how to become producer

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how to become producer

How to Become a Producer

Producers are the first people to begin the production of a movie, television show or theatrical performance. Producers locate funding for a project, then oversee the many elements that go into the final production. From writers and actors to publicists, producers manage people and schedules to meet deadlines and maintain the integrity of a project. In this article, we explore how to become a producer and what one does.

What does a producer do?

Producers are generally the people who develop a film or theater project and oversee it from start to finish. Producers may work with creators of the project such as writers or they may develop an idea themselves. Producers spend a great deal of time finding investors or institutions to acquire financing for a project. Producers may work directly with movie studios, networks or streaming services to find a creative base for the project.

Producers choose directors or select certain scripts they want to work on. Producers hire or oversee the process of hiring actors and crew members for the production. Producers are assisted by many different people including directors, cinematographers and editors. Producers oversee all phases of the production process.

A producer’s role follows a production schedule, which typically includes these tasks:

  • Acquire intellectual property rights
  • Ensure details follow the project’s original intention
  • Assemble the creative team
  • Assemble the advertising and media teams
  • Supervise branding and marketing
  • Manage numerous personality types
  • Monitor the project’s success after release and continue to make assessments based on dataRelated: Negotiation Skills: Definitions and Examples

How to become a producer

Producers complete the education required and spend time learning directly from the industry. Producers may start in roles such as actor or director before becoming producers. Here are the steps to begin a career as a producer:

  1. Earn a degree.
  2. Intern with a studio or network.
  3. Gain experience in the industry.
  4. Know industry trends.

1. Earn a degree

Producers need at least a bachelor’s degree in a related area to successfully manage a creative project. Producers generally hold degrees in film or acting. Journalism or communication degrees are related to producing as well as degrees in business.

Producers may earn their degrees at a college or university, or they may choose to attend an independent art school. Participating in school film programs or projects can help accumulate experience and sharpen communication skills. Group projects or participation in screenings or casting help aspiring producers to learn to work with many personality types.

2. Intern with a studio or network

Interning is an ideal way to advance your education while gaining experience. Movie production companies, local theaters or networks may offer intern opportunities that can lead to a paid position. Interns are exposed to the detailed work of production and gain first-hand knowledge of project distribution, how to publicize and work with the media and the opportunity to network.

3. Gain experience in the industry

Producers spend anywhere from one to five years working in the industry before becoming full-time producers. Some may begin their careers as actors or writing screenplays while others may have experience in casting or publicity.

Aspiring producers can gain experience through local theaters or by working in a talent agent’s office. Producers may be mentored in their careers under an apprenticeship in roles such as a program assistant. These roles may teach the benefits and intricacies of management while developing work experience.

Producers must stay up to date on industry trends through production publications or by attending events like seminars or film festivals. Producers who are up to date on trends better understand their audience. Understanding what audiences are interested in relates to locating new talent and how emerging technology may change the industry. Learning new avenues for production distribution and getting to know key people can provide insight into the development of new productions or projects.

Skills successful producers need

Producers develop certain skills to work with creatives and financial backers. Communication and problem-solving skills come into focus when meeting deadlines or adhering to production schedules.

Soft skills

Soft skills are related to critical thinking and time-management. Producers that develop skills to problem-solve and negotiate have a better opportunity to mange many personality types. Effective communication and listening are key skills for successful producers.


Producers oversee the production schedule and all the people involved in the process. Leadership skills help producers to delegate responsibilities and make decisions that affect the overall production.

Business acumen

Producers who develop management and leadership skills have a grasp on how to maintain a production’s integrity while meeting schedule deadlines. Producers who develop business knowledge improve their negotiation and marketing skills.

Average salary for producers

Producers earn an average salary of $50,553 per year. Salaries may range according to the specific production role.

What are the different types of producers?

Producers work in different entertainment areas and often have similar responsibilities. Here are four different producer types across the entertainment industry:

Movie producer

A movie producer oversees the production of a movie from organizing funding to the final release. Movie producers may choose writers, actors and directors. Movie producers have a keen sense of business and extensive knowledge of the film industry.

Television producer

Television productions may employ several producers who contribute to the successful completion of a television series or program. Television producers choose scene locations, sets, and oversee the hiring of actors. Television producers adhere to strict deadlines and ensure productions run on schedule.

Theater producer

Theater producers are in charge of stage productions including sets and costumes. Producers choose plays or musicals and manage performance schedules. Theater producers have an extensive background in theater and may get their start as actors or playwrights.

Music producer

Music producers have extensive knowledge of their industry and stay aware of trends in music. This producer is involved in the mixing and managing of music to produce a polished final product.

Frequently asked questions about becoming a producer

The following questions are common to a career in production:

What are other producer supporting roles?

A few additional supporting roles include:

Line producer

The line producer oversees timing and deadlines for various parts of the project. Line producers follow the financial plan and monitors milestones and deadline commitments.

Co-producer or associate producer

For extensive projects, co-producers or associate producers are responsible for a particular area or department. Co-producers contribute to the project’s funding and act as post-production liaison.

Executive producer

Found in the television realm, executive producers are similar to line producers and oversee detailed aspects such as location and casting.

Lead producer

The lead producer is found in theater productions and makes the most creative decisions.

Is being a producer considered a creative job?

Producers work with actors and directors as well as bankers and investors. Producers who have knowledge or experience in these roles can better understand how they work to guide their influence. Producers work with many different personalities and creativity is needed to communicate effectively to manage all the steps in a project. While producers may not write the play or direct the cinematography, their creative abilities help them choose the right people for those roles.

How do producers choose projects?

Producers choose projects that they can get excited about. Whether it’s a story that needs to be told or a match for current industry trends, producers choose projects that they are passionate about.

In some cases, producers develop the project themselves and hire the creative team they need to bring the project to the screen or stage.

How do producers build relationships?

Producers work with people from many different industries such as filmmakers, production studios and distributors. Producers find funding for a project by approaching investors or studios to work together and create a production.

Producers just getting started may seek financial backing from friends and family at first. As producers grow their network of professionals, it becomes easier to choose the right people for a project. Professionals can join the Producer’s Guild of America to network with industry professionals and add to their list of connections.

Producers that are enthusiastic about their projects can attract the right talent that is also eager to work on the production.

how to become a producer music

How to become a music producer

CareerExplorer’s step-by-step guide on how to become a music producer.

See moreStep 1

Is becoming a music producer right for me?

The first step to choosing a career is to make sure you are actually willing to commit to pursuing the career. You don’t want to waste your time doing something you don’t want to do.

Described by our users as being “shockingly accurate”, you might discover careers you haven’t thought of before.Step 2

Listen to all kinds of music

Many, if not all, music producers start on the path to their profession very early in life, simply by virtue of their love for music. They listen to a lot of songs across a lot of genres. They write down what they hear in every song and begin to recognize the patterns, characteristics, and features of various genres and styles. This early openness to all kinds of music, song writing, and production is very often the foundation of a career in the field. Diverse musical exposure is one of the music producer’s most basic keys. When a recording session is not going well, flexibility and willingness to consider a fresh perspective and approach can be the way to finding the right sound, tempo, or rhythm and to ending up with something even better than was originally planned.Step 3

Become a musician

Music producers are intimately involved in shaping the sound and the vision of a recording. They must have the expertise to recognize what makes good music. Becoming a musician, learning how to read and write music, and understanding composition, therefore, are logical steps to cultivating this talent; to knowing the sound and reach of different instruments in particular arrangements.Step 4

Start making music

You have cultivated your love of music. You have researched music genres and recording styles. You have learned to play one or more instruments. Now it’s time to start making music. Playing or singing in a band will teach you about microphone placement and how the volume of the instruments affect the overall performance. In addition, seek out feedback from music forums. A great way to do this is to upload your work on online music platforms, such as Soundlcoud, Beatport, and Audiomack.

At this stage, you will probably identify the kind of music that most speaks to you and begin thinking about specializing in a specific genre.

Some post-secondary institutions with outstanding music programs, such as New York University offer summer programs in music production to high school students.Step 5

Bachelor’s Degree

While educational requirements for music producers may vary, a Bachelor’s Degree in music production is the unofficial standard.

Having developed an appreciation for and an informal understanding and knowledge of music, most prospective music producers pursue an undergraduate degree in music production, recording arts, or a related field. Coursework may cover music theory and composition; audio engineering and recording software; digital sound equipment and hardware; song writing; and music genres and their structures. As music producers are essentially the entrepreneurs of the music industry, music production programs also incorporate business concepts: legal, financial, administrative, and marketing.

Research music production schools here.

Recognized worldwide, London’s prestigious Royal Academy of Music is one of the leading schools for the study of music and music production.Step 6


Many music and music production schools form partnerships with local studios and radio stations to provide students with internships and opportunities to learn from working professionals. At some educational institutions, completing an internship is a requirement for graduation.

Throughout these internships students are exposed to producers, as well as other industry professionals. They see the entire production process, learn industry terminology and methodology, and come to recognize that the music business is all about making connections. These connections often open doors to future career opportunities.

Some of the most sought after internships are with record labels:

The Big Four Record Labels
• Universal Music Group
• Sony Music Entertainment
• Warner Music Group
• EMI Group

Independent Record LabelsStep 7

Network and make use of available resources

Once you have achieved a certain level of skill – through both formal and informal training and experience – it is time to take networking and making connections to the next level. Music production is largely a word-of-mouth business. The more relationships you build the more links to potential work and potential clients you will have. Take initiative to meet people in the field.

Use the resources provided by industry associations, which can often help with message boards, sample contracts, and general questions about the business:

• The National Association of Recording Professionals offers educational programs, a job bank, a member resume database for employers, a mentor network, and other services.

• The Society of Professional Audio Recording Services offers educational programs, internships, business conferences, and networking opportunities.

• The Association of Music Producers provides music production payment guidelines, sample music rights, master recording license agreements, messages boards, and classified ads.

• The Recording Industry Association of America is a trade association for recording companies, not individuals, but its website provides music industry links and licensing information.Step 8

Find and promote new artists

While the importance of connections in the music industry cannot be overstated, finding and promoting your own new artists is the ultimate goal. Scout new bands and artists by keeping up with industry social media. Consider hiring promoters to inform potential audiences of your artists’ upcoming events. Always remember that your success as a music producer relies largely on the music you release and the referrals that may follow those releases.

How to become a Music Producer

Although there is no standard level of education needed to become a music producer, many colleges offer four-year Bachelor’s Degree programs in music production. Curricula typically cover a broad range of topics, including musical history and theory; composition, song writing, and ear training; recording arts technology; contracts and copyrights; artist and project management; music publishing and distribution; marketing and advertising; finance and accounting; as well as entrepreneurship and the music business as a whole. Courses may include recording industry law and ethics, sound editing techniques, digital audio software, and electronic music. Some programs require students to produce a full-length recording and/or participate in an internship. Common degrees earned are a Bachelor of Science in Music Production or a Bachelor of Music with an emphasis in production.

While formal education is encouraged, by no means does it guarantee entry into and success in the field. Simply stated, this is because being a music producer is diverse and difficult. Certain producers may excel in sound design; others in sound mixing and mastering. And it invariably takes a long time to get to a level where your music is actually worth releasing. There are intricacies in music production that not only take a while to understand in theory, but require significant practice.

Regardless of the individual path they choose to hone their craft, music producers generally have some things in common. They have a love of music. They become an expert of a specific music genre. They listen to and appreciate all genres of music to cultivate a rich musical palette. They know what sounds right and how to transform an ordinary song into a hit. They know how to assemble and manage a musical production team, which includes the songwriter or music publisher, the artist, recording engineers, the mixing engineer, and the mastering engineer. More often than not, they know how to play several instruments – a skill that is particularly valuable when it comes to working in a studio in collaboration with multiple musicians. Many music producers start their careers as sound engineers.

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