What Training Is Required for Becoming a Film Producer?

Film producers come from a wide variety of backgrounds. However, they all need good business sense and a thorough understanding of moviemaking. No strict training requirements exist for a career as a film producer, but many film producers obtain an education at a college or film school or through on-the-job experience in preparation for their chosen field. Explore these options here. Schools offering Digital Cinematography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

The film producer makes the business decisions regarding a movie. He or she chooses the script, sets and monitors the budget, plans the schedule, and finds the financial backing for the production. The film producer hires the director, negotiates contracts and agreements, and makes sure that all the bills get paid. It's a multidisciplinary job that should not be confused with film production, which involves camera operation, lighting, and sound.

Important Facts about this Occupation

Average Salary (2014) $90,300 (for producers and directors)
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 9% (for producers and directors)
Work Environment Long, irregular hours; work on evenings, weekends, and holidays; travel may be required; may work on location
Similar Occupations Directors, actors, film and video editors, writers and authors, art directors

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education and Training

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), there are currently no strict training requirements for film producers. Most have a bachelor's degree from a college or film school, in addition to relevant experience in positions such as business manager, assistant, etc.

Postsecondary Degree

An aspiring film producer should consider getting a bachelor's or master's degree in business, arts management, or nonprofit-organization management. For example, Carnegie Mellon University offers a master's degree in entertainment industry management that provides students with one year of business education and a year of working in the film industry in Los Angeles.

Film School

Attending film school is another option. Film school programs often include courses that cover the many responsibilities of the film producer. Some film schools offer a producing concentration or a master's degree program in producing. If a concentration in producing isn't available, a nascent film producer can get experience by helping other students with their film projects.

Work Experience

Many of today's film producers started their careers by working with directors, agents, or business managers in order to learn the movie business. The importance of experience cannot be overemphasized. Working in the field teaches the prospective film producer about the film industry. Just as importantly, perhaps, it allows him or her to make professional contacts that may become valuable in the future. As film producers gain experience, they will work on larger projects and receive additional responsibility.

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