14 Jobs in the Film Industry (With Salaries and Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 18 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

The film industry is a broad field with a variety of employment opportunities for creative professionals. The jobs can be in acting, screen-writing, directing, film production or marketing. Learning about different jobs in the film industry and their typical duties and salaries can help you determine which position is best for your interests and goals. In this article, we discuss 14 jobs in the film industry, their primary responsibilities and their average salaries.

14 jobs in the film industry

There are many exciting jobs in the film industry that can offer a variety of opportunities depending on your interests and background. Some jobs may require creative talent and experience over formal qualifications. Here are 14 careers you may consider:

1. Film director

National average salary: $79,490 per year

Primary duties: A director, or filmmaker, oversees the entire film-making process. They may work with screenwriters and art designers. They guide and motivate actors during the shoot and oversee the editing work in post-production. Their duties may include reviewing the script, deciding where actors stand during a scene and deciding how many takes a scene requires. Directors usually learn on the job and may progress from junior roles, like casting managers or film crew.

Related: What Does a Film Director Do? (With FAQs)

2. Actor or actress

National average salary: $1,645 per day

Primary duties: Actors and actresses play roles in films. They usually perform scenes where they interact directly with other characters. Acting requires extensive training and practice before appearing in front of cameras. Actors usually research the character they want to portray and rehearse with the creative ensemble. When filming starts, the actors play the characters on screen. Their duties can include reading scripts, memorising lines before filming and discussing the scenes with their colleagues and directors to improve the performance.

Related: How to Become an Actor

3. Producer

National average salary: $87,774 per year

Primary duties: A film producer oversees and launches a movie project. Their responsibilities may include arranging financing for the film, hiring writers and directors and overseeing all aspects of logistics and production. Producers may work on set, and they frequently collaborate frequently with the director. Depending on their roles, producers can work as creative producers, line producers, co-producers or executive producers in a film project.

Related: What Does an Executive Producer Do?

4. Casting manager

National average salary: $48.15 per hour

Primary duties: Casting managers find talented individuals to act in various roles within a project, including background actors and central cast members. They may identify or locate the stars for an upcoming TV drama or movie. They usually work with the production companies where they can help match actors or actresses to roles. To get a sense of the type of actor a production house is looking for, the casting manager may read scripts and meet with directors, screenwriters and film producers.

5. Sound technician

National average salary: $69,706 per year

Primary duties: It's the responsibility of a sound technician to assemble and position sound equipment and check cable connections and maintain the sound quality. They oversee the layout of sound equipment, such as cables and the placement of microphones. In a film project, they work closely with directors and the film crew to ensure the audio equipment functions correctly.

6. Location manager

National average salary: $77,627 per year

Primary duties: The location manager plans shoots according to budgets set by producers. They also manage the locations where the crew films scenes. This includes scouting out potential shooting sites, negotiating contracts and hiring local crews. Location managers typically have experience working in production management, business administration or marketing.

7. Camera operator

National average salary: $50,559 per year

Primary duties: Camera operators film scenes as actors and actresses perform. They use film cameras and rigs to capture footage. When shooting, the operator may ensure shots look good for the screen. They also set up equipment and prepare a set before filming.

8. Assistant director

National average salary: $113,596 per year

Primary duties: Assistant directors usually help direct shoots by giving instructions to camera operators and directing extras. They also keep track of schedules and budgets by creating estimates and worksheets for the cast. Other responsibilities include managing background performers and film-makers, planning daily call sheets and coordinating different departments.

9. Hairstylist

National average salary: $56,472 per year

Primary duties: Hairstyling can affect how actors and actresses look on screen. A hairstylist may create wigs and hairstyles for film actors to embody their characters. They work together with other film professionals, like costume designers, make-up artists and art directors to ensure hairstyles match how a character looks in a specific scene. They may create special effects using the actor's wigs or natural hair to create looks that can withstand the elements during outdoor filming conditions.

10. Film crew member

National average salary: $59,957 per year

Primary duties: Film crew members usually provide help in all the departments involved in the film's production. This may include working with props, camera operation, lighting and sound. What they do may vary from day to day. They often manage supplies for the film and put up and take down equipment. Their roles usually vary with skill level.

11. Choreographer

National average salary: $54,331 per year

Primary duties: A choreographer plans and creates dance routines or crowd and fight scene movement for films. They can invent unique or original dances and develop various interpretations for existing dances. They may also teach the steps or dance moves to the actors and actresses in the film.

12. Animator

National average salary: $77,620 per year

Primary duties: An animator produces visual effects and animations for films using images of characters, drawings, puppets and models. Their duties may include drawing designs for characters, drawing the background of scenes and collaborating with a design team to ensure the scenes are visually appealing. They may also participate in special effects departments by creating backgrounds and inserting objects for 2D and 3D models or computer-generated animation. They also help develop storyboards for amination work.

13. Film editor

National average salary: $60,363 per year

Primary duties: A film editor unites various scenes into a complete film. They usually watch the entire raw footage, then use editing software and equipment to place shots in the correct order for motion pictures or television programmes. Where necessary, they may edit frame by frame and support dialogue to complete a film. It's common for editors to use sound effects and visual cues to add drama or tension to a scene. Film editors may also go on location with the director to experience the story during a shoot.

14. Production assistant

National average salary: $54,702 per year

Primary duties: A production assistant is a junior role in the film industry. They usually help filmmakers and the crew in their filmmaking roles. Their duties may include printing and distributing film scripts to crew members, managing communications between different groups, such as actors and the technical crew, and helping the producer and director with the schedule. Assistants can work in set production where they can set up cameras or props for directors or in post-production where they might help catalogue footage.

Tips to get into the film industry

Getting into the film industry takes more than completing acting classes or learning how to operate film equipment. You may have to learn how the film industry works and know where to find filming opportunities. You can use the following tips to join the film industry.

  • Learn your trade. Enrol for a film-making course at a local university, tertiary institution or the National Institute of Dramatic Art to gain hands-on experience that you can use to help you succeed in your career. You may take classes in acting, film-making, animation or other related areas, depending on your interests and goals.

  • Develop a professional network. Success in the film industry highly depends on networking. As an actor, you can seek an agent to help you find parts in acting roles for other people's films and build a network, and for other roles, you may join a local professional group.

  • Attend film-related events. To help you find roles in the film industry, you may attend networking events where you can meet with new people who might help you find new roles.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location. Please note that no company mentioned in this article is affiliated with Indeed.

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