How to Become a Film Producer
Film Producer Careers & Degrees

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If you’re interested in the business side of film then you might like to become a film producer.

You’ll need vision, great salesmanship, and the ability to get things done, even if they might seem impossible to other people.

Becoming a film producer is no easy feat, and there isn’t really a set path you can take or an easy way to the top.

You’ll need some hard work, long hours, and maybe a little bit of luck to come your way to make it as a producer.

A film producer is the person who is on a project from day one.

They discover the script, get the finance, find the studio, and of course the talent.

A producer can make or break a film, and in fact, they’re the person that puts it all together in the first place.

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Education Requirements to Become a Film Producer

There aren’t really any set requirements to become a film producer.

Many that are successful in the business worked in other areas of entertainment first or simply worked their way up.

The first prerequisite is to learn the film industry.

Living somewhere like Los Angeles will be a big help to you.

You could try and get a job at a studio where you could learn the ropes and get to know the way things work.

Alternatively you could work for an agent, or in many other areas.

You could also start your career by attending film school.

While you don’t plan to do the work of a director, cinematographer, or actor, understanding how their roles work will help you later on.

You’ll get to understand the industry and also meet and network with people whom have similar ambitions to your own.

The best way to become a film producer is to find your own project.

You could do this by writing a script yourself, or you could solicit work from writers and find something outstanding.

You can also buy literary work from an author, a play, a short story, or even a magazine article.

The rise of the internet has made it a lot easier to gain recognition as a film producer, with many publishing their own short films online.

Film Producer Job Description

The top film producers in the industry will have plenty of people willing to give them money to fund their project.

However, when you first become a film producer it can be a little more difficult finding the money.

You could simply start by making low budget films, or you could also try and get contracts for things like educational films to try and get some experience.

After you’ve got your funding, there are still plenty of other things that are part of the role of a film producer.

You need to find talent for your film starting with a reputable director.

Actors, cinematographer, and cameramen are all needed as well.

The list is a long one, but choosing the best people can make all the difference to your film.

On the set, many producers keep in close contact with the director.

They monitor the film’s progress and make sure things stay according to schedule, and to budget.

When you become a film producer, you also become a problem solver, and often have to deal with difficult situations with staff members, actors, funding, and scripting to name a few.

Film Producer Salary and Career Path

If you want to become a film producer, it’s likely you’ll start working somewhere else in entertainment, unless you have a lot of upfront cash to fund your early works.

Persevere and work hard, and eventually your skills will be recognized.

After some time, you will start to gain a reputation as a film producer.

Instead of spending your time chasing others for finance and work, you’ll find they will be chasing you.

The top film producers make millions of dollars a year, but it’s important to note that when you are first starting out that you will probably make a whole lot less.

Some similar roles to that of a film producer include:

While it may be a challenging path to follow, becoming a film producer can be very rewarding.

If this is your passion, and you’re willing to put in a lot of hard work, then it may be worthwhile following this dream.

The below information is based on the 2019 BLS national averages.
  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary

$93,940
$35K
$50K
$93K
$114K
$173K
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%

Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
Alabama$60,560
Alaska$50,500
Arizona$63,150
Arkansas$59,120
California$121,950
Colorado$74,370
Connecticut$88,550
Delaware$64,200
District of Columbia$92,130
Florida$70,490
Georgia$83,240
Hawaii$79,430
Idaho$57,220
Illinois$73,910
Indiana$54,720
Iowa$46,230
Kansas$60,780
Kentucky$60,390
Louisiana$57,750
Maine$52,880
Maryland$81,300
Massachusetts$74,840
Michigan$67,030
Minnesota$70,710
Mississippi$45,520
Missouri$61,240
Montana$52,180
Nebraska$53,170
Nevada$79,410
New Hampshire$63,380
New Jersey$88,200
New Mexico$79,590
New York$118,090
North Carolina$63,790
North Dakota$47,740
Ohio$55,860
Oklahoma$59,020
Oregon$68,910
Pennsylvania$66,690
Rhode Island$68,700
South Carolina$66,370
South Dakota$56,390
Tennessee$63,100
Texas$69,370
Utah$64,440
Vermont$54,920
Virginia$70,460
Washington$73,230
West Virginia$50,630
Wisconsin$57,470
Wyoming$50,870
Puerto Rico$51,910

The top earning state in the field is California, where the average salary is $121,950.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

California - $121,950
New York - $118,090
District of Columbia - $92,130
Connecticut - $88,550
New Jersey - $88,200
* Salary information based on the May 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Producers and Directors, OCC Code 27-2012, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

QuestionWhat do film producers do?

Film producers make the business and financial decisions for a motion picture.

Their responsibilities include raising money for the project, hiring the director and the rest of the crew, including set designers, costume designers, video editors, choreographers, and other workers.

Large movie productions are usually coordinated by a team of producers who share responsibilities.

Several assistant producers may also be employed to work on larger projects.

Movie producers may start as assistants or actors.

As a producer, you will need management and business skills but also an eye for talent, communication skills, and creativity.

If you want a career as a movie producer, you may start working on smaller projects and advance to larger productions after gaining a few years of experience.

QuestionHow much does a film producer make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for directors and producers who work in the motion picture and video industries was $85,770, as of May 2018.

However, the most successful producers earn much more than this.

Salaries in the film industry, in general, vary widely depending on many factors, including reputation and the region.

QuestionHow much does it cost to become a film producer?

There are no formal educational requirements but most film producers hold a bachelor’s degree in film-making or have work experience in an occupation related to motion pictures.

A film or cinema program covers a variety of topics, including film history, editing, cinematography, screenwriting.

Four-year bachelor’s degree programs in film or cinema cost, on average, around $170,000 but costs vary widely depending on the college you choose and the program itself.

A master’s degree can also help you perfect your skills and can cost anywhere between less than $10,000 and more than $40,000 a year.

Some producers also hold degrees in acting, business, or arts management.

QuestionWhat is the demand for film producers?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for producers and directors, in general, is expected to grow 5 percent from 2018 to 2028.

This growth is caused, in part, by the increased demand from the public for movies.

However, the movie industry is a highly-competitive field and in order to have the best job prospects, you will need strong business skills and knowledge about film-making.

Having the experience of working on a film set may also help you start a career as a film producer.

QuestionHow long does it take to become a film producer?

The answer to this question varies depending on a variety of factors, including your commitment and persistence.

Most producers have the experience of working for a few years in an occupation related to film making.

Some have acting experience, others have experience as directors or film editors.

Graduating from a four-year bachelor’s degree program in film or a related field will help you start a career in this field by teaching you about the technical aspects of film-making.

Producers also need good business skills and an undergraduate degree or a graduate degree in business may help you learn how to raise money for a movie and how to manage the film’s budget.

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