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Creative Control: Producer and Director Salaries and Employment
Producers manage the business of film, TV, radio, stage and other entertainment media. They choose scripts, hire staff, raise money and set budgets. Directors exercise creative decisions by interpreting scripts, auditioning and selecting actors, conducting rehearsals and guiding actor performances. A large production may have several producers and directors. Both positions involve long, irregular hours. Jobs may last a day to several months, depending on how long it takes to complete a production.
© 2011 by Aurelio Locsin
Basics for Producer and Director Salaries
The U.S. Labor Department lumps the 83,520 producers and directors into one earnings category, with mean wages of $42.60 per hour or $88,610 per year.
- The lowest 10 percent make $15.45 per hour or $32,140 per year. The highest 10 percent earn over $80 per hour or $166,400 per year.
- This compares to the average $28.44 per hour that actors earn. Note that actor work is so irregular that the Labor Department does not specify an annual rate for that job.
- This is almost 70 percent higher than the average $25.14 per hour or $52,290 per year earned by all 1.7 million workers in arts, design, entertainment, sports and media occupations.
The industries with the highest employment levels for producers and directors are the following:
- Motion pictures and video have about a third of all the jobs, with average wages at $52.82 hourly or $109,860 yearly.
- Radio and TV broadcasting has almost a quarter of the positions at a mean $34.63 per hour or $72,030 per year.
- State government has five percent of the jobs with mean pay of $33.05 per hour or $59,820 per year.
- Performing arts companies also have five percent of the jobs, with means at $28.76 per hour or $59,820 per year.
The industries with the highest producer and director salaries are the following:
- Accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping and payroll services offer a mean $58.63 hourly or $121,940 annually. Producers and directors here create advertisements and industrial productions for employee training and customer persuasion.
- Motion pictures and video average $52.82 per hour or $109,860 per year.
- Advertising, public relations and related services have means at $50.77 perh our or $105,600 per year.
Employment levels for producers and directors almost reflect the nation’s population.
- California, the country’s most populous state, has almost a quarter of the positions with pay at a mean $60.75 per hour or $126,360 per year.
- New York, ranked third for population, contains almost 20 percent of the jobs with average wages at $53.81 per hour or $111,930.
- Florida, the fourth most populous state, has almost five percent of producers and directors, averaging $30.83 per hour or $64,120 per year.
The following states have the highest producer and director salaries.
- California and New York top the list.
- The District of Columbia, which the Labor Department classifies with states, has mean wages of $43.67 per hour or $90,820 per year.
- Tennessee averages $38.21 per hour or $79,470 per year.
City population also reflects population in the top two spots.
- Los Angeles, the second most populous urban area in the country, has 18 percent of the jobs averaging $66.66 hourly or $138,640 yearly.
- New York City, which is number one for population, shows 16 percent of the jobs at a mean $55.14 per hour or $114,680 per year.
- Washington DC has almost three percent of the positions at a mean $42.12 per hour or $87,610 per year.
The cities with the highest producer and director salaries are the following:
- Los Angeles and New York City occupy the first and third slots.
- The second slot goes to Hartford, Connecticut, with means at $56.04 per hour or $116,570 per year.
- Oxnard, California, ranks fourth at a mean $50.04 per hour or $104,070 per year.