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Working as a Producer

What Does a Producer Do

Producers and directors create motion pictures, television shows, live theater, commercials, and other performing arts productions. They interpret a writer’s script to entertain or inform an audience.

Duties

Producers and directors typically do the following:

  • Select scripts or topics for a film, show, commercial, or play
  • Audition and select cast members and the film or stage crew
  • Approve the design and financial aspects of a production
  • Oversee the production process, including performances, lighting, and choreography
  • Oversee the postproduction process, including editing, special effects, music selection, and a performance’s overall tone
  • Ensure that a project stays on schedule and within budget
  • Promote finished works or productions through interviews, advertisements, and film festivals

Large productions often have associate, assistant, and line producers who share responsibilities. For example, on a large movie set an executive producer is in charge of the entire production, and a line producer runs the day-to-day operations. A TV show may employ several assistant producers to whom the head or executive producer gives certain duties, such as supervising the costume and makeup team.

Similarly, large productions usually employ several assistant directors, who help the director with tasks such as making set changes or notifying the performers when it is their time to go onstage. The specific responsibilities of assistant producers or directors vary with the size and type of production they work on.

Producers make the business and financial decisions for a motion picture, TV show, commercial, or stage production. They raise money for the project and hire the director and crew. The crew may include set and costume designers, film and video editors, a musical director, a choreographer, and other workers. Some producers may assist in the selection of cast members. Producers set the budget and approve any major changes to the project. They make sure that the production is completed on time, and they are ultimately responsible for the final product.

Directors are responsible for the creative decisions of a production. They select cast members, conduct rehearsals, and direct the work of the cast and crew. During rehearsals, they work with the actors to help them more accurately portray their characters. For nonfiction video, such as documentaries or live broadcasts, directors choose topics or subjects to film. They investigate the topic and may interview relevant participants or experts on camera. Directors also work with cinematographers and other crew members to ensure the final product matches the overall vision.

Directors work with set designers, costume designers, location scouts, and art directors to build a project’s set. During a film’s postproduction phase, they work closely with film editors and music supervisors to make sure that the final product comes out the way the producer and director envisioned. Stage directors, unlike television or film directors who document their product with cameras, make sure the cast and crew give a consistently strong live performance. For more information, see the profiles on actors, writers and authors, film and video editors and camera operators, dancers and choreographers, and multimedia artists and animators.

Although directors are in charge of the creative aspects of a show, they ultimately answer to producers. Some directors also share producing duties for their own films.

How To Become a Producer

Most producers and directors have a bachelor’s degree and several years of work experience in an occupation related to motion picture, TV, or theater production, such as an actor, film and video editor, or cinematographer.

Education

Producers and directors usually have a bachelor’s degree. Many students study film or cinema at colleges and universities. In these programs, students learn about film history, editing, screenwriting, cinematography, and the filmmaking process. Others major in writing, acting, journalism, or communication. Some producers earn a degree in business, arts management, or nonprofit management.

Many stage directors complete a degree in theater and some go on to receive a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree. Classes may include directing, playwriting, set design, and acting. As of May 2015, the National Association of Schools of Theatre accredited more than 180 programs in theater arts.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Producers and directors might start out working in a theatrical management office as a business or company manager. In television or film, they might start out as an assistant or another low-profile studio job.

Advancement

As a producer’s or director’s reputation grows, he or she may work on larger projects that attract more attention or publicity.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Producers and directors must coordinate the work of many different people to finish a production on time and within budget.

Creativity. Because a script can be interpreted in different ways, directors must decide how they want to interpret it and then how to represent the script’s ideas on the screen or stage.

Leadership skills. A director instructs actors and helps them portray their characters in a believable manner. They also supervise the crew, who are responsible for the behind the scenes work.

Time-management skills. Producers must find and hire the best director and crew for the production. They make sure that all involved do their jobs effectively, keeping within a production schedule and a budget.

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Average Salary$56,733
Job Growth Rate5%

Producer Jobs

Producer Career Paths

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Average Salary for a Producer

Producers in America make an average salary of $56,733 per year or $27 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $91,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $35,000 per year.
Average Salary
$56,733

Best Paying Cities

Average Salary
Salary Range65k - 114k$87k$86,959
Salary Range61k - 110k$83k$82,570
Salary Range54k - 109k$77k$77,238
Salary Range53k - 98k$72k$72,415
Salary Range51k - 98k$71k$71,368
Salary Range49k - 92k$68k$67,586
$38k
$114k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Podcast Producer
Podcast Producer
University of Michigan
University of Michigan
10/23/2020
10/23/2020
$50,00010/23/2020
$50,000
Debunked Podcast Producer
Debunked Podcast Producer
Utah State University
Utah State University
10/08/2020
10/08/2020
$41,74010/08/2020
$41,740
Benefits Producer
Benefits Producer
Alliance Insurance Group
Alliance Insurance Group
09/19/2020
09/19/2020
$150,00009/19/2020
$150,000
TPA Producer
TPA Producer
USI
USI
09/02/2020
09/02/2020
$150,00009/02/2020
$150,000
Podcast Producer
Podcast Producer
Management Decisions, Inc.
Management Decisions, Inc.
08/28/2020
08/28/2020
$135,65508/28/2020
$135,655
See More Recent Salaries

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Producer Demographics

Gender

male

55.0%

female

40.2%

unknown

4.8%

Ethnicity

White

71.4%

Hispanic or Latino

11.8%

Black or African American

7.4%

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

49.5%

French

14.0%

German

4.7%
See More Demographics

Producer Education

Majors

Degrees

Bachelors

67.7%

Masters

14.4%

Associate

6.5%

Top Colleges for Producers

1. Harvard University

Cambridge, MA

Tuition and fees
$50,420
Enrollment
7,582

2. Columbia University in the City of New York

New York, NY

Tuition and fees
$59,430
Enrollment
8,216

3. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL

Tuition and fees
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

4. University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, CA

Tuition and fees
$14,184
Enrollment
30,845

5. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC

Tuition and fees
$8,987
Enrollment
18,946

6. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA

Tuition and fees
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

7. Emory University

Atlanta, GA

Tuition and fees
$51,306
Enrollment
6,975

8. University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX

Tuition and fees
$10,610
Enrollment
40,329

9. Northeastern University

Boston, MA

Tuition and fees
$51,522
Enrollment
13,760

10. California State University - Long Beach

Long Beach, CA

Tuition and fees
$6,798
Enrollment
31,503
See More Education Info

Entry Level Jobs For Becoming A Producer

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Part Time
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Top Skills For a Producer

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 11.6% of producers listed online on their resume, but soft skills such as leadership skills and critical-thinking skills are important as well.

  • Online, 11.6%
  • News Stories, 7.7%
  • Client Relationships, 6.2%
  • On-Air, 6.0%
  • Project Management, 5.5%
  • Other Skills, 63.0%
  • See All Producer Skills

Best States For a Producer

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a producer. The best states for people in this position are Utah, North Dakota, New York, and Alaska. Producers make the most in Utah with an average salary of $82,444. Whereas in North Dakota and New York, they would average $81,625 and $77,405, respectively. While producers would only make an average of $76,856 in Alaska, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. New York

Total Producer Jobs:
438
Highest 10% Earn:
$145,000
Location Quotient:
2.64
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Utah

Total Producer Jobs:
31
Highest 10% Earn:
$141,000
Location Quotient:
0.99
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. North Dakota

Total Producer Jobs:
9
Highest 10% Earn:
$150,000
Location Quotient:
0.98
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Producer Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a producer. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

At Zippia, we went through countless producer resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Write a Producer Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless producer resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

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Top Producer Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ producers and discovered their number of producer opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that CBS was the best, especially with an average salary of $53,456. State Farm follows up with an average salary of $48,235, and then comes Farmers Insurance with an average of $49,343. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as a producer. The employers include Apple, USG Insurance Services, and Future Cinema

1. CBS
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$53,456
Producers Hired: 
83+
2. State Farm
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$48,235
Producers Hired: 
76+
3. Farmers Insurance
4.5
Avg. Salary: 
$49,343
Producers Hired: 
64+
4. ABC Co
4.3
Avg. Salary: 
$42,989
Producers Hired: 
61+
5. CNN
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$51,378
Producers Hired: 
58+
6. The Walt Disney Company
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$53,941
Producers Hired: 
56+

Producer Videos

Recently Added Producer Jobs