What Does a Producer Do?

Learn About the Salary, Required Skills, & More

Image shows a man in a suit sitting in a director's chair with a light and a camera behind him. Text reads:

Image by Theresa Chiechi © The Balance 2019

Producers in the entertainment industry tend to the business and financial matters involved in making a movie, television show, or stage production. They oversee production and are responsible for the budget, timeline, and quality of the finished product.

Producer Duties & Responsibilities

A producer's duties generally include:

  • Hiring staff for the production, such as the director, crew, and, sometimes, the cast
  • Coordinating the activities of writers, directors, managers, actors, and other personnel throughout the production process
  • Raising money and setting the budget and size of a production
  • Establishing management policies
  • Approving major production changes
  • Monitoring post-production processes to ensure accurate completion of details
  • Performing management activities such as overseeing budgeting, scheduling, planning, and marketing
  • Conducting meetings with staff to discuss production progress and check-ins to ensure production objectives goals are met

Producers usually make all of the final business and financial decisions for a movie, TV, or stage production. They may hire and oversee the staff, which may include directors, editors, cinematographers, set and costume designers, and more. They make sure that the production is on schedule, and they're ultimately responsible for the final product.

Large productions may have several producers that are in charge of different aspects of a production. For example, executive producers may oversee the big-picture aspects of a production, while a line producer manages the day-to-day aspects of a production.

Producer Salary

A producer's salary can vary depending on location, experience, and type of production. Salaries for large Hollywood productions, for example, tend to be much higher than the range here.

  • Median Annual Salary: $71,620 
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $164,290
  • Bottom 10% Annual Salary: $33,730 

In some cases, producers earn a percentage of ticket sales from the finished production.

Education, Training, & Certification

There are no specific educational requirements to work as a producer, but many employers require a bachelor's degree along with experience.

  • Education: Many people who want to be producers will study film or theater in college. A degree in business management can also be very useful to a producer.
  • Experience: Some producers who work in the entertainment industry begin as actors, writers, or assistants on low-profile projects and work their way up as they gain experience.

Producer Skills & Competencies

To be successful in this role, you’ll generally need the following skills and qualities: 

  • Communication skills: Producers must effectively coordinate with all of the people in a production to keep it running smoothly.
  • Decision-making skills: Producers often have the final say on big decisions for a production, and they must decide on who to hire.
  • Time-management skills: Producers must create a realistic production schedule and ensure that the production is running on time.

Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment in this field will grow 12 percent through 2026, which faster than the overall employment growth of 7 percent for all occupations in the country.

Work Environment

Since this occupation is driven by deadlines and budgets it can be stressful for some people. Producers must be able to work well under pressure. They may also have to travel often, either to film on location for a movie or TV show or to tour with a theater production. However, a producing a successful finished product can reap many rewards.

Work Schedule

The length of production time can vary from one job to the next, from days to months to years. Work hours can also vary from job to job, as well. One out of three producers work more than 40 hours per week, according to the BLS, and many work on weekends and evenings.

Comparing Similar Jobs

People who are interested in becoming producers may also consider other careers with these median salaries: 

  • Film and video editor: $58,210
  • Art director: $92,500
  • Top executive: $104,700

How to Get the Job

You can start on the path of becoming a producer by taking assistant or other jobs in the industry and building your connections and experience. Job websites specific to entertainment production include:

ProductionHUB.com

This website offers job listings specifically in film and video production and other resources for people in the industry.

EntertainmentCareers.net

This is a paid, membership-based job search platform for people in the entertainment industry, and it includes jobs in TV and film production.

OffStageJobs.com

This website offers job listings for the theater and live entertainment industry.