The role of a film producer varies based size and type of the production. Producers may take responsibility for raising capital. Writers who negotiated input on the creative execution of their screenplay can also serve as film producers. Typically, you can gauge a Producer's salary based on his or her experience, credibility and skill level. While no union exists to regulate salaries for movie producers, there are compensation standards available.
The major motion picture industry is centralized in Los Angeles, California with sub-markets located around the country. The greatest numbers of opportunities to produce movies and earn a generous salary exist in Los Angeles. Medium-sized markets such as New York, NY and New Orleans, LA may have opportunities for significant earnings for producers, but these vary based on the number of films shot on location in these cities each year. Small markets are home to independent producers who may earn the same salaries as production assistants due to the limited size of independent film budgets. Alternatively, markets such as New Orleans, Louisiana and Wilmington, North Carolina are especially popular with independent Producers as both markets offer highly competitive tax credits.
Education indirectly impacts the earnings of movie producers. For example, producers trained in specialized skills such as digital media or special effects can lend more value during production than a producer with a liberal arts background. Knowledge of technical roles can lead to the producer supervising the addition of computer generated images (CGI) or conversion of a film to 3D in post production.
Producers are paid on a per-project basis, unless employed by a studio or established production company, During the production of a film, the producer is paid weekly or bi-weekly, usually through a production payroll company. Producers must line up projects back-to-back to earn a consistent annual salary.
Established Hollywood producers can earn approximately $500,000 to $1 million each year. Just as with acting and directing, however, producing is highly sought-after position. Producers who earn millions annually have a strong track record of success and have established key relationships within the industry that grant them access to choice projects. A successful independent producer can also earn a substantial salary if his or her film projects realize a significant return on investment.
- Producers Guild of America: Frequently Asked Questions
- "Film Art: An Introduction"; David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson; 2001
Lanae Carr has been an entertainment and lifestyle writer since 2002. She began as a staff writer for the entertainment section of the "Emory Wheel" and she writes for various magazines and e-newsletters related to marketing and entertainment. Carr graduated from Emory University with a bachelor's degree in film studies and English.