Becoming a Movie Producer: Salary Info & Job Description

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Movie producers earn a median salary of about $69,000. Is this worth the education and training requirements? Learn the truth about the career outlook for this profession and read job postings from real employers to decide if becoming a movie producer is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of Being a Movie Producer

As a movie producer, you get to supervise certain parts of a production or you may run the entire operation. The following is a list of more pros and cons that can help you determine whether or not this occupation is right for you:

Pros of Being a Movie Producer
High consumer demand for more movies*
May work with famous actors and directors*
Opportunity to work on exiting film projects*
Higher than average salary (approximately $69,000 median annual salary)*

Cons of Being a Movie Producer
Work hours are usually long and irregular*
Job usually requires meeting tight deadlines*
Extreme competition for available jobs*
May experience long periods of unemployment*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information

As a movie producer, the extent of your job duties will be dependent on your level of responsibility in producing a feature film. If you are hired as an executive producer, you will be responsible for the entire production process. As an executive producer, you will oversee assistant producers, crew members and directors. If you have the job tile of line producer, you will usually be responsible for the daily operations of a production. In an assistant or associate producer role, you may supervise specific departments such as casting, costuming and makeup.

Working as a movie producer also involves managing all the financial aspects of a movie production, which may include doing fundraising and ensuring that the film is completed within budget. Some other responsibilities you may have in this position include approving scripts, supervising the editing process, selecting locations for filming, soliciting writers to gain screenplay rights and promoting the film in order to increase profits.

Job Outlook and Salary

In the decade of 2012-2022, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) noted that employment was expected to increase by 3% for movie producers and directors. As of May 2014, the BLS also found that producers and directors earned a median salary of about $69,000.

Education and Training Requirements

You do not need to complete formal education or training to become a movie producer. However, most of these professionals choose to complete a bachelor's degree program in disciplines such as acting, communication, journalism or writing. In addition, the BLS found that most producers have several years of related work experience, such working as an actor, assistant to a producer or a film editor.

According to job postings and the BLS, employers require that producers have good managerial, communication and organizational skills to effectively oversee crew members, coordinate production schedules and manage a production budget. You are also required to have creative thinking skills to assists film directors with the overall vision for a production.

Job Postings from Real Employers

Most employers do not require any particular educational experience for movie producers. Employers tend to focus more on skill sets than academic knowledge. Also, job postings did not reflect any minimum number of years of experience required to work in this field. Below are some job postings for movie producers that can help you understand what real employers were looking for during November of 2012.

  • A motion picture company in Los Angeles, CA, wants to hire a producer/executive producer for a feature film. The candidate must have experience in producing films in the horror/thriller genre with a minimum budget of $100K.
  • A Georgia recruiting company in the film production industry is seeking a candidate to work full-time. Job duties include coordinating film shoot schedules, managing editors and researching story ideas. The employer is looking for someone with people management skills who can meet deadlines and increase revenue.
  • A film studio in Wyoming is looking for an executive producer to perform various duties, such as managing studio projects. The employer is looking for someone with experience in film and television production, action sports, studio operations and team leadership.
  • A New York City film studio is seeking a candidate to produce a Web series. The employer requests someone who can work in a fast-paced environment. Job duties include managing production schedules and budgets, hiring crew members and working in front of the camera when needed.

How to Beat the Competition

You can gain a competitive advantage in this field by becoming a member of a professional organization, such as the Producers Guild of America (PGA). To become a PGA member under the motion picture category, you must have experience working as a producer on at least two feature-length films. Your films must also meet certain criteria to be recognized by the PGA. Some of these requirements include having a least one film that has premiered at a major film festival and one film that has been distributed through a major DVD rental company, such as Blockbuster or Netflix. If you've received an Emmy, Oscar or PGA nomination as a producer and submit an application within two years of your nomination, you will receive an automatic membership with the PGA.

Other Careers to Consider

If you prefer a career in front of the camera, you might consider becoming an actor. Although a degree is not required to find work as an actor, the BLS reported that many of these professionals have a baccalaureate degree. Typically, actors complete training at an acting conservatory or university theatre program. Some of your duties in this role will include auditioning for directors and producers, memorizing scripts and researching characters. As of May 2011, the BLS found that actors earned a median wage of about $19 per hour. The BLS also noted that these professionals were expected to have a four percent increase in employment from 2010-2020.

For a career that also involves working behind the scenes on a movie production, consider becoming a film editor. Some of your job duties in this position will include collaborating on filming techniques with directors, editing scenes using digital equipment and selecting the software needed for editing. According to the BLS, you usually need a bachelor's degree in a related discipline, such as film or broadcasting. Typically, you will start out in an assistant editing role in order to gain the experience necessary to become an editor. In the decade of 2010-2020, the BLS found that film editors were expected to have only two percent increase in employment. As of May 2011, these professionals earned a median salary of about $53,000, according to the BLS.

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