What is a Studio Manager?

Studio Managers are able to work in multiple industries and settings such as music, graphic design or television studios. They often have prior experience in fields such as communication, music production, engineering or broadcasting. Due to the varied settings in which a Studio Manager may work, their job duties may vary. However, the general requirements of the job are to be able to supervise a staff and oversee the daily operations of the studio.

No matter in what industry a Studio Manager works, he or she must be prepared to become part of a fast-paced organization that carries a significant amount of stress. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for Studio Managers, which are housed in the broad category of Managers, is expected to grow 6 percent through 2024, amounting to more than 42,000 annual openings, including the creation of new positions and existing positions becoming available through job turnover.

 

Studio Manager Duties and Responsibilities 

To achieve their first priority of managing staff and overseeing the daily tasks of the studio, Studio Managers must be able to manage people and time. We researched several job listings for Studio Managers to come up with these core responsibilities and duties.

General Management

Depending on the size of the organization, the Studio Manager may have only a few or a large team of employees to supervise. Studio Managers are often responsible for hiring, organizing and training employees.

Scheduling

Scheduling is an important part of the Studio Manager’s job. The studio is in business to provide time, space and equipment for client use. So, the Studio Manager must decide on the best use of each day’s time as well as the studio’s space and equipment to maximize the profit and productivity of the studio.

Invoicing and Tracking

When clients utilize the studio’s resources, they are charged for usage. The Studio Manager is responsible for setting up client accounts, invoicing clients for their time and tracking the invoices to make sure they are paid in full.

Technical Tasks

Studio Managers may be called upon to install, operate, maintain or troubleshoot technical equipment. They may also have to schedule repairs of equipment. Therefore, technical experience may be needed.

 

Studio Manager Skills

Successful Studio Managers are well-organized multitaskers who have a habit of accomplishing all of the responsibilities that face them. They are well-spoken, as they often are the first point of contact for visiting clients. In addition to these general skills and personality traits, employers are looking for Studio Managers with the following skills.

Core skills: According to the job listings we looked at, employers desire Studio Managers with these core skills. If you want to have a career as a Studio Manager, consider the following.

  • Team management skills
  • Time management skills
  • Client relations skills
  • Accounting skills
  • Flexibility and adaptability skills

Advanced skills: While most employers we checked out did not specifically require the following skills, some included them as preferred. To open up your career options, consider adding these these to your Studio Manager toolbox.

  • Specialized training related to the industry in which you want to work such as graphic design, recording or television production
  • Experience managing large teams of people can serve you well if you apply with a large organization

Tools of the trade

Studio Mangers use many different tools in their daily work. If you plan on pursuing a career as a Studio Manager, you should be proficient in using the following:

  • Word processing programs, such as Microsoft Word
  • Spreadsheet programs, such as Microsoft Excel
  • Invoicing software
  • Complex production equipment
  • Project and event scheduling applications

 

Studio Manager Q & A

To find out firsthand what it’s like to be a Studio Manager, we talked to Dorrie Jankowski, who is

currently the executive producer at a production/post production company and a former Studio Manager.

What are some of the core duties performed by a Studio Manager?

The Studio Manager is the face of the company. They are the first person anyone sees when they come through the door, and the first person anyone speaks to when they call the office.

Some of the core duties a Studio Manager performs are opening the studio in the morning, being the first person in and setting up the atmosphere/ambience for the day. Also, making sure music and televisions are on (curating playlists, and choosing TV content that is inspiring and appropriate), setting up coffee and snacks, making sure edit rooms are stocked with tissues, pens, scrap pads, etc. Additional duties include answering phones, answering the door, ordering and setting up lunch, clearing trash out of edit suites, putting dishes in the dishwasher and closing up.

What challenges does a Studio Manager face?

The challenges a Studio Manager faces are often of the client services variety. First, there are many places to be at once – the phone could be ringing while you’re setting up a lunch and someone is at the door. Juggling several tasks at once is the biggest challenge. Then there’s dealing with clients who take their frustrations out on you, plus the stigma of being a Studio Manager, often renders you (in the eyes of some clientele) unqualified, noncreative and nonessential to the process.

What skills do Studio Managers use most?

The skills a Studio Manager uses most are people skills.  Communicating with clients, vendors and colleagues is key to the day to day success of a Studio Manager.  

What should someone consider before becoming a Studio Manager?

Before deciding to be a Studio Manager (especially in video/film industry) one must consider where they really see themselves in the next five years and what the Studio Manager position will do for them once they move on to the next stage of their career. If someone wants to be an editor, designer or director, I do not recommend going for a Studio Manager position.  If you are looking to be a producer (of the independent production company variety) or an operations director, this is a good stepping stone. However, it is very easy to get complacent in the position, and if one truly desires to move ahead in their career, one must pay attention, listen to everyone, remain astute, and ask questions beyond the minimum required for the position.  

What type of person is successful in this job?

The type of person who is successful in this job is someone who is typically used to client service related jobs in the first place.  Retail or restaurant experience is a great cornerstone for being successful as a Studio Manager.  Knowing how to keep a smile on your face and let everything else roll off your back is key.

What do you find to be the most rewarding about being a Studio Manager?

What I found most rewarding about being a former Studio Manager was being looked at as the person who made things happen for people.  Although it is a “thankless” job, knowing that I was responsible for making people’s days easier and accomplishing that in even the smallest way – it was very rewarding.  I was also lucky enough to parlay my Studio Manager position at my company into a post-production supervisor and later, executive producer role, so that was also rewarding.

 

Studio Manager Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, people working in the broad employment category of Managers, including Studio Managers, earn a median annual salary of $104,900. Managers in the 10th percentile earn about $53,900 a year while the highest paid make in excess of $169,000. Managers in the District of Columbia, California and Virginia make the highest median salaries in the United States – $128,000, $122,100 and $121,600, respectively.

 

Studio Manager Resources

We checked the Web to locate the best industry links to help you continue learning about a career as a Studio Manager. Find a list of opportunities to connect and engage below.

On the Web 

Free Management Library – A free online library for all of your professional, personal and organization management needs.

Coaching Tips for Leadership – This is a leadership blog authored by John G. Agno, which can keep you on top of your leadership game.

Digital Project Manager – Anyone who wants to learn about digital project management and scheduling tools that can help streamline daily tasks should check out this site.

Industry Groups 

International Association of Administrative Professionals – This group offers anyone who works in an office or administrative position the opportunity to learn how to lead and excel in the field.

Association for Talent Development – Increase your talent in your profession through books, webcasts, events and education offered by ATD.

Studio Manager Books 

15 Secrets People Know about Time Management by Kevin Kruse – Help yourself discover the most important things you need to do and how to get them done in the least amount of time.

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen – This book has everything you need to know to help you improve your personal productivity.

Best-selling Business Etiquette Books – As a Studio Manager, your business etiquette matters. This list of books can help you find a resource to hone your etiquette and impress the studio’s clients.

 

Studio Manager Resume Help

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