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.

Should I Become 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. The work hours are long, and stress related to deadlines is common in this profession. Travel may be required.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Film, acting, journalism, communication or other related field
Experience 1-5 years of industry experience is common; internships available
Key Skills Skills in critical thinking, writing, decision-making, time-management, monitoring and active listening
Salary $62,838 per year (2015 median salary for all film and TV producers)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*NET OnLine, (July 2015)

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

A bachelor's degree from a college, university or independent art school is typically necessary for a career as a movie producer. Students may consider programs in film, acting, journalism, communications, business or another related subject. 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 cinematography, film directing, film production and documentary films.

Success Tip:

  • Develop relationships with fellow students. Film programs 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 help to sharpen important communication skills.

Step 2: Obtain an Internship

Internships with movie production companies can provide useful experience and give a insight into the industry. Interns can gain exposure to the inner workings of production, distribution and publicity as well as networking opportunities.

Step 3: Gain Industry Experience

Experience is essential to securing a position as a movie producer, which can include working 1 to 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 in other entry-level roles. Formal apprenticeship programs may be available for aspiring movie producers to work as program assistants.

Success Tip:

  • Develop business skills. Since movie producers need business skills, an aspiring producer might consider taking courses in business administration, finance and marketing. Work experience in a management capacity, such as at a theater or an agent's office can also provide useful experience.

Step 4: Monitor Industry Trends to Prepare for Career Advancement

It's important for movie producers to stay 'in-the-know' of the film industry. This can be done by reading film production publications and attending 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 finding opportunities for advancement as a movie producer.

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