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Become A Production Director

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Working As A Production Director

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • $107,043

    Average Salary

What Does A Production Director 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.

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How To Become A Production Director

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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Production Director Demographics

Gender

Male

68.4%

Female

29.5%

Unknown

2.1%
Ethnicity

White

62.7%

Hispanic or Latino

16.0%

Black or African American

10.6%

Asian

6.9%

Unknown

3.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

50.8%

French

12.3%

Italian

6.9%

Portuguese

4.6%

Mandarin

3.8%

Japanese

3.8%

Cantonese

2.3%

German

2.3%

Hindi

1.5%

Dutch

1.5%

Korean

1.5%

Carrier

1.5%

Chinese

1.5%

Swedish

0.8%

Bulgarian

0.8%

Tahitian

0.8%

Catalan

0.8%

Bengali

0.8%

Russian

0.8%

Filipino

0.8%
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Production Director Education

Schools

New York University

10.3%

Fashion Institute of Technology

9.6%

University of Phoenix

9.3%

Syracuse University

6.8%

Michigan State University

5.7%

Full Sail University

4.6%

Columbia College Chicago

4.3%

Temple University

4.3%

Rochester Institute of Technology

4.3%

Emerson College

4.3%

University of North Texas

3.9%

San Francisco State University

3.9%

University of Southern California

3.9%

University of Kentucky

3.9%

Iowa State University

3.9%

School of Visual Arts

3.6%

University of Florida

3.6%

Northern Illinois University

3.6%

State University of New York Buffalo

3.2%

University of Texas at Austin

3.2%
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Majors

Communication

20.4%

Business

13.9%

Graphic Design

8.6%

Photography

7.6%

Journalism

7.0%

English

4.7%

Digital Media

4.3%

Fine Arts

4.2%

Audiovisual Communications Technologies

3.8%

Marketing

3.7%

Management

3.0%

Music

2.8%

Computer Science

2.4%

Theatre

2.4%

Electrical Engineering

2.1%

Public Relations

2.0%

Computer Networking

1.9%

Education

1.8%

Political Science

1.8%

History

1.8%
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Degrees

Bachelors

53.0%

Other

20.7%

Masters

14.3%

Associate

6.8%

Certificate

3.2%

Doctorate

0.9%

Diploma

0.8%

License

0.3%
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Real Production Director Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Director-Production Shoes J. Crew Group, Inc. New York, NY Jan 07, 2016 $255,000
Director, Footwear Production J. Crew Group, Inc. New York, NY Jul 01, 2013 $250,000
Director of Production Microsoft Corporation Redmond, WA Oct 01, 2014 $222,002
Director of Production AKQA, Inc. San Francisco, CA Sep 13, 2011 $200,000
Director of Production (Vegetative) Ball Horticultural Company West Chicago, IL Feb 12, 2015 $200,000
Director of Production Ball Horticultural Company West Chicago, IL Oct 01, 2015 $200,000
Director of Production Ball Horticultural Company West Chicago, IL Oct 01, 2012 $200,000
Director of Production Icon Aircraft, Inc. Tehachapi, CA Sep 13, 2013 $170,000
Director of Digital Production Inspire! Group, Inc. Dallas, TX Dec 08, 2016 $167,702
Production Director G-III Leather Fashions Inc. New York, NY Oct 09, 2014 $162,500
Design and Production Director S. Rothschild & Co., Inc. New York, NY Oct 01, 2013 $157,500
Production Director G-III Leather Fashions Inc. New York, NY May 31, 2013 $155,000
Production Director G-III Leather Fashions Inc. New York, NY Oct 18, 2013 $155,000
Production Director G-III Leather Fashions Inc. New York, NY Sep 11, 2013 $155,000
Director of Production Jones Jeanswear Group Inc. New York, NY Mar 06, 2012 $123,000 -
$175,000
Director of Production Julia Baker Confections, Inc. Scottsdale, AZ Aug 23, 2015 $120,162
Production Director Zynga, Inc. San Francisco, CA Sep 10, 2015 $120,000 -
$150,000
Director, Wholesale Production Mimeo.Com, Inc. Newark, NJ Jul 01, 2011 $120,000
Technical and Production Director Lightstream, L.P. San Diego, CA Oct 01, 2012 $120,000
Production Director Zynga, Inc. New York, NY Sep 10, 2015 $120,000 -
$150,000
Technical Production Director VNC Communications, Inc. Chicago, IL Aug 01, 2011 $115,000
Production Director Netflix, Inc. Beverly Hills, CA Aug 29, 2016 $95,222
Director, Creative Development and Production Fox International Productions.Inc. Los Angeles, CA Jun 20, 2016 $95,000
Director of Production U-Tegration, Inc. Houston, TX Aug 25, 2015 $92,373
Director, Asia Pacific and Latin America Post Production Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp Los Angeles, CA Nov 01, 2016 $92,000
Director, Asia Pacific and Latin America Post Production Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp Los Angeles, CA Jan 11, 2016 $92,000
Production Director Kiosk Creative LLC Novato, CA Sep 18, 2016 $88,000

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Top Skills for A Production Director

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  1. Video
  2. Audio Production
  3. Radio Station
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Directed overall video production elements associated with show.
  • Led all audio production of informational and continuing professional education content for international publisher.
  • Configured and implemented Mac based digital audio work stations for XTRA Sports 690 and 91X radio stations.
  • Developed and produced programming and on-air promotions and materials for six networks in international markets.
  • Assist in investigation of on-line ad serving capabilities and Web Content Management systems that complement content based publishing models.

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Top 10 Best States for Production Directors

  1. New York
  2. District of Columbia
  3. California
  4. Maryland
  5. Connecticut
  6. Minnesota
  7. Georgia
  8. New Jersey
  9. Texas
  10. Rhode Island
  • (403 jobs)
  • (93 jobs)
  • (1,036 jobs)
  • (152 jobs)
  • (85 jobs)
  • (146 jobs)
  • (177 jobs)
  • (164 jobs)
  • (505 jobs)
  • (27 jobs)

Top Production Director Employers

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