How Do I Become a Commercial Producer?

Research what it takes to become a commercial producer. Learn about the job duties, education requirements, job outlook and salary information to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Design Strategy & Innovation degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Commercial Producer?

Commercial producers are involved at every step in creating and producing advertisements and ad campaigns. They may produce ads for television, radio, the stage, videos, even movies. These ads don't have to be strictly to attract customers--they can also be to inform, entertain, or instruct. Commercial producers are involved with all creative decisions on a commercial set, including tasks like interpreting the script, choosing who the actors are, and special effects. Most commercial producers work in the motion picture, radio, or television industries.

The following table provides information for this career:

Degree Required Formal degree or certificate program (recommended)
Training Required Work experience: various behind-the-scenes production jobs
Education Field of Study Acting, arts management, business, communication, journalism
Key Skills Communication, creativity, leadership, management
Job Growth (2014-2024) 9% (for producers and directors)*
Median Salary (2015) $68,440 (for producers and directors)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What is a Commercial Producer?

Producers, including those who work with commercials, generally handle the business and financial side of the project, while working closely with the director, who is primarily responsible for the creative side. These producers may be in charge of creating ad campaigns for businesses or organizations.

Your responsibilities will usually vary depending upon the size of the production and your title. For example, if you become a line producer you would usually be responsible for the smooth functioning of daily operations. If you're an assistant commercial producer answering to an executive producer, then you may work with costumes and makeup.

You may also hold auditions, select cast members, oversee the production schedule and contribute to other aspects of the production, such as script selection and development. Producers may also raise money and hire directors and other crew members, including costume designers and choreographers.

What Can I Study?

Although there aren't specific educational programs for directors or producers, you may consider pursuing a degree in acting, arts management, business, communication or journalism. You may also consider elective courses or a concentration in related areas, such as theater or film and video editing.

There are a variety of degree programs available in multimedia film and video production. Some programs may offer digital arts classes as well as certificate programs through their extension or continuing education departments.

What Courses Might I Take?

In these programs, you may take coursework in screenwriting, lighting and audio as well as classes that develop other technical skills in formatting for high-definition television, digital video and other media. Other common courses include creating and editing digital video and audio productions with motion graphics. Some programs may stress creating a portfolio of your work while others can require internships and in some cases, real-life projects for nonprofit organizations.

How Else Can I Train?

The Producers Guild of America (PGA) provides a list of production positions that may assist you in becoming an executive producer. In addition to co-executive and supervising producers, other essential team members might include associate and co-producers, production and post-production coordinators and visual effects supervisors. You may also be interested in exploring positions such as production manager, field producer, story producer and segment producer to gain relevant experience.

If you have 1-5 years of professional experience as a production or broadcast assistant, film and video editor, or camera operator, the BLS states you could potentially advance to other positions that lead to becoming a producer. For example, you might work in a broadcast studio where you pre-record footage or shoot film for live audiences.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you like the idea of becoming a commercial producer, you might also like what an actor or multimedia artist/animator does. Actors and actresses portray fictional characters in anything that needs a character, both live action on-screen or as voice overs in cartoons. There is no minimum education requirement, although acting classes are helpful. A multimedia artist or animator creates two- or three-dimensional characters to act on a screen, such as in a cartoon. Most successful artists in this category have a bachelor's degree, although no formal education is required; instead, experience is what employers are looking for.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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