The Film Industry: What Occupations Are Available?

By Taylor Whittemore

Though the film industry may seem rather difficult to get in to, it is teeming with various job opportunities. Actors and directors are among the most common jobs when working with movies, but there are many other occupations that are critical to the industry.

Directors are among the most notable occupations in the film industry, for the impact they leave upon the film is undeniable. They dictate the creative decisions of the film, and nearly all major decisions must go through the director before they are acted upon. Their vision is the one the audience will see, so they are given the power to instruct the actors and those behind the scenes, such as camera operators and editors, to achieve this creative image they have within their mind. Most of the people who become directors enter the film industry in a lower position so they can prove their capability with film, and then they slowly advance.

The producer is another occupation that is frequently talked about, though the number of people who are aware of and fully understand what a producer does is rather low. Producer is a rather vague term in the film industry, for it encompasses a variety of different people who dedicate their efforts to different aspects of the production. However, while the director creates the film, the producer manages it. Three of the more common producers are the creative producers, the financial producers, and the line producers. The creative producers are in charge of selecting the works that they believe will draw in a large audience. They oftentimes are also involved with the casting. Financial producers devote themselves to finding the funding for the film, whether it be in investors or through other means, and managing the film’s budget. Line producers observe everyday shooting to ensure it progresses as it is supposed to. Similar to directors, several producers work their way up in the industry.

The salary for the average director and producer were added together, and during 2010, this salary totaled to an annual $109,860. If the director or producer worked in the Los Angeles area, this was increased to $139,640. However, it should be noted that a director or producer may earn more or less depending on the works they produce and the popularity of the movies.

Screenwriters, or those who create the script for a film, are also another occupation within the film industry that is rather important to overall production. A screenwriter can write up an entire script and submit it to be reviewed by a film company or they can produce a script on spec, which means they write up a summary of the idea instead of the entire thing. For major motion pictures, it is not uncommon to see several screenwriters who contributed to the script. This can be a difficult field to get into, and the average screenwriter earns a salary of about $78,860.

The flow of the movie depends solely upon the editors, for they are tasked with the job of choosing which camera angles best fit the director’s creative vision. They can spend countless hours shaving milliseconds off of cuts to improve the continuity of the scene or correctly matching the audio to the visual component that accompanies it. Specialized editors may be hired for larger films. The annual salary of an editor is about $74,200.

Actors and actresses probably have the most recognizable job in the industry, for they are the faces the viewer recognizes when they go to see a film. They recreate themselves to embody the character they have been instructed to play, and this can include developing new physical or mental characteristics. On average, an actor receives an hourly wage of $10.69, but this can also be dependent on the role. For example, if an actor who is part of the Screen Actors Guild is given a speaking role within the film, the daily minimum wage is $782.00.

If there has ever been computer animated graphics that have stunned you by how realistic they look, the multimedia artists and animators are who you have to thank for this. Traditional artists and animators are generally hired before filming to sketch out a vision for the film and the effects that will eventually need to be added, and then the remaining artists create the animation and computer generated images we see in films today. The average salary for one of these artists or animators is $72,380.

The cinematographer decides upon which angles the film is shot from, and because of this, they must possess an understanding of the director’s creative vision so they can shoot accordingly. Furthermore, they must be able to successfully operate the technology they are using. The cinematographer oftentimes chooses the camera, camera lenses, microphone booms, and other equipment that is used within the film. Camera operators then fulfill the vision of the cinematographer, and these operators have a salary of $52,380.

The art director, like the executive director, also has a vision, but it pertains more to the sets and locations than the overall creative vision of the film. They must be able to delegate tasks to those working beneath them while maintaining creative control over their portion of the film, and they are in rather high demand. Because of this, the average salary for an art director is about $125,010. The construction manager brings the art director’s vision to life by constructing the sets the art director designed while staying within the budget, and their average salary is $91,620.

Strangely enough, one of the highest paying jobs in Hollywood is that of a talent agent. The talent agent manages the deals their clients get offered, along with the various details of their life, such as plane tickets and hotel rooms. They have an average annual salary of about $178,340.

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