Cinema Production: Job Description & Career Requirements

Mar 01, 2019

Career Definition for a Cinema Producer

People who work in cinema production perform supporting roles in the collaborative work of making movies, television shows, and sometimes commercials. Their typical duties, depending on skills and abilities, may include camera work, lighting, editing, sound design, and set design. Cinema production careers can be found in both commercial and non-commercial settings. Most positions are located where the film industry is concentrated, in New York and Los Angeles; however, there may be opportunities outside these areas.

Education Options include an associate's degree, bachelor's degree, certificate and on-set training
Job Skills Organization, software editing, knowledge of safety procedures
Median Salary (2017)* $71,620 (producers and directors)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* 12% (producers and directors)

Source: *The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Required

Associate's and bachelor's degrees in cinema production are common; however, they are not required for entry into the field. Some cinema production jobs can be had with completion of non-degree certificate programs and on-set training. Hands-on experience is very valuable. Students of cinema production may study film history and theory. They may also study technical aspects of filmmaking like sound and video editing, and directing.

Skills Required

Practical and creative skills are essential for cinema production careers. Cinema production staff usually take coursework in film history and theory as a supplement to their technical education. Required skills include organization, software editing, familiarity with cameras and lenses, lighting, single and multi-camera operation, and knowledge of safety procedures.

Economic Outlook

Pay varies with skills and abilities, geography, and the type of job. For example, independent versus big studio productions may offer higher and lower pay, respectively. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that producers and directors earned a median annual wage of $71,620 in May 2017. The BLS also stated that job opportunities was due to rise by 12% between 2016-2026. While some of the most desirable cinema production jobs are located in New York and California, lower-paying and less prestigious jobs may be found in other markets across the country.

Alternate Career Options

There are plenty of career options in this industry. Here are some examples:

Multimedia Artist and Animator

An average job growth of 8% was expected by the BLS during the 2016-2026 decade for these professionals who create visual effects and animation for games, television, movies and other media formats. They usually need a 4-year degree in computer graphic art, in addition to an impressive portfolio of their best works, to secure employment. In 2017, the BLS reported an annual median salary of $70,530 for multimedia artists and animators.


Many actors have formal training, although training experienced while working also accentuates their income. Actors interpret writers' scripts and play various characters in movies, television and the theater. Many of these professionals have formal training, either private classes or postsecondary education. From 2016-2026, a faster than average employment growth of 12% was projected by the BLS for actors, and the median hourly wage was $17.49 in 2017.

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