worked 100 days, you’re eligible to join the union. On the management side, you’ll generally need a college degree. An MBA, strong business skills or a law degree with a concentration in communications or entertainment doesn’t hurt. It is more common for producers to come from the management side on feature films than television.
Entry level: $909.10 per week (apprentice editor); $1,224 per week (assistant editor)
Midlevel: $2,105.74 per week (on-call film editor)
Executive level: “A” list film editors don’t work for scale; they can write their own ticket.
The Motion Picture Editors Guild
65 West 46th St.
New York, NY 10036
KEITH DABNEY | Film Editor
When Keith Dabney started college at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, the mass communications major never dreamed he would win three Emmy Awards, travel the world shooting documentaries on athletes and coaches then work as an assistant film editor on the Star Trek: Voyager series. But a Federal Communications Commission mandate in the early 1970s that required networks and their local affiliates to bring more minorities into the business proved to be Dabney’s inside track to a varied and well-paying 25-year career on the production side of film. “I wanted to work behind the scenes and although I had no experience, I learned on the job. In smaller markets, there are no unions, so you get to learn and do a lot. Working as an editor and cameraman made me more marketable and allowed me to make more money.”
Jobs for producers are expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2006. Of the 800 television stations in the U.S. that broadcast local news, 3,000 people are employed as news producers, according to the Radio-Television News Directors Association, not including cable and network news. “Producers are really in demand,” says Bob Papper, professor of telecommunications at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. “A news director in a large market may get 125 tapes for reporter [jobs] and only five applications for producers.”
Producers are responsible for pulling all aspects of a production together, whether the work be for film, music, news, television or theater.
Since there are several types of producers, from the creative to business side of a production, various educational backgrounds may be useful. A bachelor’s or master’s degree in journalism with a focus on TV, radio or film production is just as useful as an MBA in management or finance with a focus on media. Similarly, a fine arts degree is appropriate for theater.
Depends upon the industry.
Entry level: $18,000-$22,000/year (assistant)
Midlevel: $30,000-$40,000 per year
Executive: $65,000+ (executive producer/head writer)
Radio-Television News Directors Association
1000 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 615
Washington, DC 20036
A media buyer usually works within an advertising firm to negotiate advertising time or space for all forms of media from TV and radio to print and outdoor billboards. Many are now “unbundling,” or branching out to open their own firms however. Currently, ad sales are growing steadily, and there is a strong job market with advertising agencies. Some self-employed media buyers charge clients a percentage to handle their