Art Careers in the Film Industry

Jan 19, 2020

Art Career Options in the Film Industry

The film industry is a very creative industry that offers a variety of art-related careers to those with artistic abilities. These careers range from the performing arts to design and require a lot of talent and creativity. Learn about a handful of the available art careers in the film industry here.

Job Title Median Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Art Directors $92,780 1%
Actors $17.54 (median hourly wage) 1%
Fashion Designers $72,720 1%
Multimedia Artists and Animators $72,520 4%
Theatrical and Performance Makeup Artists $64,250 7%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for Art Careers in the Film Industry

Art Directors

Some art directors work on movie productions to create a specific visual style that helps tell the movie's story. They usually work with directors to discuss and understand the vision of the movie and then help design sets, props and other visual aids used in the movie that match this vision. Art directors must carefully monitor their budget and ensure that projects are finished in a timely manner as they oversee teams of designers and other creative departments. Art directors typically have previous work experience in an artistic field, like graphic design or photography, and hold at least a bachelor's degree.


Actors use the performing arts to bring a film's story to life. Not all films contain actors, but those that do use actors to act out scenes, convey emotion and tell the story, which requires actors to conduct background research and develop their character. Actors typically have to audition for parts; once they earn a role, they memorize lines and participate in rehearsals to prepare for filming. A degree is not required to be an actor, but most actors undergo long-term training and/or pursue a formal education.

Fashion Designers

Fashion designers who work on movies are typically called costume designers, and they use their artistic abilities to design and create costumes for the actors in a movie. They likely collaborate with the director and/or art director to establish the visual concepts for the costumes, and then they may oversee teams of designers to make costumes by hand. This requires them to choose the fabrics, embellishments and accessories for each character. Fashion designers must be creative and usually have a bachelor's degree in the field.

Multimedia Artists and Animators

Some films are animated or incorporate elements of animation, and these require the talents of multimedia artists and animators. These professionals use computers and illustrations to create 2- and 3-D models, visual effects and animations for the movie. They usually start the process by developing storyboards for the movies and then create their animations, which may be edited later based on feedback from the director. Multimedia artists and animators must maintain a professional portfolio and have at least a bachelor's degree.

Theatrical and Performance Makeup Artists

Makeup artists on movie sets use cosmetics and creativity to make each actor look like his or her particular character. Sometimes this requires the makeup artist to use extensive makeup and prosthetics to create special effects for characters while staying within a strict budget. These artists must be able to replicate the exact look each day of filming and may need to adjust certain looks according to light changes or other factors. They usually hold a postsecondary certificate or diploma in the field.

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