Income and benefits
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for a director was $74,420 in May 2019. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $35,480, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $173,680. The top paying industry was advertising, public relations and related services, where the median annual salary was $93,100 in 2019. The second highest paying industry was the motion picture and video industry ($87,790), followed by radio and television broadcasting ($64,030) and performing arts, spectator sports and related industries ($61,340).
A directors salary may be a percentage of ticket sales. Contrary to popular belief, only a few successful producers will earn extraordinarily high salaries.
Autonomy and Flexibility
As a whole, directors will have a lot of control over their decisions, and any decisions regarding the creative side production. Directors have autonomy over casting, editing, scriptwriting and much more. However, this autonomy is slightly diminished as directors do have to answer to producers, who have the final say in all decisions.
The autonomy and flexibility in producers who are successful and experienced is high. Producers have the final say in the production they work for, whether is be staffing, budget or promotions. As the media industry is manic, however, flexibility is lower. Often, producers will find themselves working long hours and will have little flexibility or control over this.
Locations and commute
Opportunities for directors will vary because in larger cities, where theater and film production is high, there is likely to be more employment opportunities. According to Zippia, the best states to be a production director, based on average salary and number of jobs available, are:
- Alaska, where the average annual salary was $160,036
- New York, where the average annual salary was $122,534
- Rhode Island, where the average annual salary was $106,197
- California, where the average annual salary was $108,363
- Connecticut, where the average annual salary was $104,807
According to Zippia, the worst states to be a producer were Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, South Carolina and Hawaii.
The largest employer of directors in the United States was the motion pictures and video industry, which employed 28% of all producers. The was followed by radio and television broadcasting (20%), self-employed workers (17%), performing arts, spectator sports and related industries (8%) and advertising and public relations (5%).
Directors will work in a highly pressured environment. It is a sociable career, where directors will work closely with set designers, costume designers, location scouts, art directors, film editors, music supervisors and, of course, producers. Assignments can last anywhere from 1 day to a few months, and the whole process can be intense. Directors may have to work in unpleasant conditions (e.g., bad weather) and they may have to travel across the country.