Is Movies/Entertainment a Good Career Path?
The promise of playing make-believe, for life, has allowed the movie and entertainment industry to thrive into a billion-dollar business.
These days, there are movies made not just for consumption in the theater, but for those who prefer to watch at home, too. There are films made for all ages — from toddlers and kids who would like to listen to two sisters sing their hearts out in an ice-cold kingdom — to middle-age men who love seeing cars racing at thrilling speeds.
According to Statista, just before the pandemic hit, there were at least 600 films released in the US on an annual basis during the past decade. Truly, the industry is thriving and is not running out of new pictures, any time soon. One can’t help but wonder: Is movies/entertainment a good career path?
Below, we list some of the best jobs in the entertainment industry.
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What Are the Best Movies/Entertainment Jobs
Once they make it, they don’t need much introduction. But in the early days of their careers, actors can have some of the toughest jobs in the industry.
Actors are paid to portray characters in movies. And for an actor to land a job, he or she must be willing to audition for these roles. These auditions are unpaid and could take multiple stages. It is no surprise then that a study by the Queen Mary University of London revealed only 2% of actors make a living from the profession.
As Michael Simkins, a columnist for The Guardian, said, the defining difference between amateurs and those who do choose to become actors and turn it into their careers isn’t talent, but the endurance to rejection and “grinding unemployment.”
Still, getting into drama school is a good first step if one would want to become an actor. Simkins said it is one of the ways to be noticed. Multiple actors have also shared that getting into an acting school is one of the ways to network with those in the industry.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, long-term training is also common in the industry. For example, actors can enter workshops to continuously enhance their craft even when they are already years into their careers.
The main visionary for an entire movie is usually the director. The director is responsible for multiple tasks before, during, and after movie production.
Before a moving even starts filming, for example, the director would have to have a vision for how the movie should look and feel. While they are not always the writers of the movies they direct, directors would be in charge of translating the script into visual entertainment.
To make that happen, a director also has to create a production crew. A crew would usually consist of a producer, production designer, location manager, cinematographer, and assistant director.
With the crew, a director may already start filming and guide the actors he or she cast once they perform. And once the filming commences, the director must also be with the editor to ensure the footage is cut the way he or she intended.
There is no one clear-cut way to become a director. However, a degree in Film would certainly help in ensuring an aspiring director acquires the basic skills in movie production and understands the basic demands of the job. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employers of directors also usually demand work experience in less than five years in a related field.
The screenwriter is responsible for the screenplay, a document that details the setting, characters, and dialogue of a movie. Screenwriters typically submit their scripts to production companies for consideration to be turned into movies.
Once the screenplay is accepted, it still undergoes various editing, and at times, may even require rewrites while filming is ongoing.
There is no one defined way to become a screenwriter. However, experts have shared that a Master of Fine Arts degree is a good way to learn about the craft. Getting into film school is also a chance for an aspiring screenwriter to find his or her peers who may help him or her with feedback on scripts. It’s also a chance to network with those who are already in the industry.
The film editor is tasked to choose, cut, and assemble footage that would make the movie. He or she usually works closely with the director to ensure the movie is made the way the latter envisioned it.
While it is not always necessary, a Bachelor’s degree in Film and Video Production would be of great help to an aspiring film editor. The degree would require students to use and learn the software and platforms needed to assemble footage, for example. It is also in film school where editing courses are usually offered and taught.
Experts have suggested working as a production assistant in a movie company is a good first step to becoming a film editor. It is also a way to build a network in the industry which may be helpful in landing film editing jobs.
A camera operator is responsible for recording the footage for the movie. As the main visionary for the movie, the director guides the camera operator on how to capture a scene. The job then requires long hours on set and a close working relationship with the director.
According to the Nashville Film Institute, there is no essential educational requirement for camera operators. However, it noted that there are some production companies that prefer camera operators who either have a bachelor’s degree or went to film school.
It would also help camera operators to continuously train in handling camera equipment, as it continuously undergoes improvement and upgrade. For example, drone cameras, which were unheard of half a century ago, are now staple in big-budget film productions. Such equipment would require a camera operator who has had training in handling it.
Why You Should Get a Movies/Entertainment Job
While the hours are long, and pay could be meager at the start, a job in the entertainment industry can certainly be fulfilling. Where else can one turn fictional settings and characters into life, and be paid for it?
There are hundreds of movies expected to be made in the coming years. Thanks to streaming services, there is now more demand for films to be made. According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, about 33,900 jobs are expected to be available for actors, film editors and camera operators, and directors from 2021 to 2030.
The compensation for these jobs varies widely, however.
Based on available data from the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, for example, the median pay for producers and directors is $79,000 a year, making them some of the most lucrative jobs in the industry. Meanwhile, film editors and camera operators have a median pay of $60,360 per year.
The agency had no annual estimate for actors, but it expects them to have a median hourly rate of $23.48. While actors may have the least pay at the beginning of their careers among those in the entertainment industry, they can certainly have the most once they make it big. Forbes, for example, estimated that Dwayne Johnson was the highest-paid actor in 2020, after raking in $87.5 million.
According to a market research study published by Zion Market Research, the value of global movies and entertainment would reach $169.92 billion by 2030. This means the industry is expected to grow by 7.21% between 2023 and 2030.
The industry is certainly profitable. However, creatives and workers in the industry are not always guaranteed jobs. Those who work in the entertainment industry do not have clear-cut hours and pay, unlike those in the corporate world, for example. This means their livelihood depends on whether they have a project lined up.
Still, the skills these creatives develop on the job in the entertainment industry can certainly help when they choose to have a different career path.
An actor for example who had extensive training and workshops could choose to teach instead. Camera operators may also find jobs not just in the entertainment industry, but in the advertising realm, too.
These pivots are certainly more available for those who trained extensively even years into their career. A certification in a new skill that could later be in demand in another industry can definitely help one’s chances to have another career.
The Entertainment Business is Good Business
Despite the rising popularity of other forms of entertainment, from video games to social media-native videos, the movie industry remains the main attraction for many. The power of make-believe can still draw new fans to become movie buffs.
That is good news for the many creatives who yearn to earn the privilege of making a living out of turning a figment of human imagination into something real. Couple that eagerness with an enthusiasm to never stop learning, and one may have the chance to do movies for a living.
Sarah is an accomplished educator, researcher and author in the field of testing and assessment. She has worked with various educational institutions and organisations to develop innovative evaluation methods and enhance student learning. Sarah has published numerous articles and books on assessment and learning. Her passion for promoting equity and fairness in the education system fuels her commitment to sharing insights and best practices with educators and policymakers around the world.