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SVP of Physical Production, Topic Studios – First Look Media – New York, NY

Company: First Look Media

Location: New York, NY

  • Full Time

First Look Media

The Position:
The SVP of Physical Production is responsible for overseeing all physical production needs for Topic Studios content across television, film, podcasts, documentary features and premium Nonfiction series. This role will work closely with each of these creative verticals, as well as the Head of Studio, internal departments and external producers to oversee all aspects of production for the Studio. The SVP will lead an intimate department that includes a VP of Production and a Post Production Coordinator, and will assist in the staffing of projects.

The SVP of Production will support the Studio’s creative and financial goals and further build the company’s presence in the Production community. This role will advise on existing systems as we build Topic’s production capability, as well as Union and Guild issues, which will enable us to be the primary studio and/or provide production services on major television series as well as films and other productions across a range of budgets.

The ideal candidate will be a problem solver with a proven track record of running successful television shows, independent films, and high-end nonfiction series; have a book of existing production, finance, legal and vendor relationships; excellent communication skills; and will thrive in a fast-paced, entrepreneurial environment. Comprehensive working knowledge of the independent film space, film and television industry agreements, tax incentive locations, and guild and union regulations (WGA, DGA and SAG-AFTRA) is required. Complete understanding of production and post-production budgets is a must.

The role will report to the EVP, Topic Studios who is located in New York City.


  • Work with Topic Studios executives and producers to develop and/or vet budgets and production plans for fiction and nonfiction tv shows, films, podcasts, and documentary features that are in development, pre-production, and under consideration as potential investments (including schedules, cash flow and overall approach to physical production)
  • For greenlit projects, oversee cost reporting, vendor and crew deal negotiations, tax rebate analysis, setting up production offices and entities, payroll, and any necessary guild, legal and insurance requirements.
  • Communicate daily with external production staff and Topic execs regarding status on projects in production.
  • Ensure that productions are on-schedule and on-budget, and identify potential problem areas as early as possible. Make set visits as needed.
  • Manage Topic Post Production staff to ensure timely delivery to Topic and outside partners according to all delivery specifications.
  • Partner with the EVP to help manage Studio budget tracking, yearly planning, budgets for film festivals, annual review and more
  • Establish a strong roster of vendor and staff/crew relationships for a broad range of productions.
  • Identify production facilities and advantageous shooting locales for projects in development and pre-production.
  • Liaise with Topic Business Affairs regarding the negotiation of BTL union deals. Work with Topic finance and Business Affairs to determine appropriate levels of insurance coverage and ensure that all productions are complying with these requirements.
  • Help develop best practices from pre-production through delivery. Update current production guidelines/handbook.

Background & Qualifications:

  • 10+ years of experience in production executive roles, line producing or production management across various platforms including film, television and digital content.
  • Proven experience of production team management with a major studio, television network or production company.
  • Extensive relationships within the production community and beyond is required.
  • Excellent communication (written and verbal), interpersonal, organizational and computer skills are necessary.
  • Ability to operate with significant autonomy and discretion.
  • Ability to prioritize in complex, fast-paced environment.
  • Experience dealing with film festivals (submissions, film traffic protocols, etc.)
  • Ability to effectively and efficiently create budgets and schedules for feature film, television, podcasts, and documentaries.
  • Ability to manage multiple, complex projects that are global in nature under extremely tight deadlines.
  • Start-up experience strongly preferred
  • Working knowledge of post-production process: hands-on post experience beneficial, but not required.
  • Experience with production management and tracking software tools and databases.
  • Experience in generating production reports and schedules.
  • Strong cost reporting skills and ability to constantly estimate completion costs throughout a project.
  • Strong skills to react to changes in story and production – particularly in our more journalistic and documentary programming.
  • Ability to be hands on as needed, “owner mentality” and accountability a must.

About Topic Studios

Topic is the ambitious new storytelling brand and entertainment studio from First Look Media, dedicated to supporting creators at the forefront of culture. From Academy Award®-winning films (Spotlight) to television, audio and documentaries, we explore a wide range of subject matter, both fiction and nonfiction with an emphasis on stories of consequence that explore the issues of our time. Our approach – challenging, compelling and unconventional – reflects our commitment to discovering and amplifying independent new voices and supporting established ones.

About First Look Media

First Look Media is a new-model media company devoted to supporting independent voices, from fearless investigative journalism and documentary filmmaking to smart, provocative entertainment. Launched in 2013 by eBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar, First Look Media was created with the belief that independent perspectives are vital to both a vibrant culture and a thriving democracy.

First Look Media is currently in the market with its flagship properties, The Intercept, Field of Vision, and the recently launched Topic SVOD service, and plans to continue expanding its mission of supporting independent voices via a variety of new brands, formats and platforms as well as through foundational technology helping creators and audiences develop, distribute, discover and connect with meaningful stories.

We are an Equal Opportunity Employer–people of color, people with disabilities, women, and LGBT candidates are strongly encouraged to apply; we are committed to a diverse workplace, and to supporting our staff with ongoing career development opportunities. Informing a large, diverse audience is a core principle of our work, so we’re committed to building a team that reflects that diversity.

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