Producers oversee the production of a television program and have many different levels of responsibilities on the set, depending on his or her skills and job level. For example, an executive producer may oversee story-lines, audition actors, and determine the budget. Line producers may oversee production aspects by keeping workers on schedule and finding locations to shoot scenes. The director also makes creative decisions, while the producer makes the business and financial decisions. This begins with the selection of a script or hiring a scriptwriter to interpret a book or literary work. Other duties include the management of financial aspects and make sure production remains on budget and on time.
While there are no specific education requirements to become a TV producer, earning a bachelor’s degree is advisable. Students who want to become producers have the option to enroll in a related bachelor’s degree program, such as a Bachelor of Applied Science in Film, Television and Digital Production program. This curriculum will cover all areas of film and TV production. Students take courses in camera operation, cinematography, screenwriting, lighting, sound, and editing. In addition, to a bachelor’s degree, there are other options, which we present in this article.
This can be a starting point, which you can use to advance into an undergraduate program if desired. An Associate’s degree in film and video provide training in both the production process and the technical aspects of filmmaking. Students learn the process of creating multiple types of films, such as educational videos, short films, commercials, and documentaries. You also gain hands-on training with filming equipment, such as cameras and lighting.
There are Fine Arts programs at this level in filmmaking. A degree of this type covers all aspects of film including directing, lighting, writing, editing, and production. During the production phase of the curriculum, you direct your own film and crews on your classmates’ films. The purpose of the two-year program is to learn by doing as you master the art and craft of directing, cinematography, editing, writing, and producing. A residency program should provide access to a screening room, film and recording studios, sound design suites, visual effects labs, and more.
One consideration is a Bachelor of Arts in Digital Film with an emphasis in Production. In this program, you explore the technical and aesthetic aspects of small digital productions as well as the basic principles for major motion pictures. You evaluate the integral components of production, including financing, budgeting, and distribution. Coursework in this type of film production program may offer a practicum, where you can demonstrate your mastery of filmmaking and production in an applied project.
There are colleges/universities that offer a concentration in Production through their Department of Cinema. The production major focuses strictly on motion pictures, as opposed to television. As with similar programs, the coursework covers all phases from screenwriting to directing to production. For example, in a cinematography course, you will learn about camera work, lighting, and grip equipment. In addition, producing two short digital documentaries could be a requirement of the curriculum.
A bachelor’s degree devoted to television production will guide you through all phases of TV production. This includes planning, budgeting, techniques, production design, and more. A foundation of planning, scripting, directing, and producing television and video programs builds these skills.
An important consideration for a degree in this field at the bachelor’s level is the school’s production facilities. We touched on this above. Does the program have a studio to simulate film/TV filming and production? As a student of the television and digital media production degree, is there the opportunity to attend an internship? A 6-month internship off campus affords experience in a real-world setting working full-time with industry professionals.
You also have the choice of a program that combines film and TV production in a Fine Arts program, for example. This degree provides the advanced production and post-production skills and the knowledge to prepare for a career in the filmmaking industry. Again, does the program have access to the industry standard equipment needed to bring the medium to life? You may want to focus on schools that offer a wide array of camera equipment. Does it include grip and electric tools for the perfect lighting, audio equipment for high-quality sound, and the post-production software to bring the production altogether? A hands-on approach to your major can be invaluable for a career in production or related field.
The first career step for producers is to obtain related employment, such as working as a production assistant. The duties for production assistants also vary widely and may not always involve direct work on a production. The duties may be more akin to a gopher than a production assistant. However, experience is the key. This is paramount to building a resume to apply for jobs with more responsibility and authority. Look for opportunities to produce in smaller markets, or lower budget productions to build your portfolio.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the median salary for producers and directors at $71,620 as of May 2017. They expect the job growth to be 12% over ten-years or through 2026. This calculates to a job change of 16,500 positions in this occupation group.
Prominent employment sites list hundreds of open jobs in this market. Monster, for example, list 589 TV production jobs as of June 2018. Linked In lists 1,524 jobs in the same profession. Another employment site Indeed lists over four thousand jobs in film production and related fields. Reviewing employment opportunities is an effective way to determine the preferred degree and see what entry-level jobs are available.