Jobs in Film Development: Options and Requirements

May 20, 2021

As one of the more competitive fields to work in, individuals should expect to have a bachelor's degree and years of experience in order to be considered for a position in film development. Each position comes with a very particular skills set, so screenwriters should obtain a degree in a writing field, directors should focus on film production and cinematographers should earn a degree in their field of interest.

Essential Information

Film development involves several phases, from preproduction steps like writing a script and securing financing, to production tasks including selecting camera angles and recording video. Jobs in this field can be hard to come by, and they typically require a bachelor's degree and several years of related experience.

Career Titles Screenwriter Producer or Director Cinematographer
Education Requirements Bachelor's degree in English, screenwriting or a related field Bachelor's degree in film production or a related field Bachelor's degree in cinematography, videography or a related field
Other Requirements Previous writing experience Several years of related work experience None
Projected Job Growth (2019-2029)* -2% (for all writers and authors) 10% (for all producers and directors) 14% (for camera operators, television, video and motion picture)
Average Annual Salary (May 2020) $77,166** (2021) $113,860* (for producers and directors in the motion picture and video industries) $67,590* (for camera operators in the motion picture and video industries)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **PayScale

Career Options

There are numerous career options for those interested in film development, including screenwriter, producer or director, and cinematographer. Keep reading for brief overviews of each of these film development jobs.


Screenwriters create original stories for movies and television shows or turn existing written works, including novels, plays, and nonfiction books, into movie or TV scripts. This involves developing characters and penning dialogue. Once a script is finished, the screenwriter must find a producer willing to take on the project.

Producer or Director

Producers work on the business and financial end of film development. Job duties can include securing funding for a project, setting a budget, and hiring crew and (sometimes) cast. Producers also ensure that film production remains on schedule.

Directors, on the other hand, make creative decisions related to film production. They're heavily invested in the selection of cast members, and they work closely with other crew, including set designers, cinematographers, and art directors, to make sure a film is true to the script. Directors also are involved in post-production, collaborating with film editors, sound editors, and others.


Cinematographers are responsible for all aspects of filming a movie, from choosing equipment and determining angles to adjusting lighting and actually operating cameras. They often direct a team of camera operators and their assistants.

Individuals who are interested in a film development career have several options. Salaries and job growth projections vary, depending on the occupation. Most positions require a bachelor's degree in a relevant field.

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