the show.
- Maintaining control of the audience and ensuring they are looked after.
- Overseeing safety issues on the floor.
- In outside broadcasts; liasing with venue staff, organizing talent, etc.
The floor manager is a senior position. As such it requires a high level of maturity, confidence and competence. A good floor manager will have a broad understanding of television requirements and know all the floor staff positions well (camera, sound, lighting, etc).
The floor manager must be able to work well under stress and be able to deal with difficult situations calmly. S/he must have excellent interpersonal skills and be unflinchingly diplomatic.
A sense of timing and continuity is critical. A good sense of space is also helpful when referring to floor plans and making set changes flow well.
Most floor managers work their way up to this position from having worked in other television roles. Formal qualifications are helpful but practical experience is what really matters.