What does it take to be a Motion Picture Producer?
There are few formal training programs for Motion Picture Producers, but most have at minimum a bachelor degree, and many hold a Master of Fine Arts degree. Majors are often in writing, journalism, acting, communication, or theatre arts, but many producers earn degrees in arts management or business. In the U.S. there are more than 150 accredited programs in theater arts that include training in playwriting, set design, directing, and film editing. In Canada there are a number of post-secondary film, television and theatre production programs. Most of these offer two-year diplomas or a post-diploma bachelor degree.
Most often, television and movie producers work their way up and learn the job through experience. Many begin as set assistants, or as actors, writers, choreographers, and film editors. Over the years they learn the profession of directing and producing. Producers also come from a range of backgrounds. Many have a legal or business background, and documentary producers often come from a political science or social justice environment. Some theater producers are business people who recognize a potential commercial venture.
Some of the personal characteristics useful in a Motion Picture Producer:
- a strong business sense and understanding of finances
- good communication and ability to write effective proposals
- understanding of technology
- excellent leadership and management abilities
There is intense competition for jobs, with many more potential workers than open positions. Experience and good business skills will improve prospects. Producers who have a good understanding of the marketplace, networks and programming, and who know how to establish a reputation are more likely to succeed.
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