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What Does a Floor Manager Do?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 23 August 2014
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A floor manager for a television broadcast acts as the liaison between the director of a production, usually in a control room, and the people and activities on the production set itself. The responsibilities of this position typically include ensuring that all the necessary technical aspects of a production set are functioning properly, such as proper placement of cameras and lighting, props and furniture, organizing performers and audience members during a performance, and dealing with any potential safety issues on a set. The term can also be used in retail, in which it typically describes a manager who is responsible for the operations of a sales floor in a retail environment.

Not to be confused with a stage manager, who generally acts to ensure that performers and stage staff are properly following the script and cues to ensure the director’s vision of a production, a floor manager is usually more concerned with the technical side of a production. This can include seeing to the needs of performers before they are on camera, helping audience members who may need assistance, and ensuring all the physical aspects of a set are working properly. The quality checks on lighting, cameras, and other equipment, handling the logistics of a broadcast, and relaying information between the control room and the floor crew are all aspects of what a floor manager does during a performance.

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A floor manager can also act as the eyes and ears of the director on the set, relaying information from what is happening on the “floor” to the control room. This can involve telling the director about anything happening off camera, such as if a cast member was feeling ill, and keeping things running smoothly on the set. A floor manager can also work at an exterior location during broadcasts of outdoor concerts or sporting events. For this type of broadcast, he or she will usually coordinate actions between the control room and what is happening at the actual location.

In retail, a floor manager is typically someone who works as a manager in a retail business and handles the daily responsibilities of the sales floor. While different businesses may expect different things from a floor manager, generally he or she will deal with issues with other employees, ensure sales people are hitting sales goals, and handle certain customer service issues. Unlike the operations manager who usually handles the logistics of inventory and the operations of the store, a floor manager typically deals with the day-to-day situations that most customers directly interact with.

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pleonasm
Post 3

It can be a really big job when you have control of an entire floor in a department store. It's essentially almost the same job as having an entire, one story store to yourself, except that you've probably got a greater diversity of products and sales people to deal with (one floor might hold the make-up sales people, the furniture sales people and the appliance sales people, for example).

Plus, you won't have the same freedom as a store manager, because a shop floor manager still has onsite bosses to answer to on a daily basis.

Personally, I'd rather be a store manager, but I guess it depends on the company.

clintflint
Post 2

@Fa5t3r - Well, to some extent you're thinking of the director as being the same job in television as it is in films and usually it's not the same. The director is often just brought in for an individual episode, whereas the floor manager might be the same the whole season through. The director is trying to make sure the show looks right, but they don't usually have to worry too much about where people are standing or what they are saying, because the actors know their own characters much better than the director.

So, it's better for the director to stay in the control room (particularly for a live show where split second decisions about camera views need to be made) because they have more control over the technical aspects of the show there. The floor manager handles all the other stuff.

Fa5t3r
Post 1

I'm surprised that the director doesn't just go out there and do all that him or herself. I mean, that's basically the whole point of being the director, to make sure everything looks right and the actors are behaving and acting well in the scene.

Having a TV floor manager there just seems like it adds an unnecessary layer between the director and the production.

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