Producer & Director
What you need to know
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.
Producers and directors work under a lot of pressure, and many are under stress to finish their work on time. Work hours for producers and directors can be long and irregular.
Some of the things a producer or director might do:
- 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 post-production 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
- 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: Directors instruct actors and help them portray their characters in a believable manner. They also supervise the crew, which is responsible for 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.
The average pay for producers and directors in the United States ranges from $36,070 to $184,660 as of May 2020.
The specific pay depends on factors such as level of experience, education and training, geographic location, and specific industry.
Employment of producers and directors is projected to grow 10 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.
Some job growth in the motion picture and video industry is expected to stem from strong demand from the public for movies and television shows, as well as an increased demand from foreign audiences for U.S.-produced films.
Producers and directors usually have a bachelor’s degree. Many students study film or cinema in programs at colleges and universities. In these programs, students learn about film history, editing, screenwriting, cinematography, and the filmmaking process.
Others producers and directors have degrees in writing, acting, journalism, or communications. 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 earn a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree. Classes may include directing, playwriting, set design, and acting.