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Jobs in the Film Industry That Pay Well

There are a number of diverse career choices within the film industry, a number of which come with high salaries especially for those who are able to climb to the top of their field. Find out more about the education requirements and duties for some of these jobs, as well as their median salary.

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Career Options in the Film Industry That Pay Well

Pursuing a career in the film industry may be a dream for many individuals. The film industry is quite diverse, with a number of different job opportunities that require different skills and training. Some of these jobs could also potentially come with salaries much higher than the national median salary in 2016 of $37,040, especially for individuals who rise to the top of their fields. Below, we discuss six different high-paying career possibilities in the film industry.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Producer/Director $70,950 12%
Art Director $112,140 (art directors in motion picture and video industries) 7% (all art directors)
Multimedia Artist/Animator $65,300 10%
Actor $18.70 per hour 12%
Film and Video Editor $62,760 16%
Composer $50,110 (for all music directors and composers) 6% (for all music directors and composers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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  • Cinematography and Film Production
  • Film and Cinema Studies
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Information About Careers in the Film Industry That Pay Well

Producer/Director

Producers and directors both play key roles within the film industry. Producers are responsible for making sure all the finances are secured to create the film and hire the cast and crew, while directors are in charge of making the creative decisions while filming and providing direction to actors. In 2016, the median salary for these individuals was $70,950, which is already almost twice as much as the national median. However, producers and directors at the top of the industry earned over $189,870 in 2016, so there is potential to make an even higher salary. Producers and directors generally have a bachelor's degree, and, while some may have studied film or theater, others have degrees in subjects like business or communications.

Art Director

As an art director in the film industry, it is your responsibility to work with the director and other staff or assistants to create an artistic vision for the film set. You will figure out what types of props, set designs, and costumes are necessary in order to create realistic sets that match the style and time period of the film. Art directors who worked in the film industry earned a median salary of $112,140 in 2016. To become an art director, you generally need a bachelor's degree in a field like art or photography, though some art directors also have master's degrees and may have significant work experience in art and design-related fields.

Multimedia Artist/Animator

As a multimedia artist or animator in the film industry, you may work primarily in animated films drawing the characters and scenes that appear in the film. Other artists and animators may specialize in special effects and computer-generated images (CGI) for live-action films. The artists and animators who worked in the motion picture industry made a median salary of $65,680 in 2016, though the top ten percent of all multimedia artists and animators made over $115,900. To become a multimedia artist or animator, you generally need a bachelor's degree in computer graphics or a similar field.

Actor

Within the film industry, actors and actresses are perhaps the most visible workers within this field as they star in the films and television shows. It is their job to take on the role of different characters, memorize lines, and take direction from directors. While there are a large number of actors who are not very successful, the field is projected to grow by 12% between 2016 and 2026 and actors who are successful earn over $100 per hour. To become an actor, you may want to consider pursuing formal dramatic training.

Film and Video Editor

Film and video editors are responsible for working with the footage that is capture during filming, keeping it all organized, and editing it into a cohesive story. They typically use various types of editing software to make sure the sound, music, and lighting all aligns properly, and they are able to select footage from multiple different angles of the same scene to create interesting and compelling final cuts. These individuals made a median salary of $62,760 in 2016, though the top ten percent in this industry earned $162,260 or more. To become a film and video editor, you usually need a bachelor's degree in a field related to film or broadcasting.

Composer

As a composer who works in the film industry, you will be responsible for writing the musical scores for the film. This typically involves working with the director in order to understand what scenes require music, the overall storyline and theme of the film, and the type of tone and mood the film is trying to achieve. Composers and music directors made a median salary of $50,110 in 2016, though the top ten percent earned over $106,700. There are no specific education requirements to become a composer, but those interested in composing classical music may need a master's degree in a field like music theory or music composition.

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