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Producer Career Guide

Have you always been fascinated by the idea of working in the entertainment industry, but you are more interested in working behind the scenes? If so, then working as a producer could be a career option that appeals to you.

Producers are responsible for making the financial and business decisions for a motion picture, TV shows, commercial or stage productions. To become a producer, you will need a bachelors degree in a related field (e.g., film or cinema). Alternatively, degrees in journalism, art management and business are also acceptable. To become successful, producers will need a lot of experience in the industry.

It can be extremely insecure, so you need the right attitude: you have to be a multi-skilled multi-tasker who can handle having three separate films on the go at the same time. If you crave security and constancy, it's definitely not for you; but if you thrive under pressure and don't want to work in an office, it can be wonderful.

Janine Marmot

Producer Career Ratings

Income

Career
Growth

Personal Growth

Contribution

Influence

Job Profiles

Real-Life Producer Job Profiles

Below is a list of links to anonymous job profiles of REAL PEOPLE who have filled out our survey and offered to share their insights with our users about their job in the Producer field.
ID Job Title Gender Age Earnings City & State Date
33968 Media Manager Female 24 $30,000 San Rafael, CA 01/01/2010
33819 Media Manager Female 24 $30,000 San Rafael, CA 01/01/2010
33754 Media Production Specialist Male 37 $63,000 Seaside, CA 01/01/2010
33612 Celebrity Booker And Executive Morning Show Producer Female 27 $62,000 philadelphia, PA 01/01/2010
33203 Owner Male 30 $90,000 Niles, NY 01/01/2010

Overview

What a producer does

Producers are responsible for making the financial and business decisions for a motion picture, TV shows, commercial or stage productions. They are also responsible for raising the money for the project and hiring the director and crew (e.g., costume designer, editors). There is a huge variety of industries where producers can work. For example, there are producers for television programs, newscasts, theatre productions, and music records. Regardless of the industry, the typical duties and responsibilities of a producer include:

  • Auditioning and selecting cast members and the film or stage crew
  • Approving the design and financial aspects of a production
  • Coordinating the activities of writers, directors, managers, actors and other personnel
  • Approving minor production changes
  • Monitoring post-production processes to ensure the accurate completion of details
  • Ensuring that a project stays on schedule and within budget
  • Promoting finished works or productions through interviews, advertisements, and film festivals

Why they are needed

Producers play a key role in the entertainment industry, which has a revenue of over $100bn. Without producers, the entertainment that we all love so much would not be possible. Films, TV commercials or radio shows would run over budget – the industry would be chaotic. We all rely on the work of producers, without even knowing it, to give us the daily entertainment that we love and enjoy.

Pros and cons of a career as a producer

Pros:

  • Producers get to use creativity on a daily basis and have the freedom to express themselves
  • Producers work in a diverse environment where they get to meet lots of people from different walks of life
  • It is a very sociable environment, and you get to work with lots of like minded people
  • No two days are the same and therefore, there is never a boring day!
  • There are lots of opportunities
  • It is a very personally rewarding job when producers get to see the finished product that they have such a big input in

Cons:

  • It can be a highly pressured role as film producers are responsible for all decisions that are made for a film project
  • Producers wear multiple hats and may find themselves spreading themselves thin
  • Producers will work long hours and may find their life revolves around work
  • It is a hard career to enter – a lot of experience and recognition is needed to become successful
  • Producers are likely to face a lot of criticism

Employability

Job market

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of producers is projected to grow 10 percent from 2019 to 2029, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. This employment growth is expected because the demand from the public for high quality movies and televisions shows is expected to increase over the coming decades. Similarly, demand for reality TV shows and TV shows that are available on internet-only platforms (e.g., Netflix) is expected to grow, creating a demand for producers.

Those who want to become theater producers in small- and medium-sized theaters may see a slower job growth because many of these theaters will have difficulty funding their shows. In large cities, such as New York, there will be more opportunities.

Career paths

To become a producer, you will typically need a bachelor’s degree. Normally, this degree is in film or cinema, where you will learn about film history, editing, the filmmaking process and cinematography. Alternatively, producers may kickstart their career path with a degree in writing, acting, journalism, communications, art management or business.

The key to become a successful producer is to gain as much work experience as possible. Ofter, producers will start out as assistants or in other low-profile studio jobs.

Example Job Titles for Producer

Below is a list of common job titles in the Producer field. Click the links below for more information about these job titles, or view the next section for actual real-life job profiles.

Benefits & Conditions

Income and benefits

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for a producer 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 producers 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

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 producers are likely to vary significantly in different locations. For example, in large cities where theater and film production is high, there is likely to be more employment opportunities and more career development opportunities. According to Zippia, the best states to be a producer, based on average salary and number of jobs available, are:

  1. New York, where the average annual salary was $92,662
  2. Rhode Island, where the average annual salary was $76,793
  3. California, where the average annual salary was $84,858
  4. Connecticut, where the average annual salary was $76,192
  5. Utah, where the average annual salary was $69,972

According to Zippia, the worst states to be a producer were Hawaii, Montana, Colorado, Wyoming and Kansas.

Work environment

The largest employer of producers 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%).

Producers will work in a sociable and fast paced environment where they will work under a lot of pressure and stress. Assignments can last anywhere from 1 day to a few months, and the whole process can be intense. Producers may have to work in unpleasant conditions (e.g., bad weather) and they may have to travel across the country.

Career Satisfaction

Common Matching Personality Types

Which personalities tend to succeed and thrive in Producer careers? Based on our research, there is a relatively strong positive correlation between the following personality types and Producer career satisfaction. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t many exceptions, of course, but if you fit into one of the following personality types then we suggest you give strong consideration to a career in Producer.

16 Types (Myers-Briggs)

Big Five (OCEAN)

Enneagram

Holland Codes (RIASEC)

Personality types

As the nickname suggest (“The Creator”), producers are likely to show the ISFP personality type. These types of people are quirky, eccentric and creative. They bring new ideas to the table and have the desire to turn their observations into art and to inspire others. As working as a producer requires creativity and the ability to inspire others, ISFP’s are likely to thrive.

Although there is no exact scientific exploration, producers are likely to score high on openness to experience, as these types of people tend to be imaginative, curios and open-minded.

Accomplishment and mastery

When a producer becomes truly successful, they will feel a high sense of accomplishment and mastery. It is a long journey to becoming a successful and reputable producer, but don’t give up! It’s worth it at the end!

Meaning and contribution

There is a lot of meaning behind the work of a producer. Often, producer are capturing stories or creating meaningful pieces of entertainment. Their work inspires, engages and unites the world.

Life fit

Work hours for producers tend to be long and irregular. Evening, weekend, and holiday work is common. Some work more than 40 hours per week. Many producers do not work a standard workweek, because their schedules may change with each assignment or project.

Who will thrive in this career?

Since the producer oversees the entire project, it is imperative that this individual possesses effective leadership qualities and is able to work well with a team. The producer cannot handle everything alone, so it is important that he or she puts together a team of qualified individuals to get the project done successfully and efficiently. Additionally, in order to thrive, a producer must be able to communicate well with everyone involved in the project.

In order to truly thrive as a producer, you must be able to accept criticism – not everyone has the same taste in films,TV programs or shows and producers need thick skin to handle any potential criticism. To thrive, you must also be able to work well under pressure and meet deadlines. Flexibility and adaptability is also imperative, as producers will face a wide range of different situations each day. Finally, a knowledge of media/film and the desire to progress this knowledge is essential.

Who will struggle in this career?

Obviously, those who aren’t creative will struggle in this career. Similarly, those who have no real passion for film or an eye for good entertainment are likely to struggle to become successful, especially in such a competitive market. Those who prefer to work a stable 9-5 might struggle with the varied and often long hours a producer works. Finally, those who can’t work in a team or effectively delegate tasks are likely to struggle as a producer.

Requirements

Skills and talents

As well as relevant work experience, producers will need skills such as:

  • Time management skills, as producers will be wearing lots of hats and must juggle many things to keep the production to schedule
  • Attention to detail, as producers will need to keep an eye on the smallest details in budgets and financial plans
  • Communication and interpersonal skills, as producers will work with lots of different people and must be able to communicate and build relationships with them
  • Leadership skills, as producers instruct others and must be able to do this properly
  • Creativity, because producers must envision the final product and add their ideas and input

Education

Producers will typically need a bachelor’s degree in film or cinema, where they learn about film history, editing, the filmmaking process and cinematography. Alternatively, producers may achieve a degree in writing, acting, journalism, communications, art management or business. Regardless of what degree is achieved, to become a successful producer, extensive work experience is required.

Certifications

There are not specific certifications or licensure needed to become a producer in the United States.

How to Become

Summary

Producers are responsible for making the financial and business decisions for a motion picture, TV shows and commercial or stage productions. They are also responsible for raising the money for the project and hiring the director and crew (e.g., costume designer, editors). There is a huge variety of industries where producers can work and it is a career that is set to offer many exciting employment opportunities over the coming years.

Immediate action

If becoming a producer sounds like the right career for you, then we recommend starting to gather some experience. You could become an assistant, work in helping costume designers or even serve ice cream at your local theater!

Education and learning

To become a producer you will need a bachelors degree in film or cinema. Alternatively, degrees in business, arts management or journalism are also acceptable. To truly become successful, producers will need copious amounts of work experience.

Skill development

Generally, producers constantly improve their skills through practice. As they get further into their career, a producers reputation will bring them more work and more success.

FAQs

Ask a Question

Have a question about Producer careers? If so, our mentors would love to help! Just click on a mentor’s profile below and then fill out the “Ask a Question” form on that page. Your question will then be emailed to the mentor, who can then email you a reply.

ID Job Title Gender Age Earnings City & State Date
33968 Media Manager Female 24 $30,000 San Rafael, CA 01/01/2010
33819 Media Manager Female 24 $30,000 San Rafael, CA 01/01/2010
33754 Media Production Specialist Male 37 $63,000 Seaside, CA 01/01/2010
33612 Celebrity Booker And Executive Morning Show Producer Female 27 $62,000 philadelphia, PA 01/01/2010
33203 Owner Male 30 $90,000 Niles, NY 01/01/2010

Resources