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Careers with a Degree in Film: Job Options and Salary Information

Graduates with film degrees are prepared for a variety of jobs in the film industry. Read on to find out about these programs and learn about career options, job growth and salary information for graduates with degrees in film.

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Producers, directors and cinematographers are all professionals who play critical roles in the film industry. A career in the film industry typically requires an associate's or bachelor's degree, or on-the-job training. Directors and producers build their careers on their reputation within the industry, while cinematographers need technical knowledge of how to operate camera equipment.

Essential Information

Film majors study film and media as an art form and communication tool. People with film degrees have the skills to work in many aspects of the filmmaking industry. Education for a film degree covers a range of topics, including film history, writing, and arts management. Professionals in supervisor positions, such as director and producer, usually have bachelor's degrees related to filmmaking or significant experience in their role.

Careers Director Cinematographer Producer
Education Requirements Bachelor's degree or equivalent work experience Associate's degree; On-the-job training Bachelor's degree or equivalent work experience
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 9% (producers and directors) 2% (TV, video and motion picture camera operators) 9% (producers and directors)
Median Salary (2015)* $68,440 (producers and directors) $49,080 (camera operators for television, video, and motion picture) $68,440 (producers and directors)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

Some common career options for film students include directing, producing and cinematography. Work experience in any related positions is also highly favorable. Keep reading for further details to decide which is right for you.

Director

Directors are typically involved with every aspect of a film's production. This can include casting, scripting, music, lighting, blocking and rehearsal. These professionals oversee members of both the cast and crew, and can work alongside assistant directors, who may be responsible for smaller, technical details. Ultimately, the director is a creative professional who is responsible for ensuring that all the moving parts of a film's production culminate in a polished final product.

The salary of a director can vary greatly, affected by variables like work experience and project success. In 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that the median annual salary for all producers and directors was $68,440. The BLS also predicts that job growth for directors and producers would increase by 9% between 2014 and 2024.

Cinematographer

Cinematographers operate cameras while filming movies. This includes manipulating cameras so they can record action from different angles, using various cameras, including portable or immobile and framing. They can also operate mechanical controls to manipulate lighting, depth, clarity and exposure.

Directors typically cue these professionals on when to start and stop filming. Cinematographers work together with other crew members such as lighting and sound technicians and electricians. Cleaning and proper handling of cameras and equipment is typically the cinematographer's responsibility. Before filming begins, cinematographers can check that all equipment is working properly and make repairs as needed.

In May 2015, the BLS reported that camera operators for video, television and motion pictures made an annual median salary of $49,080. Cinematographers can work for film studios or freelance. Additionally, the BLS expected employment opportunities to increase by 2% between 2014 and 2024.

Producer

Producers handle the business matters associated with creating films. They can approve creative and technical decisions, secure funding and choose scripts. Administrative duties, such as script distribution, preparing reports and securing set locations, are some of the producer's responsibilities. Producers oversee post-production processing to ensure the final film product is satisfactory and help publicize the film after it's finished.

Some productions have a team of producers who all have different tasks. The responsibilities for each producer is typically described by the producer's title. For example, a segment producer is responsible for a particular part of a production. The executive producer is the authority figure who supervises the film production staff and delegates responsibilities.

Producers and directors working in the motion picture and video industries made an annual mean salary of $105,550 in May 2015, according to BLS statistics. The BLS also reported that producer jobs are expected to grow 9% during the 2014-2024 decade, which is faster than average. However, competition for these jobs is expected to be fierce.

Producers are responsible for all the business aspects related to making a film, from securing funding to choosing scripts to managing the budget. Directors are responsible for the film production, and camera operators film the scenes that will be used to create the film. These are some career options for those interested in working in the film industry. Directors and producers earned a median salary of $68,440 in 2015, while the median salary for camera operators was just under $50,000.

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