There are many different jobs in film all varying from behind the scenes, to in front of the camera, setting up to taking down, writing to editing. Producing is one possible career an international student can choose to dive into. Producers are the glue of the production. They do just what they're name suggests, produce material, produce the movie, the play, the performance. To have a job as a producer, requires creativity and micromanagement.
What is a producer?
Having a job as a producer means making "the business and financial decisions involving a motion picture, television show, or stage production," according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As a producer, you're number one priority is to raise money for the production and then to make sure that the production will make money at the box office. As a producer, you will also select scripts, hire and work closely with the director and screenwriters, help choose the actors and talent, and create a budget and shooting schedule among many other duties. Sometimes, in bigger productions, a producer will have a line producer and assistant producer working under them as well as executive producers. A line producer handles day-to-day scheduling and budgeting and works with the director on set. Executive producers are the ones financing the production and the title is more honorary.
Having a career as a producer means irregular hours and unusual locations. Being a producer is a stressful career, making sure the production is on schedule, on budget and everyone from actors, directors, to the union are happy, therefore, the hours can be long. Weekends are a guarantee. Whatever the shooting schedule for the production is, the producer will be there long after it's wrapped up. Since shooting a production often happens over mere months, the work is at a more rapid pace and since it can only last for months, work is unsteady and not guaranteed. Many producers do other jobs on the side. Also, since producers are often where the shoot is, traveling to different locations and not just staying in a studio or sound stage is a possibility.
How to become a producer
International students who want a job as a producer might want to consider going to a university with a film or business program. Since producers aren't just creative directors and are very involved in management and fundraising, business is a good major to study. Film study will also be beneficial in that you learn the workings of a production and the technology that accompanies it. Internships in the film business are a must in that many producers are not successful without experience. "Producers often start in a theatrical management office, working for a press agent, managing director, or business manager. Some start in a performing arts union or service organization. Others work behind the scenes with successful directors, serve on the boards of art companies, or promote their own projects," according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
"In May 2008, actors, producers, and directors held about 155,100 jobs, primarily in the motion picture and video, performing arts, and broadcast industries. This statistic does not capture large number of actors, producers, and directors who were available for work but were between jobs during the month in which data were collected. About 21 percent of actors, producers, and directors were self-employed," according the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Most of the jobs available in the film industry are located in New York City and Los Angeles. For the decade of 2008-2018, employment is expected to grow 11 percent, which is the average for other occupations.
"Median annual wages of producers and directors were $64,430 in 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $41,890 and $105,070. Median annual wages were $85,940 in the motion picture and video industry and $55,380 in radio and television broadcasting," according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.