Top Five Jobs in the Film Industry

This article was published on Dream Row’s website on June 12, 2012

Top Five Jobs in the Film Industry

By Nicole LaChance

Working in the film industry provides lots of exciting stories to share with family and friends. And luckily, if you work hard and pick the right discipline, it can also provide job security and satisfaction.


If a movie was a corporation, the producer would be both the chief financial officer and the main administrator.

Producers have administrative control of the movie and are also in charge of the budget. The job can be very trying, especially while trying to stick to a tight schedule and budget, but many producers claim to have high levels of job satisfaction, according to the Princeton Review.

Producers typically work for production companies or movie studios, though many are freelance.

Film producers typically study film production in college. However, majoring or minoring in business is also helpful, as producers handle a lot of things on the business end of making a movie.

Becoming a top producer, especially one that makes a six or seven figure salary, takes time and effort. Many start out as assistants and work their way up. Check here for an in-depth guide to what a producer does and how to become one.

Job Outlook: Jobs for producers are expected to increase 11% by 2020, with an estimated 13,500 jobs added. (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Average Salary: $68,440 a year (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Art Director

Have you ever seen a movie and been amazed by the setting? That is the work of the art director, who oversees several employees to create the director and producers’ desired tone of the film. They are usually required to keep track of the art department budget and act as a liaison with other departments. Art directors are generally pretty satisfied in their jobs  and many work on a freelance basis.

Art directors study art-related disciplines at a four-year college or university. After school, they often get jobs at small play houses or on the set of independent films. Becoming an art director takes time but can ultimately be very rewarding.

Job Outlook: The employment of art directors is projected to increase 9% by 2020, with 6,700 new jobs added. (BLS)

Average Salary: $80,630 per year (BLS)
Sound Engineering Technician

Unless you are making a silent film, sound is one of the most important parts of a movie. Sound technicians even have the opportunity to earn Oscars for their work.

Sound technicians are responsible for setting up, operating and maintaining the sophisticated sound equipment used for movies and TV shows.  Those who enjoy working in a team, have a natural ear for sound and are outgoing usually have the most satisfaction with the job. While salary typically start around $30,000, experienced engineers can command $80,000 salaries.

One of the benefits of becoming a sound technician is that you typically only need an associate’s degree or a vocational certification. Some are even hired right out of high school if they have the right experience. Technicians typically improve through on the job training and then have the chance to earn a higher salary.

Job Outlook: The demand for technicians is expected to grow 10% by 2020, with an estimated 11,600 jobs added. (BLS)

Average Salary: $39,870 a year (BLS)

Imagine being able to create a world where people can fly, animals can talk and gravity doesn’t matter.All this is possible in the job of an animator.

In addition to creating and designing animated movies, animators also do special effects for movies like Avatar. With all the fun and imagination possible in this job, it’s no wonder animators have such a high rate of job satisfaction. A survey of over 1,200 animators found that 59 percent of animators are happy with their jobs, higher than the national average.   Of the animators surveyed, 80 percent plan to continue work in the field and over 50 percent would recommend the job to a friend.

Most animators hold a bachelor’s degree in animation or another art-related field.

To become an animator, it is important to take advantage of internship and work-study opportunities. It is also important for animators to assemble a portfolio of their best work to show to potential employers.

Entry-level animators are typically assigned to finish up and build on work created by other animators, but can eventually work their way up to creating their own work and becoming a lead animator.

Job Outlook: The demand for animators and multimedia artists is supposed to increase 8% in the next decade, with 5,500 jobs added. (BLS)

Average Salary: $58,510 a year (BLS)

Casting Director

The average person in a theater spends an hour and a half watching the actors, but gives no thought to the person who got them there.

Casting directors work behind the scenes and are essential to making a movie work. In fact, U.S. News and World Report called casting directors one of the best kept secret jobs in America. Casting directors have a unique opportunity to witness  and cast up-and-coming talent, one of the most rewarding parts of their job. They also have the opportunity to make or break a movie with their casting decisions.

Being a casting director requires no formal education. The most important factor in becoming a casting director is experience. This often involves staring as an intern and working up to a casting assistant before becoming a director.

Job Outlook: The demand for casting directors is expected to grow 10% by the end of the decade. (BLS)

Average Salary: $70,660 a year (BLS)


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