Becoming a TV Producer: Job Description & Salary Info

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Are you considering a career as a TV producer? Read real job listings, job growth statistics and education information for this creative career. Find out if TV producing is the right path for you.
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Pros and Cons of a TV Producer Career

A career as a TV producer will give you the chance to work with actors, writers, directors and studio heads to develop television shows to entertain and inform the nation. Read on for pros and cons of a TV producer career.

Pros of Becoming a TV Producer
Chance to work with creative people*
Higher than average pay (average of $90,300 for producers and directors in 2014)*
Opportunity to develop new projects regularly**
Most producer jobs don't require graduate education**
Prestigious role with leadership opportunities**

Cons of Becoming a TV Producer
Financial instability, having to look for work each year*
Stressful scheduling, conflicts and deadline-driven atmosphere**
Long hours and erratic work schedule, often including nights**
Field can be hard to break into, often requiring years of working as an assistant**
Possible limited options for where to live (the industry is centered in California)***

Sources: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **O*NET Online, ***UCLA School of Theater, Film & Television

Career Information

Job Description

TV producers serve as liaisons between the people responsible for creating shows and putting them on air. One of their key duties is securing the needed finances by building and maintaining relationships with advertisers and studio executives. Producers must work with the artists involved in writing scripts, building sets, designing costumes, acting and directing to make sure everything goes according to an agreed-upon schedule and financial plan. When a change is needed, the producers must get involved and help the parties involved reach an amicable resolution.

In order to successfully operate as a TV producer, you need to understand all the elements involved in creating a TV show, such as technical production details, market research and competing shows on other networks. You can gain this knowledge through work experience and studying the different aspects of television production.

Salary Information and Career Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average income for TV producers in 2014 was $90,300. However, many people are unable to find enough steady production work and take second jobs to pay the bills. A small number of exceptionally successful producers earn more than $150,000. These individuals generally earn a percentage of the television show's gross income. The BLS indicates that job opportunities for producers and directors are expected to increase at a rate of 3% from 2012-2022.

Requirements

Most people working as TV producers have a bachelor's degree, although there are no specific training requirements. You may want to major in communications, film and television, journalism, or marketing to learn about certain facets of producing jobs.

This career depends on networking, connections and industry know-how. During and after college, many people look for jobs as assistants to directors or producers as entry into a producing career. You may want to choose a university close to New York City or Los Angeles, where the majority of the entertainment industry is based. If you want to work in smaller or more specialized television markets, you may be able to find work in several other U.S. cities. This type of work may include programs like local news broadcasts or educational programs for bi-lingual children.

Necessary Skills

Producers need strong management and communication skills. They need to be able to communicate with a wide variety of people, from artists to businessmen. One of the most useful skills for a career in TV producing is the ability to stay organized, even when dealing with constant changes and juggling numerous projects simultaneously. While many people involved in creating a show have one specific job, producers do many different things.

What Employers Look For

Job listings for TV producers tend to ask for experience, the ability to remain calm under pressure, strong organizational skills, and a creative perspective. Below are some real job listings from April, 2012.

  • A production company in New York City is looking for an experienced associate producer to work on children's video content. Candidates must have experience with digital media and video production. Responsibilities include managing funds, coordinating media library and organizing video content.
  • A Michigan-based company is seeking an experienced executive producer to work with directors, writers and voice talent to create video content. Successful candidates need to be highly creative and organized.
  • A Latin American news company seeks a producer to develop television shows. You must have experience with booking interviews, editing scripts, all aspects of television production and knowledge of Latin American news.

How to Gain an Edge in the Field

Because TV producers work in so many facets of the entertainment business, a strong knowledge of the history and context of television production can give you a competitive edge. This may include doing research about the successful broadcasts of the past and how the medium developed based on changes in technology and culture. Additionally, a working knowledge of computers and hand-held devices may you an advantage.

Other Fields to Consider

Director

If you enjoy working in the television or film-making arenas but are looking for a more creative job, you may consider becoming a director. Directors earn about the same median income as producers, and often work with many of the same people, but their primary role is translating a script into a physical performance. This role is vast and can include deciding how actors deliver their lines, what kind of lighting should be used, what kind of camera angles fit best and how the set should look. Many TV directors start out in theater, earning a B.A. or BFA in theater, while some go on to earn an MFA in directing.

Art Director

Art direction is related to producing, but more focused on visual design. Work occurs in a variety of settings, including advertising agencies, magazines and movie or television sets. Those who work in TV or film are in charge of designing sets and other visual elements of the production, and working with directors to create the look of the show or movie. Art directors also manage the budget related to the creation of sets. According to the BLS, art directors earned more than $96,000 in 2011. Most art directors have a BA or BFA degree and several years of work experience in a related job.

Popular Schools

  • Campus and Online Programs
    1. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science - Film Production
      • M.S. - Entertainment Business
      • Master of Fine Arts - Media Design
      • M.S. - New Media Journalism
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Film (Campus)
      • BS - Media Communications (Campus)
      • BS - Audio Production
      • B.S. - Media Communications
  • Online Programs Available
    2. American University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Strategic Communication
      • Master of Arts in Strategic Communication - Advocacy and Social Impact Concentration
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Indiana Wesleyan University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS Human Communications
      • B.S. General Studies - Communication
      • B.S. Communications
    Associate's
      • A.S. General Studies - Communications
    Certificate
      • Undergraduate Certificate - Communications
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Penn Foster High School

    Program Options

    High School Diploma
      • Penn Foster High School with Early College Courses
      • HS Diploma
  • Towson, MD

    Towson University

  • Athens, GA

    University of Georgia

  • Online Programs Available
    7. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • M.A. in Communication with an Emphasis in Education
  • Syracuse, NY

    Syracuse University

Featured Schools

Full Sail University

  • Master of Science - Film Production
  • M.S. - Entertainment Business
  • BS - Film (Campus)
  • BS - Media Communications (Campus)

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American University

  • Master of Arts in Strategic Communication
  • Master of Arts in Strategic Communication - Advocacy and Social Impact Concentration

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Indiana Wesleyan University

  • BS Human Communications
  • A.S. General Studies - Communications
  • Undergraduate Certificate - Communications

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Penn Foster High School

  • Penn Foster High School with Early College Courses
  • HS Diploma

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Grand Canyon University

  • M.A. in Communication with an Emphasis in Education

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