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How to hire a great studio manager – 5 top tips

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Studios are busy and often chaotic environments that need to be run like the tightest of ships if they want to achieve their goals and produce quality work at scale and at speed. That’s why studio managers play such an integral role.

According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, demand for Studio 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. So, it’s certainly a role with a solid future.

But what should you be looking for when hiring one for your own agency? Let’s start with the basics.

Who or what is a studio manager?

Studio Managers can 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 and broadcasting.

Due to the varied settings in which they may work, studio manager jobs may vary as far as specific duties and expectations are concerned. 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 sector a Studio Manager works, however, he or she must be prepared to become part of a fast-paced organization that carries a significant amount of stress.

How to find and hire the right studio manager

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To be able to manage staff and oversee the daily tasks of the studio, the top Studio Managers must be able to manage people and time. That much is a given, but there are other qualities you should be looking out for too.

1. Always look for a born multi-tasker

The best studio managers are natural and organised multi-taskers that have a habit of accomplishing a multitude of tasks all while wearing a thousand hats at once. Ok, that might be a bit of an overstatement but, studio managers, as with creative directors, are the kind of individuals that are expected to be masters of all trades. So, you don’t want to be looking for somebody that declares themselves a specialist in one field.

2. Look beyond the obvious

Not all studio mangers know they’re studio managers yet. Indeed, most studio managers might have worked in graphic design, photography, as a visualiser or any number of other roles. Explore your options and if you think somebody has great entrepreneurial skills and the ability to plan and organise while maintaining a creative spark, they could be right for the role. And if they haven’t worked as a studio manager before you might be able to get them for a steal too!

3. Make sure they are tech savvy

A studio manager doesn’t need to have a formal engineering qualification, but the more they understand the technology in the studio, the better they will be able to advise clients. This is particularly important as new technology becomes available as it’s always important to stay ahead of the competition. At the very least they should be skilled with Adobe applications including inDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, Acrobat and Microsoft Office applications. They should also be skilled in general art working, press preparation and possibly website content updates using CMS programmes such as Wordpress.

4. Know what you’re looking for

The role will vary greatly depending on the size of the facility. If it’s a small independent operation with one or two small studios, the manager may do a whole range of tasks – set the rate card (the daily or hourly cost to hire the studio), secure new clients, ensure each production runs smoothly, recruit staff and oversee health and safety. However, studios are often part of a larger group of companies, in which case the marketing, sales and HR roles may be shared with other people. Know what kind of studio you are and what kind of manager you require before even considering dipping your toes in the pool.

5. Are they likeable?

This is a very risky question to ask as what makes a person inherently likeable to one company might make them inherently unlikeable to another. A studio manager, ultimately, must manage. As well as understanding all elements of the design process from end-to-end they must also act as relationship managers between the creative and account teams. And to do that properly, it needs to be somebody that is liked by both sides.

 If you are in the market for a studio manager, there are hundreds of top studio managers on Creativepool ready and waiting to receive your messages and help you complete your ideal creative team. 

Header image by top Creativepool studio manager Tom Sharp

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