What Training Do I Need for a Career As a Motion Picture Producer?

No formal training is required to become a motion picture producer, though many have at least a bachelor's degree. Motion picture producers (also known as movie or film producers) may start their movie industry careers as actors, screenwriters, or business managers. Read on to find out how to get started toward a motion picture production career. Schools offering Digital Cinematography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career and Requirements Overview

A motion picture producer conceives a project, finds the financing, selects and manages the movie staff, and negotiates with production companies to market and distribute the final product. If a movie is like a business, the movie producer is the owner. Motion picture producers ensure that salaries are paid, union rules are followed, and movies are completed on time and on budget, so their jobs are highly stressful.

No formal training program can prepare you for a career as a movie producer, but the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) reports that many motion picture producers get relevant on-the-job training by working in the movie industry as artists or businesspeople.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Median Pay (May 2018) $71,680 (for producers and directors)
Job Growth (2016-2026) 12% (for producers and directors)
Work Environment Producers must often put in long hours and are regularly required to work on evenings and weekends. Holiday hours and travel may also be required.
Key Skills Communication skills, creativity, leadership and management skills
Similar Occupations Actor, art director, film and video editor, multimedia artists and animators, writers and authors

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Preparation and Experience

According to the BLS, many motion picture producers start out working as business managers for production companies where they learn the business side of the movie industry and build a valuable personal network. However, you don't need to have a bachelor's or master's degree in business management to become a film producer. Many artists (actors, film editors, etc.) in the motion picture industry use their education background in film or theater, their firsthand knowledge of filmmaking and their personal connections to promote projects in which they have a personal interest.

If you want to become a motion picture producer, the most important training you can have is on-the-job training that comes from working in the movie industry. Many individuals seeking to 'break into the business' become production assistants in order to learn the trade on-set from a behind-the-scenes perspective.

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