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Film Producer: How Do I Start a Career As a Film and Movie Producer

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a film and movie producer. Get an overview of the requirements--such as job duties and degree programs--to find out if this is the right career for you.

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Popular TV programs such as Game of Thrones are not made by magic. It takes the hard work of script writers, set and costume designers, actors, and perhaps most importantly, directors and producers. This article explains how to become a producer, step by step.

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  • Cinematography and Film Production
  • Film and Cinema Studies
  • Photography

Essential Information

Film and movie producers choose scripts to produce, help develop ideas, provide financial backing for movie projects and oversee contract arrangements with actors. Producers are also responsible for ensuring that deadlines are met and that film projects comply with budgetary guidelines. A bachelor's degree in film or media studies can be advantageous to those who seek to produce films. Relevant work experience is essential.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements Work experience in motion picture, television or related industry
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 9% (all producers and directors)
Median Salary (2015)* $68,440 (all producers and directors)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Have a Passion for Filmmaking

There are several ways to become a film and movie producer. Many aspiring producers hone their skills as actors or directors before moving into a producer's role. Others are business savvy individuals who love movies. It is important to have a passion for either a particular film project or the entertainment industry itself in order to become a successful film and movie producer.

Step 2: Obtain an Education

While a particular type of schooling is not required, completing a program in film or media studies can be advantageous to those who seek to produce films. Education programs related to film and moviemaking students understand the role of the film and movie producer. Aspiring producers can pursue associate's degree, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Master of Fine Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in film and media studies, filmmaking and other related fields. Some classes might include:

  • Film and video production
  • Sound and cinema
  • Screenwriting
  • Finance for films
  • Film theory

Step 3: Gain Experience

The business of film and entertainment is complex; obtaining experience in the industry is essential. It is common for new entrants in the industry to obtain entry-level positions or internships for little or no pay. Common job titles for those starting out in the industry include production assistant, grip, mailroom clerk or runner.

Working in a talent agency, on a film crew, or for a film studio department can give aspiring producers access to inside information crucial to understanding the business of filmmaking. These individuals must be flexible and learn to deal with stress and rejection in order to thrive in this competitive career field.

Step 4: Develop Contacts

Developing contacts within the entertainment industry is important to becoming successful as a film and movie producer. Knowing who to call and how to bring a film project together with the right people in place is a great challenge. This includes understanding how to get a movie project financed, made and distributed. Being able to find and hire appropriate talent, including actors, directors, writers and other key crew members, is critical to any film project's success.

Step 5: Work to Improve

Despite a trend towards fewer films being released in theaters, talented film and movie producers will continue to be in high demand, particularly with the growing cable television industry and Internet-accessible films. As a film and movie producer's reputation grows, he or she can expect a rise in earnings.

The median annual salary for film producers and directors was $68,440 in 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The overall field of producers and directors is expected to see faster than average job growth of nine percent between 2014 and 2024, per the BLS.

Television and film entertainment are in high demand, which is good news for those interested in becoming producers. Producers make important financial decisions and ensure that everything is running smoothly behind the scenes so that the best picture can be presented on-screen. In order to do so, a successful producer has passion for, knowledge of, and experience with films, and continues to create the contacts and repertoire to advance their career.

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