Bureau of Labor Statistics

Producers and Directors

producers and directors image
Producers and directors create motion pictures, television shows, live theater, and other performing arts productions.
Quick Facts: Producers and Directors
2020 Median Pay $76,400 per year
$36.73 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Bachelor's degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation Less than 5 years
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2020 131,000
Job Outlook, 2020-30 24% (Much faster than average)
Employment Change, 2020-30 31,600

Summary

What Producers and Directors Do

Producers and directors create motion pictures, television shows, live theater, commercials, and other performing arts productions.

Work Environment

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.

How to Become a Producer or Director

Most producers and directors have a bachelor’s degree and several years of experience in motion picture, TV, or theater production, working as an actor, a film and video editor, or a cinematographer, or in another, related occupation.

Pay

The median annual wage for producers and directors was $76,400 in May 2020.

Job Outlook

Employment of producers and directors is projected to grow 24 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.

About 15,600 openings for producers and directors are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for producers and directors.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of producers and directors with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about producers and directors by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Producers and Directors Do

Producers and directors
Stage directors make sure the cast and crew give a consistently strong live performance.

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.

Duties

Producers and directors typically do the following:

  • 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 postproduction 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

Producers make the business and financial decisions for a motion picture, TV show, commercial, or stage production. They raise money for the project and hire the director and crew. The crew may include set and costume designers, film and video editors, a musical director, a choreographer, and other workers. Some producers may assist in the selection of cast members. Producers set the budget and approve any major changes to the project. They make sure that the production is completed on time, and they are ultimately responsible for the final product.

Directors are responsible for the creative decisions of a production. They select cast members, conduct rehearsals, and direct the work of the cast and crew. During rehearsals, they work with the actors to help them portray their characters more accurately. For nonfiction video, such as documentaries or live broadcasts, directors choose topics or subjects to film. They investigate the topic and may interview relevant participants or experts on camera. Directors also work with cinematographers and other crew members to ensure that the final product matches the overall vision.

Directors work with set designers, costume designers, location scouts, and art directors to build a project’s set. During a film’s postproduction phase, they work closely with film editors and music supervisors to make sure that the final product comes out the way the producer and director envisioned. Stage directors, unlike television or film directors, who document their product with cameras, make sure that the cast and crew give a consistently strong live performance. For more information, see the profiles on actors, writers and authors, film and video editors and camera operators, dancers and choreographers, and multimedia artists and animators.

Large productions often have various producers who share responsibilities. For example, on a large movie set, an executive producer is in charge of the entire production and a line producer runs the day-to-day operations. A TV show may employ several assistant producers to whom the head or executive producer gives certain duties, such as supervising the costume and makeup teams.

Similarly, large productions usually employ several assistant directors, who help the director with smaller production tasks such as making set changes or notifying the performers when it is their time to go onstage. The specific responsibilities of assistant producers or directors vary with the size and type of production they work on.

Although directors are in charge of the creative aspects of a show, they ultimately answer to producers. Some directors also share producing duties for their own films.

Work Environment

Producers and directors
Producers and directors audition and select cast members.

Producers and directors held about 131,000 jobs in 2020. The largest employers of producers and directors were as follows:

Motion picture and video industries 25%
Radio and television broadcasting 24
Self-employed workers 13
Performing arts, spectator sports, and related industries 7
Advertising, public relations, and related services 6

Producers and directors work under a lot of pressure, and many are under constant stress to finish their work on time. Work assignments may be short, ranging from 1 day to a few months. They sometimes must work in unpleasant conditions, such as bad weather.

Theater directors and producers may travel with a touring show across the country, while those in film and television may work on location (a site away from the studio and where all or part of the filming occurs).

Work Schedules

Work hours for producers and directors can be long and irregular. Evening, weekend, and holiday work is common. Some work more than 40 hours per week. Many producers and directors do not work a standard workweek, because their schedules may change with each assignment or project.

How to Become a Producer or Director

Producers and directors
Producers and directors ensure that a project stays on schedule and within budget.

Most producers and directors have a bachelor’s degree and several years of work experience in an occupation related to motion picture, TV, or theater production, such as experience as an actor, a film and video editor, or a cinematographer.

Education

Producers and directors typically need a bachelor's degree in film or cinema studies or a related field, such as communications technology, theater, or arts or nonprofit management. In film or cinema studies programs, students learn about film history, editing, screenwriting, cinematography, and the filmmaking process.

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.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Producers and directors might start out working in theatrical management offices as business or company managers. In television or film, they might start out as assistants or in other low-profile studio jobs. For more information, see the profiles on film and video editors and camera operators.

Advancement

As a producer’s or director’s reputation grows, he or she may work on larger, more expensive projects that attract more attention or publicity.

Important Qualities

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.

Pay

Producers and Directors

Median annual wages, May 2020

Producers and directors

$76,400

Entertainers and performers, sports and related workers

$47,080

Total, all occupations

$41,950

 

The median annual wage for producers and directors was $76,400 in May 2020. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $36,070, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $184,660.

In May 2020, the median annual wages for producers and directors in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Advertising, public relations, and related services $95,260
Motion picture and video industries 91,300
Radio and television broadcasting 65,720
Performing arts, spectator sports, and related industries 62,860

Some producers and directors earn a percentage of ticket sales. A few of the most successful producers and directors have extraordinarily high earnings, but most do not.

Work hours for producers and directors can be long and irregular. Evening, weekend, and holiday work is common. Some work more than 40 hours per week. Many producers and directors do not work a standard workweek, because their schedules may change with each assignment or project.

Job Outlook

Producers and Directors

Percent change in employment, projected 2020-30

Producers and directors

24%

Entertainers and performers, sports and related workers

22%

Total, all occupations

8%

 

Employment of producers and directors is projected to grow 24 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.

About 15,600 openings for producers and directors are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment

Much of the projected employment growth in this occupation is due to recovery from the COVID-19 recession that began in 2020 and is likely to occur early in the decade as operations resume.

Consumer demand for reality shows on television is likely to increase, so more producers and directors will be needed to create and oversee editing of these programs. In addition, the volume of TV shows is expected to grow as the number of online-only platforms, such as streaming services, increases along with the number of shows produced for these platforms. This growth should lead to more opportunities for producers and directors.

Theater producers and directors who work in small- and medium-sized theaters may see slower job growth due to limited funding. Large theaters in big cities, such as New York and Los Angeles, which usually have more stable sources of funding, should provide more opportunities.

Employment projections data for producers and directors, 2020-30

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Occupational Title

Producers and directors

SOC Code27-2012
Employment, 2020131,000
Projected Employment, 2030162,500
Percent Change, 2020-3024
Numeric Change, 2020-3031,600
Employment by IndustryGet data

State & Area Data

Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS)

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OES data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of producers and directors.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION 2020 MEDIAN PAY
Actors Actors

Actors express ideas and portray characters in theater, film, television, and other performing arts media.

Some college, no degree The annual wage is not available.
Art directors Art Directors

Art directors are responsible for the visual style and images in magazines, newspapers, product packaging, and movie and television productions.

Bachelor's degree $97,270
Dancers and choreographers Dancers and Choreographers

Dancers and choreographers use dance performances to express ideas and stories.

See How to Become One The annual wage is not available.
Film and video editors and camera operators Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators

Film and video editors and camera operators manipulate moving images that entertain or inform an audience.

Bachelor's degree $61,900
Multimedia artists and animators Special Effects Artists and Animators

Special effects artists and animators create images that appear to move and visual effects for various forms of media and entertainment.

Bachelor's degree $77,700
Top executives Top Executives

Top executives plan strategies and policies to ensure that an organization meets its goals.

Bachelor's degree $107,680
Writers and authors Writers and Authors

Writers and authors develop written content for various types of media.

Bachelor's degree $67,120

Contacts for More Info

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Producers and Directors,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/entertainment-and-sports/producers-and-directors.htm (visited October 01, 2021).

Telephone: 1-202-691-5700 www.bls.gov/ooh Contact OOH

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