Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What Degree Is Needed to Be a Filmmaker?

Producers and directors usually start off as assistants.

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Filmmakers generally are producers or directors who serve as the creative and organizing force behind film productions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 83,500 producers and directors were employed in a variety of industries nationwide in 2008. Those working in the film and video industries comprised just over 28,000 of those 83,500. The education required to work in this field generally varies and typically is less important than the experience the aspiring producer or director brings to the table.

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No specific type of degree is required to work as a filmmaker. Many producers and directors start out their careers in the acting field, and they may have formal training through a bachelor's degree program in the fine arts. In some cases, they go on to pursue a master's degree in the same field. Producers and directors need to know their way around a film set, and these types of degree programs introduce them to a wide variety of types of training in the film and theater production fields.


Experience more than education is key to getting your foot in the door in the filmmaking industry. The BLS points out the fact that film producers generally have no specific requirements for training. Instead, they may first work as actors or in a variety of other capacities such as film editor or even writer. Many times a producer gains experience in a other occupations within the film industry before working his way up the ladder. Producers and directors often work as assistants to senior directors and producers before assuming control over productions themselves. The BLS notes that some producers obtain degrees in a field such as arts management, although this is not necessarily the norm.


Because there are no specific formal education requirements to work as either a producer or director, those entering the field should ensure that they can meet the other necessary qualifications that filmmakers generally are expected to have. The BLS indicates that both producers and directors should have a knack for doing their job. Talent is generally recognized as one of the keys to getting ahead in this industry. Other qualifications include some level of business acumen, creativity and professionalism. Formal training is always helpful but does not necessarily guarantee work, nor does it guarantee that the candidate will beat out another aspiring producer or director with less formal education. Instead, personal initiative and ingenuity can be integral to landing jobs.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for producers and directors appears positive. The BLS indicates that job growth in this field will occur at a rate of 11 percent from 2008 to 2018. This average rate of job growth indicates slow and steady expansion of the job market for those in the film production field. Competition for jobs tends to be fierce, however, and work can be intermittent as producers and directors move from one project to the next.

ReferencesBureau of Labor Statistics: Actors, Producers, and DirectorsBureau of Labor Statistics: 27-2012 Producers and DirectorsBureau of Labor Statistics: Motion Picture and Video IndustriesPhoto Credit Comstock/Comstock/Getty ImagesRead Next:

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