How to Become a Movie Producer in 5 Steps

Research what it takes to become a movie producer. Learn about education requirements, job duties, median wages and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Digital Cinematography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a Movie Producer Do?

As a movie producer, your primary responsibility is to manage the financial and business aspects of a film, which includes tasks such as obtaining funding, negotiating contracts, and staying within a budget. Any major changes to a project must be run past the producer before going forward, and they may work closely with the director regarding the hiring and script selection process. Producers are also in charge of raising funds for a project in the early stages and need to have a strong sense of business as well as creative direction. A large production may have different kinds of producers, such as line producers, assistant producers or associate producers, who fulfill different roles in the production while communicating closely with one another.

Consider the information in the following table to determine if a career as a movie producer is right for you.

Degree Required Most have a Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Film or cinema
Key Skills Communication, creativity, leadership, and management skills
Job Growth (2014-2024) 9% for all producers and directors*
Median Salary (2015) $68,440 for all producers and directors*

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

Step 1: Research Movie Producer Career Profile

As a movie producer, you are involved in planning, making and marketing motion pictures. Your job may be stressful due to budget and scheduling constraints as well as intermittent employment opportunities. You may have to resolve disputes among film staff and pass through stiff competition for this potentially high-paying job. While specific training routes are not set for becoming a movie producer, you may help your chances by pursuing formal education in the film industry and business management.

Step 2: Start Gaining Experience

You may gain experience within the entertainment industry and the managerial aspects of producing a film while still in high school. Taking courses in drama, theater, dramatic literature, film and business can give you a head start in your preparation as a future movie producer. You might also produce short videos and distribute them on the Internet to accumulate practical experience. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2015, many producers start their film career in another role, such as directing or acting (www.bls.gov).

Step 3: Pursue Formal Education

An aspiring movie producer should have a firm grounding in how to present and sell an idea as well as how to negotiate acceptable deals. You can develop these skills in a variety of ways, such as earning a business degree while keeping abreast of the entertainment industry or attending film school while focusing on entertainment business. As a student in film school, you may take courses in entertainment business, cinematography, screenwriting, acting, marketing, directing, media distribution, behavior science and production design.

Step 4: Find an Internship

You may be able to complete this step while still pursuing your formal education. These internships give you the opportunity to work with seasoned film personnel and establish possible networking opportunities for the future. Don't hesitate to offer your services to the drama departments of colleges or high schools, since any practical experience can be added to your resume as you seek your first producer job.

Step 5: Look for an Entry-Level Position

The BLS reported in 2015 that many larger movie productions often have numerous producers working under an executive producer (www.bls.gov). Remember that you can help establish your reputation by constantly searching for movie ideas and keeping in contact with agents in the entertainment industry. You may have to smart small to get your name out there, so consider providing your producer skills to smaller production firms or independent filmmakers.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Directors perform a similar job function to producers, but the scope of their authority and expertise does not generally extend to the financial and business aspects of filmmaking. Directors work with actors and other members of a film crew to execute a project in a particular way, often having significant influence over all creative aspects of the production. A bachelor's degree from a film school is sufficient education for most directors.

For those with an interest in post-production and the technical avenues of filmmaking, becoming a camera operator or a film editor may be a viable option. Camera operators are in charge of capturing a high-quality image on film and taking direction from the producers and directors. Film editors work with the raw material gathered from filming, helping assemble it seamlessly to create a coherent finished product.

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