Like all of us who follow the tabloids, we are of the opinion that everyone who works in Hollywood is swimming in money. This explains the large numbers of people who turn up every day at the doors of production houses to either become an actor or get into the movie business. But in actuality, according to the Bureau Of Labour Statistics, the average weekly revenue of film industry workers within the nonsupervisory section is approximately $ 700 — which is barely $ 20 more than the average weekly revenue of all the other industries combined. But this does not mean that making movies is not lucrative. There is definitely money to be made in the movie business and here is a compilation of the highest paying jobs in the film industry.
In Hollywood, a producer is one of the vaguest titles that can encompass a writer, lyricist, thought manager, investor, or all of the above. In the film industry, at the top of the production table lies the head producer also known as executive producer who looks into every detail of filmmaking right from preproduction, production as well as postproduction. In the preproduction stage, an executive producer takes ideas from various people involved in the film including agents, directors, writers etc. Here the producer is involved in reading the scripts and once an idea is chosen, he has to look out for investment in order to fund the movie. The usual path taken by most production houses is to get the support of a major movie studio, while some who wish to go independent seek investments from random or individual investors. It is the producer’s job to hire scriptwriters, directors, production crew, casting managers, art directors, camera equipment, editors, lighting crew and various other individuals involved in the making of a movie. Unlike other individuals involved in the filmmaking industry, producers do not work on a salary basis. Almost every one of them takes a cut out of the revenue earned from the films earnings at the box office, both at the domestic as well as foreign box offices. Other areas of revenue include home media and video contracts, DVD sales, soundtrack sales and much more. Given that these earnings are highly lucrative, a successful producer can easily earn millions of dollars.
An individual responsible for overseeing the artistic vision of a film is basically the director. In most cases, a director is not involved in the financial aspect of moviemaking, unless he is donning two hats– producer director. In order to succeed as a director, it not only requires an ability to work in cooperation with a large team but also have immense patience, and persistence of vision. More importantly, a director needs to have a thorough understanding of filmmaking, its technique and the history behind films. In most cases it is seen that directors usually begin with inconspicuous projects that are small and independently funded and move upwards. Even though, a director can ask for a fee for directing a movie, he can also negotiate for a cut of the film’s revenues, thus making the earnings even higher than the salary.
Scriptwriters get involved in film projects in various different ways. One way of getting noticed by a producer is to draft an entire year script based on specifications. Another way is to prepare a script based on the writer’s experience and creative ability, and circulate it around various circles within agents and production houses who might hire the right of all purchased the script for future development. Screenwriters, who have established a name themselves in the industry, usually do not have to write a script. With a help of their agent, they make appointments with specific producers in order to bid an idea for a script. Depending on what has been proposed, the producer is free to decide whether to purchase the idea or enlist the screenwriter in writing an entire script or prepare a shorter treatment. The screenwriting industry is a particularly hard industry to break into, and it greatly helps a writer if he has inside connections. According to the Bureau Of Labour Statistics, the average earnings of the screenwriter in the film industry is pegged at $ 80,000, but it is a well-known fact that top tier scriptwriters receive thousands, and sometimes even millions of dollars for a single script.
One of the least glamorous, yet most crucial jobs in the film industry is one of an editor. Directors usually shoot hours and hours of footage when filming. It is up to an experienced editor to whittle down the innumerable hours of shooting into a concise, 90 min movie. Skilled editors are well versed in selecting specific scenes and individual shots that best conveys what that director wants to show the audience. Considered to be one of the most thankless jobs in the film industry, editors usually spend days and nights in front of a large number of computer monitors, editing seconds and microseconds of film footage while meticulously editing audio. Unfortunately, even though the average annual salary for film editors is approximately $ 78,000, they do not get paid very well for late nights and added hours. Experienced editors on the other hand are extremely sought after and it eventually it pays to become an editor.