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Film Producer: Education Requirements, Salary and Job Duties

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a film producer. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and salary expectations to find out if this is the career for you.

Film producers are not necessarily required to have postsecondary education, although it's common for them to have a bachelor's degree in theater management, film studies, cinematography, communications or journalism. They may also benefit from training in business.

Essential Information

Film producers are responsible for the behind-the-scenes decisions for movies, such as those regarding film finances, script selection and cast management. Film producers aren't always required to have certain educational credentials. However, bachelor's and master's degree programs that give them a solid knowledge of business practices are helpful, as are programs in filmmaking or broadcast journalism.

Required Education Bachelor's degree is common; joint Master of Business Administration/Master of Fine Arts is useful
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 9% for all producers and directors
Mean Salary (2015)* $105,550 for producers and directors in the motion picture and video industry

Source: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Education Requirements

Successful producers need good business skills and creativity. Although producers may be hired based on their experience and reputation, some employers may prefer candidates with a bachelor's or master's degree. Useful majors for aspiring film producers include theater management, film studies, cinematography, communications or broadcast journalism.

A theater management bachelor's degree program can include classes in acting, directing, script study and staging plays. Additionally, students learn accounting, public relations and management skills. A bachelor's degree program in film studies may focus on the filmmaking process and teaches students how to produce, direct and write. Students also learn film theories, technical skills and film history.

Some schools offer joint graduate degree programs that allow students to combine a Master of Business Administration with a Master of Fine Arts. For creative business professionals like film producers, this is a useful combination. Relevant curriculum could include entertainment business, conventional business knowledge, studying screenplays, script writing, entertainment law and directing.

Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), producers in the motion picture and video industry made an average annual salary of $105,550 as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov). In the same year, directors and producers spanning all applicable fields, including radio, television, theater and advertising, made an average annual income of $89,670.

Job Duties

The business decisions associated with films are managed by producers. They might choose scripts, find funding, hire staff and supervise production crews. Producers may also negotiate salaries and uphold union contracts. Producers are also involved with a film's development and provide approval on creative decisions. Rehearsal times, locations and daily activities are often coordinated by producers.

Additional job duties of a producer may include observing rehearsals, filming and post-production activities to ensure quality. After the film is finished, producers may help execute a marketing plan to help publicize the film. Some producers are self-employed, while others work for film studios. Producers often need writing skills to prepare proposals in hopes of acquiring the rights to a script.

Film producers may be hired based on reputation. They need a combination of business skills and creativity to be effective, and many hold bachelor's or master's degrees in relevant fields, such as theatre management or film studies. Film producers make business decisions, such as finding funding, hiring and supervising staff and production crews, and negotiating contracts.

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