How to Become a Producer: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Jul 29, 2018

Learn the steps to becoming a producer. Research the education, various career requirements, and experience required for starting a career as a producer.

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  • 0:03 Should I Become a Producer?
  • 0:48 Career Requirements
  • 1:22 Step 1: Earn a…
  • 2:30 Step 2: Gain Experience
  • 3:17 Step 3: Advancement…

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Should I Become a Producer?

Producers work behind the scenes to create motion pictures, news broadcasts, television shows, or theatrical productions. The duties of a producer will vary widely, depending on the production and job title. Executive producers will hire the director and production crew, in addition to raising the necessary funds for a project. Other types of producers may oversee the day-to-day operations of a production and ensure that cast and crew remain on schedule and budget.

Working under deadlines may cause constant stress, and producers often have to travel. Most work long, irregular hours and must be in constant communication via phone and email with other employees working on the production.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree
Degree Name Film and media production, broadcasting, or business
Experience Producers often have industry experience
Key Skills Strong leadership and business skills, being a clear communicator, and being very persuasive
Salary (2015)* $68,440 (median annual salary for all producers and directors)

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS); (September 2012)

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

While a bachelor's degree isn't always required to be a producer, it is incredibly beneficial for aspiring producers to have extensive insight into the various types of projects they intend to fund and oversee. Most producers begin their careers working in a lower, hands-on position within the film and theater industries, and completion of a relevant degree program can prove beneficial for learning key producing skills. A bachelor's degree in film and media production teaches students how to create a film or theatrical production and offers courses in directing, acting, screenwriting, and script analysis. Those who graduate with a broadcasting major will learn how newscasts are produced by taking courses in journalism, news writing, TV and radio broadcasting, and announcing.

In addition to a degree in a related industry field, an individual may also want to take business courses. Taking business courses or pursuing a dual major in business can provide students with the knowledge required to pursue a career as a producer. This offers students the opportunity to learn about budgeting, fundraising, accounting, and finance.

Step 2: Gain Experience

Experience is paramount for prospective producers in order to gain an insight into how productions are run. Prospective producers can achieve experience through internship or production assistant jobs. Interns may have an opportunity to work in a production office and learn about casting, fundraising, and the creative process. Production assistants have various job duties, typically 'working in the trenches' and learning what it takes to get a production completed.

As one starts focusing on a career as a producer, it can be important to begin networking. Whether students are interning or working as production assistants, it's important to begin networking and developing contacts in the industry. Gaining experience and knowing the right people may help open up doors for potential producer opportunities.

Step 3: Advancement Opportunities

Producers advance by gaining employment with larger productions or stations with bigger markets and budgets. Experience and a solid reputation for having excellent business capabilities and creative talents are the key components to a producer's advancement. While prospective producers can apply for job openings, contacting industry professionals with whom they have developed relationships will also be an avenue for possible advancement.

In addition to a good reputation and strong contacts, aspiring producers should also write. Another way to earn a producer credit is to write original material. Producers in news organizations may need to create segments, while producers working in the film and television industry can write and develop scripts.

So, when considering a career as a producer, remember that a degree in media production or a related field along with relevant experience is important, but almost as important in this field are the professional relationships and networks one develops through work or internships as a reputable producer who is creative and persuasive, knowledgeable with various aspects of production, and has good business sense.

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