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Summer 2013
Vol. 57, Number 2
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From script to screen: Careers in film production

Films are more than entertainment. They inspire, inform, and may even become part of our culture. And for many people, films also offer jobs and a career path.

The glamour of Hollywood and the creativity of filmmaking attract droves of people looking to work on the next big blockbuster—and for good reason. According to the Motion Picture Association of America, box office revenues in the United States and Canada reached $10.8 billion in 2012, a 6-percent increase from 2011. And thanks to advances in technology, it's never been easier, faster, or more affordable for people to make their own films.

But working in this industry is not always as glamorous as it seems. For example, finding steady work is difficult and wages are generally low. A passion for film helps workers overcome these and other challenges. "The work is hard," says supervising sound editor Kevin Hill, "so if you love it, you'll be more likely to stick through the tough times."

This article describes many of the occupations in film production. The first three sections describe the typical work duties of and training required for key occupations in each phase. Other sections offer pros and cons of working in the film industry, jobseeking tips for starting a film career, and resources for additional information.

A graphic on page 18 follows the lifecycle of a film. It shows the work performed during each phase of the filmmaking process: preproduction, production, and postproduction.

Although the article focuses mainly on feature film production, the information generally applies to other types of video productions, such as TV shows, music videos, and other kinds of film.

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U.S. Department of Labor
Bureau of Labor Statistics

Last Updated: November 6, 2013