Are you fascinated by film? Do you find the television industry totally tantalising? Do you want to be the next Jerry Bruckheimer, J. J. Abrams or Sarah Mulvey? Well then, you’re in the right place!
To put it simply: producers are the project managers of the film and television industries. Working on film or television productions throughout the entire project lifecycle, these dynamic individuals use their team leading and organisational skills to make sure projects are completed on time and in budget.
Producers may occasionally provide creative input into the content and style of television shows or feature films, but, predominantly, they are responsible for the commercial and practical aspects of a film or television production.
If you become a television or film producer, you will be responsible for securing funding from a range of sponsors, managing budgets, assigning resources, creating production plans, and hiring screenwriters, directors, casting directors, cinematographers and other vital members of staff.
During filming, you will be in charge of supervising team members, liaising with the director on a regular basis, delegating responsibilities to assistant producers, making sure targets are reached, and handling any problems in a quick, efficient and cost-effective manner.
Salary & benefits
Entry-level television/film producers tend to earn between £17,000 and £24,000 per annum. Senior producers, however, can earn up to £80,000 per annum.
Freelance television/film producers can earn considerably more—sometimes up to £2,000 a week.
Your potential earnings, however, are really dictated by your reputation and level of experience. If you are a major producer on Hollywood blockbusters, for instance, you could end up earning millions!
If you become a television/film producer, you won’t be clocking off at 5pm every day. You should expect to work long, irregular and unsociable hours on a regular basis. The nature of television and film production means that your expertise may be required at any time of the day. You may even be required to work weekends from time to time.
You will also usually find yourself working in a variety of different places, i.e. in studios, offices and on-set in remote locations.
Although a degree is not strictly necessary for entry into this line of work, completing an undergraduate or postgraduate degree in a relevant subject, such as media studies, creative media production, film studies, photography or broadcast journalism may boost your chances of securing an entry-level position.
Gaining relevant work experience is essential. Many people get their break as a producer after working in another role in the industry, such as runner, broadcast assistant or production assistant.
It’s also a good idea to get involved with your student TV channel, radio station or film society at university. If your institution doesn’t already have one, you could launch a campaign to start one up.
Training & progression
The majority of your training will be done ‘on-the-job’, but you may also wish to attend training courses offered by external organisations, such as the BBC Academy, to hone your skills and keep up to date with all the latest industry developments.
There is no defined career path for television/film producers. Consequently, most people explore freelance opportunities. However, if you work for a large media organisation, such as the BBC, there may be scope for making the move into a senior producer role.
Alternatively, you could move into another area of the industry, such as presenting or directing.