A Very Particular Set of Skills

Gemma Nicholson, post supervisor and founder of Post Super, talks to Behind the Glass about how she got started in the industry and why she started the worldwide platform for film and TV post production managers.


Nicholson has worked in post production her entire career and even has multiple MPSE certificates to her name. Her first job was for Shepperton Studios as a Sound Dept runner & backroom assistant for Ray Merrin, Graham & Adam Hartstone.  “They were THE Re-Recording Mixers at Shepperton Studios at the time and they mixed all the biggest films. I guess it helped me get to where I am today because it introduced me a raft of influential people and genuinely showed me what was possible at the highest levels of our industry… I remember tiptoeing across the Mix Theatre while they were mixing Harry Potter 2 (one of the biggest films in the world at that time), hearing the John Williams music swell at full volume and almost crying with pride!”


Nicholson went on to work in post production sound editorial teams and working on multiple Harry Potters, Batman and as many major budget films as she could squeeze into 8 years! “I was very lucky and got to work with lots of Oscar & Bafta winning sound designers & crews.  I got into coordinating & supervising 12 years ago, working for Katie Reynolds on Harry Potter 7 Pt2.  I then worked on successive other large budget films for her including Cinderella & Tim Burton’s Miss Peregrines’ Home for Peculiar Children. I have now Post Supervised at all levels of Film & TV and I have a broad understanding of what is needed.”


Post Production Producers & Supervisors are now the line producers in post production and have a huge spending power because they control the post production budget, schedule and where the work gets done for all the content that gets made. Post supervising is such an interesting job but was so much harder than it needed to be because there was nowhere to learn about it. So, in 2020 Nicholson started Post Super. “I just felt that if we were to be supported with proper information, training and tools we could really make the role much easier and more pleasurable to do instead of this constant panic that we were somehow getting it wrong.”


Post Super is a platform which provides its members with four separate elements, Community, Information, Training & Tools. “Community, because we work on behalf of the post management community, doing outreach, raising the profile of the important work they do and providing places where they can congregate together to share best practice. Information - this is a large knowledge base on our website with lots of articles about post management from lots of different points of view, we are intending to expand on this in the coming months. Training - we have our own online courses for Post Supervisors, Coordinators and Production Managers but I also run lots of post production management training programmes for different organisations; NFTS, Screenskills in the UK, Cinvestre in India and we run a fabulous weekly webinar programme for our members, educating on lots of different aspects of post production. Lots going on! Finally we have Tools - we have an excellent post production directory, mapping the world for post production facilities! And we are totally smashing it, have over 200 facilities already on there and another 50 queuing up to go on! We are constantly expanding and it is such a resource for the Post Supervision community, they have really embraced it!”


“We have done a series of round table events getting different Post Production departments together with post supervisors/managers, most recently we did one which was with the British Film Editors (BFE) and we are hoping to do the same this autumn with Sound and VFX… I think it is really important because it supports the fostering of good relationships. I used to work in sound, I know that in the past, the Post Supervisor was often regarded very poorly & I don’t think it is helpful as we are all on the same team. We are all there to get the job done and have the most fun possible doing it. The HETV & Film Industry is a brilliant place to work and if we can all learn a little more about each other’s priorities/needs then we can make it more so!”


Post Super currently runs 2 courses, Sound & Picture Workflow for Post Managers & Sound & Picture Deliverables for Post Managers. Both courses give an overview for anyone who works in Film & HETV and needs to know how everything fits together from a high level view.


With Post Super growing exponentially from just 100 members when it launched to over 1500 members in just 12 months, what plans does Nicholson have going forward?  “We are off the charts! We started with a dream to make Post Production Managers lives easier, faster, quicker, less stressful and just all around better… and that’s what we want to keep doing… expanding the Post Production Directory across the USA and the rest of the world is a priority I think, but more training, more information, more community. I am so excited about what the future holds!”


Other Interviews