Jobs in Feature Film Development: What Are My Career Options?

If you love feature films and want to work hard to get them from an idea to the big screen, then there are several jobs that might be right for you. Read on to learn more about these careers. Schools offering Digital Cinematography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Some Career Options for Feature Film Development

This article will particularly go over information pertaining to:

  • Screenwriters
  • Line Producers
  • Actors

Important Facts About Film Development Careers

Screenwriter Line Producer Actor
Key Skills Patience, passion, and observational skills Creativity, management, and leadership skills Creativity, reading, communication, and persistence
Professional Licensure None required, however guilds are available None required None required
On-the-Job Training Internships, fellowships, and workshops are available Typically unavailable, however producers usually start with another occupation in film Internships and workshops are available
Similar Occupations Technical writer, reporter, broadcaster, editor Top executive, director, editor Musician/singer, model, dancer/choreographer

Screenwriter

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), if you work as a screenwriter, you'll create story ideas, write movie scripts and pitch those scripts to producers, studios and other financial backers (www.bls.gov). If your script gets picked up by a studio or independent filmmaker, you'll also usually be responsible for rewriting the script until it meets the studio's expectations. You will have to meet deadlines and incorporate the suggestions of other people involved with the film, including directors, producers and actors.

Education

The BLS doesn't mention the educational requirements for screenwriters; however, it does say that writers usually need a bachelor's degree. In addition to being a strong writer, you need to possess computer proficiency. Writers also need to be adaptable, determined and creative.

Career Outlook and Salary

The BLS reports that writers and editors can look forward to an employment increase of three percent between 2012 and 2022. As of May 2014, the BLS reported that creative writers in general earned a mean annual wage of $67,870.

Line Producer

If you work as a line producer, you're responsible for preparing a budget for a feature film based on the script, making adjustments as necessary during production and reconciling actual costs with the budget once the film has completed production. You'll figure out how much it will cost to make the film, including the costs for hiring the production crew, going on location and obtaining filmmaking equipment. Part of your responsibility is also to do everything you can to help keep the film production schedule running smoothly and on time, whether that's dealing with budget concerns, arranging for insurance coverage or ensuring that all activities follow applicable local, state or federal regulations.

Depending on the budget and scale of the film you're working on, you might not be the only producer on your movie set. Big-budget films often hire many different types of producers, including creative and assistant producers. You'll typically report to the executive producer, and, according to the Producers Guild of America, your decision-making relates only to material aspects of filmmaking.

Education

According to the BLS, a bachelor's degree in film or cinema is usually required to work as a producer. However, some may study another field, such as arts management or business. In addition, work experience is often required. To succeed as a producer, you should possess management and leadership skills, be creative and communicate well.

Job Outlook and Salary

According to the BLS, producers and directors in general can expect an employment increase of three percent between 2012 and 2022. In May 2014, the BLS reported that producers and directors in the motion picture industry earned a mean annual salary of $106,440.

Actor

As an actor, your interest in a project could help shepherd it through the development process. According to the BLS, your agent can be influential in persuading film studios to green-light a project because you as an actor are enthusiastic about it. If you decide to pursue a career as a feature film actor, chances are good that you will not have steady employment, because, according to the BLS, most actors start with small parts and work their way up to larger parts if they have the necessary skills and talent.

Education

The educational path for an actor varies. Some take acting classes, while others earn a bachelor's degree in a field such as theater. The BLS notes that practice is essential to be successful in this field, and actors need to have excellent reading, memorization and speaking skills.

Job Outlook and Salary

Because actors are paid by the hour or by the film, the BLS does not report mean annual salaries for film actors; however, in May 2014, it reported that independent performers earned an average hourly wage of $45.24. The motion picture and video industries paid actors an average hourly wage of $40.85. Actors can expect an employment increase of four percent between 2012 and 2022, which is slower than average.

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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