Careers in Production

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Looking for an entry level job or internship in production? This is an overview of how to approach the search and a list of companies that might have relevant entry level and internship opportunities.

Lately I’ve been frustrated by the radio on my commute to work. I hear the same songs over and over again– and I’m not even good at singing along with any of them. That’s why I was fascinated by an article from The New Yorker titled “The Song Machine The Hitmakers behind Rihanna”. As it turns out, a relatively small number of producers and top-liners create a disproportionately large share of contemporary hits (Top Forty radio) which helps explain why so many of them sound similar. Apparently in 2009, both Beyoncé and Kelly Clarkson had hits (Beyoncé’s “Halo” and Clarkson’s “Already Gone”) that were created from the same track, by Ryan Tedder. To make these songs, the producer runs the session and serves as creative director of the song, while the top-liner works on the lyrics and hooks. Basically a Producer works to create a successful project, guiding the creative vision from start to finish.

Producer Career Guide Overview

  1. What a Producer Does
  2. A Typical Day for a Producer
  3. Salary and Career Progression for a Producer
  4. Best Locations for Production
  5. Pros and Cons of Being a Producer
  6. What You Need to Know for a Career in Production
  7. Production Resources
  8. Careers Related to Production
  9. Companies with Jobs and Internships in Production

What a Producer Does

A Producer handles business and financial matters involved in making a motion picture, television show, stage production or music and as such is often actively involved throughout all major phases of the process, from inception and development to completion and delivery of a project. A Film Producer oversees and creates a film project, working to preserve the integrity, voice, and vision of the film. Often times they will take on some financial risk by using their own money, especially during the pre-production period, before a film is fully financed. Many Film Producers are also talent (directors, screenwriters, actors) but that is not always the case. Other types of Producers include Record Producers (creates music) and Television Producers (that oversee the making of television programs).

A Typical Day for a Producer

While a typical day for a Producer might vary, it will probably include some of these tasks:

  • Coordinating the activities of writers, directors and managers
  • Budgeting, scheduling, planning, and marketing
  • Determining production schedules
  • Optioning a script and hiring a screenwriter to write the script
  • Finding the right director
  • Juggling script changes with the writer
  • Working out the breakdown of the script so that the script is shot in the most cost-effective order possible
  • Making phone calls and going to meetings trying to get investors involved in the project
  • Acting as a buffer between the studio and the director, keeping the studio updated on how the production is going, so that the director can do his job
  • Talking on the phone coordinating with the press regarding the project
  • Watching the dailies with the director to offer an objective point of view
  • Monitoring post-production processes to ensure accurate completion of details
  • Marketing the finished project including going to meetings and making calls
  • Negotiating contracts on tie-in memorabilia

Salary and Career Progression in Production

The average yearly salary for a Film/TV Producer ranges between $29,921 – $102,184. In 2009, TV Producer Producers earned a median annual salary of $66,720. The average yearly salary for a Music Producer ranges between $17,764 – $106,681. From there you could go on to become an Audio Engineer ($20,628 – $84,306 on average per year), a Producer/Director TV/Cable Broadcast ($25,107 – $98,364 on average per year), a Film/Video Editor ($23,387 – $97,330 on average per year), or an Executive Producer Television Productions ($39,288 – $193,470 on average per year).

Best Locations for Producers

These hot spots have the highest salaries for production:

  • New York, New York
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Hollywood, California
  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Houston, Texas
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Miami, Florida
  • Phoenix, Arizona

Pros and Cons of Being a Producer

Pros
  • Get to exercise a creative vision
  • Fun to guide a project from start to finish
  • Work with a lot of different people
Cons
  • Lots of trying to keep different people happy
  • Can be stressful trying to maintain a budget without compromising the integrity of the project
  • Generally a hard field to break into

What You Need to Know for a Career in Production

While there are no specific educational requirements to work as a Producer, many employers require a bachelor’s degree, specifically in business or music production, depending upon what type of production you’d like to go into. If you’re trying to break into the entertainment industry, you might begin as an actor or writer. If you’re hoping to work in the video game or software development industries you might begin as a tester or programmer. Beyond that, you should start trying to get some experience. If you’re interested in being a Music Producer learn about analog and digital and set up your own studio. Offer to record your friends’ bands and create and hand-out a mix CD with a number of different kinds of recordings to expose people to your range. Then make a website for your services and go to social networking sites online to get the word out. Similar ideas can be used if you’d like to be a TV/Film Producer. Make sure you set up a Youtube or Vimeo account. Buy a Flip camera, at the least, and start creating and sharing.

Production Resources

If production still sounds like your cup of tea, here are a few things you should do to get started.

Required Reading

Key Folks to Follow on Twitter

Blogs and Websites

Networking Opportunities

Job Search Resources

Careers Related to Production

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Companies with Entry Level Jobs and Internships in Production

The Wirecutter Logo

The Wirecutter - The Wirecutter is a site that offers “a list of the best electronics and gadgetry" that will help you make the absolute best purchasing decision.

See the complete The Wirecutter profile


ArtStream Logo

ArtStream - ArtStream is a DC based non-profit “whose mission is to create artistic opportunities for individuals in communities traditionally under-served by the arts.”

See the complete ArtStream profile


GuideSpark Logo

GuideSpark - GuideSpark is a Menlo Park, CA based company that offers a “robust employee communications platform” to make HR's job easier.

See the complete GuideSpark profile


WONGDOODY Logo

WONGDOODY - WONGDOODY is based in Seattle, WA and “is the most awarded independent advertising agency on the West Coast.”

See the complete WONGDOODY profile


Healthline Logo

Healthline - Healthline is a San Francisco, CA based company that has built “the largest, most clinically accurate classification of health information available on the web.”

See the complete Healthline profile


TVI Logo

TVI - TVI is a New York, NY based “award winning digital agency that designs leading brand experiences."

See the complete TVI profile


REVOLVE Logo

REVOLVE - REVOLVE is based in Cerritos, CA and is the “virtual home for an unrivaled collection of the world’s most coveted brands.”

See the complete REVOLVE profile


General Assembly Logo

General Assembly - General Assembly is based in NYC and is “offering full-time immersive programs, long-form courses, and classes and workshops on the most relevant skills of the 21st century.”

See the complete General Assembly profile


GoPro Logo

GoPro - GoPro is a San Mateo, CA based company that has built a huge business by offering “the world’s most versatile camera.”

See the complete GoPro profile


Laika Logo

Laika - Laika is a Hillsboro and Portland, OR based “animation company specializing in feature films, commercials and short films.”

See the complete Laika profile


Animoto Logo

Animoto - Animoto is a New York, NY based company that helps regular people make and share extraordinary videos of anything imaginable.

See the complete Animoto profile


Industrial Color Logo

Industrial Color - Industrial Color is an LA and NYC based company that offers “digital still and video capture, post-production, color and video editing services,"

See the complete Industrial Color profile


Minted Logo

Minted - Minted is a San Francisco, CA based company that aims “to find exceptional artists and designers all over the world and bring their work to consumers."

See the complete Minted profile


Society for Science & the Public Logo

Society for Science & the Public - The Society for Science & the Public is a Washington, DC based non-profit that is “dedicated to public engagement in scientific research and education.”

See the complete Society for Science & the Public profile


Column Five Logo

Column Five - Column Five is a Newport Beach, CA based infographic design, social PR, and content strategy agency that landed at #291 on the Inc. 5000

See the complete Column Five profile


Smarter Travel Media Logo

Smarter Travel Media - Smarter Travel Media is a Boston, MA based company that has developed “a unique group of online travel planning brands.”

See the complete Smarter Travel Media profile


Arnold Worldwide Logo

Arnold Worldwide - Arnold Worldwide is the Boston, MA based ad agency behind Progressive’s Flo campaign. They've also done work for Jack Daniels, New Balance, and Volvo.

See the complete Arnold Worldwide profile


Bedrocket Media Ventures Logo

Bedrocket Media Ventures - Bedrocket Media Ventures is a New York, NY based company "leading a revolution in creating networks and programming that people love, delivered through the cloud.”

See the complete Bedrocket Media Ventures profile


View The Space Logo

View The Space - View The Space is a New York, NY based startup that is built around streamlining the commercial real estate leasing process.

See the complete View The Space profile


MOpro Logo

MOpro - MOpro is a Los Angeles, CA based company that expands “the digital possibilities for small businesses" through video, social media, web design, and more.

See the complete MOpro profile


Defenders of Wildlife Logo

Defenders of Wildlife - Defenders of Wildlife is a Washington, DC based non-profit that aims to “protect and restore imperiled species throughout North America."

See the complete Defenders of Wildlife profile


Capstrat Logo

Capstrat - Capstrat is a Raleigh, NC based ad agency that increased headcount 23% over the past year and is doing work for UNC, Cotton Inc., and the EPA.

See the complete Capstrat profile


Paperless Post Logo

Paperless Post - Paperless Post is an NYC based company that “modernizes the tradition of correspondence and helps you create cards and invitations that reflect an individual aesthetic.”

See the complete Paperless Post profile


Trailer Park Logo

Trailer Park - Trailer Park is a Hollywood, CA based full-service entertainment marketing agency that serves “a broad spectrum of clients."

See the complete Trailer Park profile


buuteeq Logo

buuteeq - buuteeq is a Seattle, WA based company that offers an “easy-to-use web application that improves hotels' online marketing on the web, mobile, and Facebook."

See the complete buuteeq profile


J. Crew Logo

J. Crew - J. Crew is a New York, NY based apparel retailer that started with a catalog in 1983 and is known for its preppiness, but that may be changing.

See the complete J. Crew profile


Leo Burnett Logo

Leo Burnett - Leo Burnett is a Chicago, IL based advertising agency that was founded in 1935 and has one of the most impressive client lists of any agency out there.

See the complete Leo Burnett profile


A+E Networks Logo

A+E Networks - A+E Networks is a New York, NY based “global media company with joint ventures and channels all over the world.”

See the complete A+E Networks profile


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Beats by Dr. Dre - Beats by Dr. Dre is a Santa Monica, CA based company that “provides a premium sound experience at every touch point of the consumer’s life.”

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Sympoz Logo

Sympoz - Sympoz is a Denver, CO based company that aims to create “an environment where you can watch, interact, and learn from renowned experts on your own schedule.”

See the complete Sympoz profile


ShoeDazzle Logo

ShoeDazzle - ShoeDazzle is a Santa Monica, CA based company that was built to feed women's shoe addictions without draining their pocketbooks.

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Magnet Media Logo

Magnet Media - Magnet Media is a New York, NY based company that “specialize in telling the brand’s story by producing and syndicating compelling video and interactive content."

See the complete Magnet Media profile


Sports Endeavors Logo

Sports Endeavors - Sports Endeavor is a Hillsborough, NC based company that sells sporting goods through Soccer.com and Lacrosse.com.

See the complete Sports Endeavors profile


Arkadium Logo

Arkadium - Arkadium is a New York, NY based company that develops “casual, mobile, social, and Windows 8 games.”

See the complete Arkadium profile


DramaFever Logo

DramaFever - DramaFever is a New York, NY based company that gives “you a better way to find and watch the best TV and movies from around the world.”

See the complete DramaFever profile


Story Pirates Logo

Story Pirates - Story Pirates is a non-profit that pairs “experienced teachers with talented artists to collaborate with schools and community organizations."

See the complete Story Pirates profile


Rubin Museum of Art Logo

Rubin Museum of Art - The Rubin Museum of Art in New York, NY "promotes understanding, and inspires personal connections to the ideas, cultures, and art of Himalayan Asia.”

See the complete Rubin Museum of Art profile


Jellyvision Logo

Jellyvision - Jellyvision is a Chicago, IL based company that excels at communicating about complex subjects through interactive software.

See the complete Jellyvision profile


Dailymotion Logo

Dailymotion - Dailymotion is a Paris and NYC based video sharing site that reaches “over 110 million unique monthly visitors” with high quality content.

See the complete Dailymotion profile


Clear Channel Communications Logo

Clear Channel Communications - Clear Channel Communications is a media behemoth. They own more than 850 radio stations and nearly 1 million outdoor advertising displays.

See the complete Clear Channel Communications profile


Tory Burch Logo

Tory Burch - Tory Burch, which is based in New York, NY, calls itself “a luxury lifestyle brand defined by classic American sportswear."

See the complete Tory Burch profile


HSN Logo

HSN - HSN is a St. Petersburg, FL based company that built an amazing business by selling stuff to people who are sitting on their couch.

See the complete HSN profile


Showtime Logo

Showtime - Showtime is a New York, NY based media company that offers premium cable/satellite programming, and they're hiring.

See the complete Showtime profile


Captain Lucas Inc. Logo

Captain Lucas Inc. - If you're constantly in search of what's cool, then you need to check out the jobs at Captain Lucas Inc.'s Cool Hunting and Largetail.

See the complete Captain Lucas Inc. profile


HowAboutWe Logo

HowAboutWe - HowAboutWe is a NYC based dating site that is more about getting people out on dates than finding them a perfect match, and they're hiring.

See the complete HowAboutWe profile


Forbes Logo

Forbes - Forbes has some great opportunities for new grads, so check them out and get started on making that billionaires list.

See the complete Forbes profile


Treehouse Logo

Treehouse - Treehouse makes online education in Web and iOS Design and Development affordable and attainable for the masses, and they're hiring.

See the complete Treehouse profile


American Institute of Physics Logo

American Institute of Physics - The American Institute of Physics is a non-profit that promotes “the advancement and diffusion of the knowledge of physics," and they're hiring.

See the complete American Institute of Physics profile


Dwell Logo

Dwell - Dwell is a magazine about being "at home in the modern world," and they have some great job opportunities available.

See the complete Dwell profile


Vox Media Logo

Vox Media - Vox Media is an online media company that is rapidly growing into new verticals (currently in sports, tech, and games), and they're hiring.

See the complete Vox Media profile



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