Film Production Majors: Salary and Career Facts

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue in film production. Read on to learn more about career options along with education and salary information. Schools offering Digital Cinematography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is Film Production?

A major in film production can prepare you for a variety of jobs in the film industry. You may become a film producer, cinematographer or film editor. Film producers oversee the financial side of making a movie, including raising funds for production and monitoring the budget. Cinematographers are responsible for creating the best shot for each scene in a movie and then filming it. Film editors tend to play a larger role during the post-production portion of a movie as they edit scenes to better align with a director's vision. All of these positions work closely with directors, actors and other crew members on set. The chart below outlines the education requirements, job outlook and salary potential for three of the most common positions.

Film Producer Cinematographer Film Editor
Degree Required Bachelor's Bachelor's Bachelor's
Education Field of Study Film, film production Film, film production Film, film production
Job Growth (2014-2024) 9% for all producers and directors* 2% for all camera operators for film, TV and video* 18%*
Median Salary (2015) $68,440 for all producers and directors* $49,080 for all camera operators for film, TV and video* $61,750*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Can I Expect in a Film Production Major?

Opportunities are available for you to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Film with a specialization in film production or a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film Production after completion of major-specific courses, like script analysis, study of narrative and documentary filmmaking, film history, cinematography and directing. Film degrees in the Bachelor of Science designation do exist, but they aren't as common as the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Fine Arts.

As a film major, you may be required to complete a minor program of study in another subject. These academic programs provide some training in each part of the filmmaking process, from pre-production planning to arranging and shaping the film for distribution. Some programs may require you to complete a short film or other type of final product.

What Jobs Can I Apply For?

A bachelor's degree in film production can prepare you for a range of careers, including a film editor, producer or cinematographer. Many individuals in these careers start out as assistants, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov).

America's Career InfoNet writes that a film producer is responsible for many facets of movie making, including finding financing for movie projects, hiring actors and script selection (www.careerinfonet.org). Monster.com reports that cinematographers or director of photographers coordinate the filming and operate the camera.

A film editor is responsible for assembling footage, ensuring proper length of segments and organizing the raw footage under the direction of producers and directors, according to the Occupational Information Network (http://online.onetcenter.org).

How Much Do Film Professionals Earn?

Film producers earned a median hourly rate of $32.91 in 2015, according to the BLS. The largest employer of film producers in 2015 was the motion picture industry, with an hourly mean wage of $50.75. The radio and television broadcasting industry had the second highest employment level for film producers in 2015, though the average hourly wage there was $34.63, per the BLS.

Cinematographers, among other types of camera operators in the film, TV and video industries, earned a median hourly rate of $23.60 as of 2015, per BLS reports, resulting in an annual median of $49,080. The highest paid 10% of workers in this field earned $105,120 or more annually at that time.

The BLS states that individuals reporting employment as a film and video editors claimed a median salary of $61,750 in 2015. The median hourly wage for a film editor was $29.69 in 2015, according to the BLS.

What Professional Unions Exist?

According to the BLS, union membership is not strictly required, but non-union workers may not get the jobs they prefer. The site further states that editors often belong to the United Scenic Artists Association or the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts (IATSE). The International Cinematographers Guild represents cinematographers and directors of photography, while film producers can choose to be apart of the Producers Guild of America.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Some related careers that require a bachelor's degree include art directors, editors and writers and authors. Art directors create and ensure a consistent visual style throughout a particular type of media, such as a magazine, movie or newspaper. Editors review written content for grammatical errors and overall readability before it is published. Writers and authors create the written content for a large variety of things, such as books, scripts, songs and blogs.

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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