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Become A Television Production Assistant

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Working As A Television Production Assistant

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • $120,553

    Average Salary

What Does A Television Production Assistant 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 Television Production Assistant

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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Television Production Assistant Demographics

Gender

Male

59.7%

Female

39.2%

Unknown

1.1%
Ethnicity

White

61.5%

Hispanic or Latino

17.5%

Black or African American

11.0%

Asian

6.0%

Unknown

3.9%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

47.6%

Chinese

14.3%

Mandarin

14.3%

French

9.5%

Japanese

4.8%

Cantonese

4.8%

Italian

4.8%
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Television Production Assistant Education

Schools

Columbia College Chicago

12.0%

Florida State University

8.0%

Full Sail University

6.0%

Loyola Marymount University

6.0%

Rowan University

6.0%

Michigan State University

6.0%

University of Texas at Arlington

4.0%

Kenyon College

4.0%

University of Memphis

4.0%

Ithaca College

4.0%

Southern Illinois University Carbondale

4.0%

University of Kentucky

4.0%

University of Wisconsin Extension

4.0%

University of California - Los Angeles

4.0%

American University

4.0%

Luther College

4.0%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

4.0%

University of Texas at El Paso

4.0%

New School

4.0%

Austin Community College

4.0%
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Majors

Communication

31.9%

Photography

14.8%

Journalism

8.8%

Business

6.0%

Marketing

5.5%

Entertainment Business

3.3%

English

3.3%

Theatre

2.7%

Electrical Engineering

2.7%

Liberal Arts

2.7%

Fine Arts

2.2%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.2%

Advertising

2.2%

Audiovisual Communications Technologies

1.6%

Educational Technology

1.6%

Information Technology

1.6%

Law

1.6%

Elementary Education

1.6%

Computer Networking

1.6%

Graphic Design

1.6%
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Degrees

Bachelors

60.4%

Other

12.7%

Masters

12.2%

Associate

7.8%

Certificate

4.1%

Doctorate

1.6%

Diploma

1.2%
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Top Skills for A Television Production Assistant

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  1. Video
  2. Television Production
  3. Audio
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Record and produce graduate engineering video lectures and provide technical assistance for engineering events.
  • Performed other duties as assigned including graphics, camera, and grip for community television productions in studio and on location.
  • Maintained and was responsible for department equipment including high-quality professional cameras, monitors, and audio/lighting equipment.
  • Operated multiple graphics and tape playback systems during live TV newscasts * Prepared graphics and other video elements for live broadcasts
  • Programmed automated computer that played television shows.

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Top Television Production Assistant Employers

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Jobs From Top Television Production Assistant Employers

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