How to Become a Movie Producer: Education and Career Roadmap

Find out how to become a movie producer. Research the education and training requirements and learn about the experience you need to advance your career in movie production.

Do I Want to Be a Movie Producer?

Movie producers hire starring actors and important crew members, secure financing for film projects, select scripts, oversee idea development and choose directors. Prospective movie producers need creativity, drive, a sharp business sense and knowledge of films and the film industry. This job can come with prestige and high pay for a select few, but for most it does not. The work hours are long, and stress related to deadlines is common in this profession. Travel may be required.

Job Requirements

Industry experience and a bachelor's degree in areas such as film, cinema, communication, acting or journalism are common requirements to succeed in this field. The following table summarizes the main requirements for movie producers:

Common Requirements
Degree Level Bachelor's degree common*
Degree Field Writing, acting, journalism, communication, business, arts management or another related field*
Experience 1-5 years of experience is common*
Key Skills Skills in critical thinking, writing, decision making, time management, monitoring and active listening**
Additional Requirements Long and irregular work hours are often necessary for movie producers; stress in this profession may be very high since producer work under a great deal of pressure*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **O*Net OnLine

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

A bachelor's degree from a college, university or independent art school is typically necessary to begin a career as a movie producer. Students may consider programs in acting, journalism, communications, business or another related subject. Some schools offer degree programs in film; students may find courses specific to production within these programs. Aspiring producers need to know how to put a movie together from start to finish, and these programs may help develop the necessary skills. Common coursework includes cinematology, film directing, film production, documentary film and the history of the film industry.

Success Tips:

  • Develop business skills. Since movie producers need business skills, an aspiring producer might consider taking courses in business administration, finance and marketing while earning a degree. Work experience in a management capacity, such as at a theater or an agent's office, can also provide useful experience.
  • Obtain an internship. Interning while in school can be crucial for students not yet involved in the industry. Internships with movie production companies can provide useful experience and give a unique perspective on the industry. Interns can gain exposure to the inner workings of production, distribution and publicity as well as networking opportunities.
  • Develop relationships with fellow students. Film programs at colleges and universities may offer ways for students to participate and interact with each other outside of the classroom, such as in group projects or at film screenings. Working alongside other individuals interested in the film industry may also help to sharpen important communication skills.

Step 2: Gain Industry Experience

Experience is essential to secure a position as a movie producer, which can include working 1-5 years in the industry. Producers may come from many backgrounds, such as acting or behind the scenes in publicity, screenwriting or casting. Many producers build the necessary experience by starting in the industry as production assistants or other entry-level jobs. Formal apprenticeship programs may be available for aspiring movie producers to work as program assistants.

Success Tip:

  • Develop an industry network. Movie production is about knowing how to put together a film project. It's also important for aspiring movie producers to read film production publications and attend events, such as seminars and film festivals. The industry is constantly changing, with new talent, emerging technology and new ways to distribute films. Staying abreast of the latest industry players, news and information is important to creating a successful career as a movie producer.

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