MTV production manager Marko Domazet: “Don’t be afraid to ask for help; you’re not meant to know it all”
Having mastered his ability to create back-up plans for all eventualities while spinning plates on current projects, Marko Domazet is the method behind some of MTV’s madness. As a production manager for the company’s UK-based creative department, his role demands tight attention to detail, meticulous organisation skills and constant collaboration. Whether he’s on location to shoot a promo, budgeting or managing a post-production process, he’ll be involved right from the beginning to the very end of a project. Previously working at BBC Worldwide and Red Bee Media, he’s been able to apply his film and television training while becoming an expert in multitasking and planning.
Production Manager, MTV (2015–present)
Production Manager, BBC Worldwide (2010–2015)
Production Coordinator, Red Bee Media (2006–2010)
BA Film and Television Production, University of Westminster (2002–2005)
How would you describe your job?
I manage productions of all projects created by the MTV UK creative team, which vary in size and complexity. As a production manager you will manage anything from budgets to timelines and teams. Each project is different and has its own challenges; the production manager’s job is to stay on top of everything and ensure the project is going in the right direction (and that you have a back-up plan if anything changes).
In addition to managing projects in production, you are also constantly planning ahead and making sure you have the resources to produce what is required. It’s a great job for anyone who’s great at multitasking, good attention to detail, an understanding of how things are made, and is happy with being central point of contact for the team.
What does a typical working day look like?
There isn’t a typical workday – it all depends on the project. I’ll go between office work, meetings and filming, and most of the day I’ll be using some sort of screen, whether it’s a computer, laptop or phone.
“Regardless of what job you do, you should learn to work with everyone. You’ll never get anything done without knowing how to collaborate with others.”
What do you like about working in London?
London has access to some of the best crews, equipment and talent in the world. Of course, you also have to deal with drawbacks that come with living in a big city, but I’m sure everyone has their own complaints!
How did you land your current job?
I was approached by a recruiter. We met so I could get more information, then I went in to interview with the team at MTV and eventually was lucky enough to get the job.
How collaborative is your role?
Super-collaborative – I work with everyone! I think, regardless of what job you do, you should learn to work with everyone. You’ll never get anything done without knowing how to collaborate with others.
What are the most and least enjoyable aspects of your job?
The most enjoyable parts are the projects themselves and seeing them through from start to finish. Least enjoyable is some of the paperwork that goes with production.
What has been the most exciting project of the last twelve months?
Each project has its own element of excitement. Sometimes it’s about the people you work with, sometimes it’s about a particular aspect. This could be nailing an especially tricky post-production process, or just that something great happened during a project. Choosing one is very difficult!
What skills are essential to your job?
Attention to detail, understanding what different people do, and how to get the best out of them. Being able to think ahead and foresee problems before they happen is useful too.
Do you run any side projects alongside your job?
Yes, I think it’s important to do side projects alongside your work, as long as they don’t interfere with your job. In my case, I do a bit of writing.
What tools do you use most for your work?
Standard office package, SAP (it’s the finance software we use here) and Keynote. But truth be told, I love my old-fashioned note pad the most.
How I Got Here
What did you want to be growing up?
I wanted to work in a creative environment, but didn’t know what exactly. It took a while of trying out different jobs in the creative industry before I realised that production was the thing I enjoyed the most.
How (if at all) is the subject you studied useful to your current role?
Studying was a great way to learn the basics and experiment, but alongside my studies I made sure to get lots of work experience, which is where I really learnt how things work on a professional level.
What were your first jobs?
My very first job, in terms of professional experience, was assisting a photographer on fashion shoots.
What in particular helped you the most at the start of your career?
When I was starting out, I contacted lots of people whose work I admired. By doing that I ended up meeting with a lovely producer who reviewed my showreel, gave me a few pointers on how to break into the industry and introduced me to other people, which in turn led to more experience and connections.
“It took a while of trying out different jobs before I realised that production was the thing I enjoyed the most.”
Was there a particular project you worked on that helped your development?
Every project is an opportunity to learn something new. This sounds like a cliché, but it’s true.
What skills have you learnt along the way?
You learn a whole range of skills – from actual hands-on skills you need to perform your job, through to managerial and people skills.
What’s been your biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge is to constantly push yourself to develop further and not get stuck in same ways of working or thinking.
What would you like to do next?
I want to stay in production and am open to exploring other routes of creative production if the right project came along.
Could you do this job forever?
That’s a big question. It depends – not just on what happens career-wise, but also what happens in other areas of my life. At the moment, I’m super-happy doing what I do, but things could change further down the line.
What do you feel is the natural career progression for someone in your current position?
From my role, you would probably aim to move on to a head of production role.
“There’s something to learn from each project and place you work – often, you learn more working on projects that challenge you the most.”
Words of Wisdom
What advice would you give to a young creative wanting to do the same kind of work?
Get lots of work experience. Be proactive, network, get to know people. There’s something to learn from each project and place you work – often, you learn more working on projects that challenge you the most. Don’t shy away from a challenge. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – you’re not meant to know it all.
Interview by Marianne Hanoun
Photography by Andy Donohoe
Mention Marko Domazet