15 Filmmaking Jobs To Pursue (With Duties and Salary)
Updated February 3, 2023
Filmmaking positions are some of the most competitive in the job market for individuals looking for work in the entertainment industry. These careers can require training and dedication to achieve, with candidates often gaining experience in a variety of roles within the industry as they advance. If you're interested in working in the film industry, there are many approaches you can pursue to start your career in the development, production or post-production of films.
In this article, we define what filmmaking jobs typically involve and provide a list of 15 roles you can pursue if you're considering a career as a filmmaker.
What are filmmaking jobs?
Filmmaking jobs are positions that allow you to work with some aspect of the movie or television industry. These careers can involve anything from producing the movie to creating marketing materials. The filmmaking industry can be competitive. To earn a position in film, you may need to hone your skills in other areas first. For example, a makeup artist may spend years perfecting their craft before working with well-known actresses and actors. Filmmaking jobs can present many exciting opportunities for those who attain these positions.
15 types of filmmaking jobs
There are many careers you can pursue in the filmmaking industry, whether you're behind the camera, in front of it or in the editing room. Here are 15 of the most common career options in film. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, visit indeed.com/salaries.
National average salary: $26,557 per year
Primary duties: An actor portrays a character for film, television or other forms of media. Beginning their careers, actors often work in local theater productions or television commercials. They audition for each individual part, competing against others in the industry. Those who reach celebrity status can enjoy a different type of career entirely, selecting from prime film and television parts that are offered to them.
National average salary: $32,591 per year
Primary duties: Producers are responsible for planning and coordinating the different aspects of film production. They select the script, oversee the editing process, secure financing and schedule production. The producer oversees the general progress of the film but does not complete tasks regarding the day-to-day production, which directors, managers and production assistants oversee.
National average salary: $38,402 per year
Primary duties: A camera operator evaluates the lighting, filters, focus and staging to find the best way to capture a scene for film or television. The camera operator works with a variety of technical equipment, including multiple cameras, cranes and mobile mountings. Major films have several camera operators working at once to catch a scene from different angles.
National Average Salary: $38,796 per year
Primary Duties: Production assistants handle the clerical work associated with the filmmaking industry. They file paperwork, take phone calls, perform data entry and distribute production paperwork. A production assistant may also handle travel and dining arrangements for the cast and crew, ensuring the operations run smoothly in a studio or on the set.
Read more: Learn About Being a Production Assistant
5. Film crew
National average salary: $43,743 per year
Primary duties: Members of the film crew take camera footage for a movie, television show or live event. They set up the cameras, follow the director's instructions and capture each shot. The film crew is also responsible for equipment maintenance and repair. Some employees on the film crew may assist with pre-production for a project as well.
National average salary: $44,037 per year
Primary duties: Photographers in the film industry capture the still photos that are necessary for promotional purposes. These specialists use their artistic skills to frame and take shots. They may also handle the staging of these photos.
National average salary: $44,704 per year
Primary duties: Production artists produce the creative designs that are used for promotional purposes. Within the film industry, a production artist handles film posters, advertising and other graphics. They collect images that are captured by professional photographers and work these into their graphic designs. The production artist follows the image through to production, maintaining the print quality in the final product.
National average salary: $47,856 per year
Primary duties: Sound engineers assemble and operate the equipment that's used to capture sound. They're responsible for recording, amplifying, mixing and enhancing audio. In the filmmaking industry, a sound engineer may capture vocal audio, instrumentation, sound effects and other noises. They can also mix these to produce the natural audio heard by audiences watching television or movies.
National average salary: $52,767 per year
Primary duties: A junior art director assists the art director with the planning and execution of set design. The junior art director may add color and texture to sets, handle decorative details and evaluate locations at different times of day to determine the best filming schedule. Several junior art directors may work on a large project.
National average salary: $58,541 per year
Primary duties: The associate producer works closely with the film producer to coordinate the various activities involved in putting a movie or television show together. This includes scriptwriting, editing, research, financial management and crew scheduling. The associate producer helps the many departments that contribute to the production operate smoothly together.
11. Location manager
National average salary: $60,692 per year
Primary duties: A location manager scouts for filming locations that are appropriate for television or movies. They can secure these locations with the proper permits and coordinate the logistics for production. This includes handling trash removal, arranging for parking, negotiating the fees for use of the space and planning for any cosmetic alterations that may become necessary.
12. Makeup artist
National average salary: $70,470 per year
Primary duties: In the film industry, a makeup artist may handle everything from standard stage makeup to elaborate prosthetics. Makeup artists at the top of their fields create elaborate looks that may transform characters into fantasy creatures or transform their age. Makeup artists also apply and maintain makeup on actors for a natural look. Those who work with film production are mindful of the distinct challenges on the set, which may include heat, sweat and long hours in front of the camera.
Read more: Learn About Being a Makeup Artist
13. Art director
National average salary: $70,855 per year
Primary duties: The art director works closely with the production designer to give a film its distinctive visual quality. This includes preparing sets, overseeing construction and decorating scenes. The art director also commissions work for special effects, hires vehicles and casts animals used in film production. The art director and location manager work closely together to create the ideal environment for the project.
Read more: Learn About Being an Art Director
National average salary: $76,769 per year
Primary duties: The production manager coordinates schedules, meets with staff members, evaluates the budget, negotiates pay rates, selects suppliers and oversees location selection and bookings for films. While a movie is being filmed, the production manager oversees the production team, maintains the proper permits and insurance and handles any issues that may arise.
Read more: Learn About Being a Production Manager
National average salary: $82,979 per year
Primary duties: The senior art director working on a film oversees all aspects of the design. This may include set design, location selection, costumes, props and marketing materials. The senior art director approves concepts presented by the art director and evaluates the work at various stages to ensure that production is occurring on schedule and that all sets and scenes have the appropriate visual elements in place.
Explore more articles
- How To Ask for a Letter of Recommendation (With Examples)
- What Is an Occupation? (With Definition and Examples)
- Government Jobs Explained (and Rewarding Roles To Consider)
- 19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a Master's in Psychology
- Ultrasound Tech vs. Sonography: What's the Difference?
- 14 Careers in Optometry (Plus Salaries, Duties and FAQ)
- Work Experience and Your Career: Importance and Tips
- 5 Jobs On a Cruise Ship Requiring No Prior Experience
- How To Find a Part-Time Job (With Benefits and Tips)
- 17 Jobs That Involve Mathematics (Plus Duties and Salaries)
- 25 Dangerous Jobs That Pay $45,000 or More
- Pros and Cons of Being an Adjunct Professor (With Skills)