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TV or film producer

TV and film producers look after the business side of productions.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: Variable average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: Variable per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set requirements, but you’ll usually need:

  • experience in both the creative and business sides of film or programme making
  • an in-depth understanding of the production process
  • a network of contacts in the industry
In TV, you could start as a runner or production assistant and work your way up, or progress through production office roles.

In film, you’ll usually start as a runner, then work your way up to production coordinator, line producer and production manager. You could also progress through the roles of 3rd, 2nd and 1st assistant director.

Creative Skillset has information on careers and courses in TV and film production.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • creativity and vision
  • presentation and negotiation skills
  • leadership and management ability
  • planning and organisational skills
  • financial skills and the ability to work to a budget

3. What you'll do

You'll manage the production process from start to finish, organising people and resources. 

Your day-to-day duties might include:

  • deciding which projects to produce, or creating programme ideas yourself
  • reading scripts
  • securing the rights for books or screenplays, or negotiating with writers to produce new screenplays
  • identifying sources of funding and raising finances
  • working out what resources are needed
  • checking and approving locations
  • pitching to television broadcasters to commission your programme
  • planning filming schedules
  • hiring staff, cast and crew
  • managing cash flow
  • making sure the production stays on schedule and within budget
  • working with marketing companies and distributors 

4. Salary

You’ll usually be paid a fee for each project. Rates can vary widely. The Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU) has information on current pay guidelines.
 
Depending on your contract, you may also receive a percentage of the profits from a feature film.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

Hours can be long and irregular.

Freelance contract work is very common.

The work is mainly office-based, but you’ll visit studios or locations for meetings. Location work could be anywhere in the UK or overseas, so you’ll travel and be away from home for long periods.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could become an executive producer, or set up your own production company.

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Last updated: 08 December 2016