The 15 Best Careers in the Film Industry

Of all the thriving industries many people desire to work in, the film industry ranks very high on the wish list of many. This is because a career in the motion picture business is as rewarding as it is satisfying. Besides the financial and professional satisfaction many derive from working in the industry, they also tend to enjoy the job security once they’ve gained a foothold in the game.

Good jobs in the movie industry

Movies and entertainment have long been a budding industry, and in many countries, the film industry offers many high-earning positions. For instance, take Hollywood in the US; this industry employs a whopping 456,000 people according to recent data released by Statista. Although this figure is likely to have dropped significantly due to the Covid crisis, the number has remained stable in previous years.

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There are many benefits to be gained should you choose to pursue a career in the film industry. What’s more, there are dozens of professions you can choose from. In this article, we will review 15 of the best careers in the film industry and how much professionals in each of these careers earn annually on average.

Highest paying jobs in the film industry

#1. Actor/Actress

When you think of movies, the first profession that will likely come to mind is the role of actors and actresses. While this is not the only career option open to aspiring workers, it remains one of the most sought after positions. It is one of the best and highest-paying jobs in the film industry. Although it is very challenging to land a role on the set of any production outfit, once you do, it could open doors to limitless possibilities.

Tips:  Before you kick start your career, you will first need to gain professional training. You also need to build your network of contacts within the industry to increase your chances of success.

Average estimated salary: $49,000 – or more per annum (you could potentially earn millions for just a movie)

#2. Location Manager

There are many opportunities for career development in the film industry besides being an actor. Another significant role is that of a location manager. This is the person responsible for finding suitable locations and spots for every single scene in the movie. He or she is also responsible for parking, lodging, snacks, and other production needs.

Tips: To do this job, you need to have good negotiation skills.

Average estimated salary: $49,500 and above

#3. Set Decorator

A set decorator does precisely what an interior decorator does but on a grander scale. The decorator is responsible for creating a design concept that suits the storyline and scenes in the movie.

Tips: Undergoing a course in design can be a huge plus on your resume

Average estimated salary: $59,590

#4. Key Grip

The grip manager is a vital position in the set of every production outfit. He or she manages all the support tools used for the shoot, such as the lighting, tripod, gambles, etc.

Tips: This position requires a lot of heavy lifting. You need to have excellent stamina.

Average estimated salary: $80,000

#5. Gaffer

Not many know who a gaffer is or what they do. The gaffer mostly deals with all lighting requirements and often heads members of the gripping department. They are responsible for test running lights during the testing phase and the production phase.

Tips: This position calls for a lot of experience with lighting and electrical connections.

Average estimated salary: $50,000 per annum

#6. Director

The director is one of the central brains behind every movie you have ever watched or will ever watch. Many have gone on to make names for themselves and to achieve legendary status in film. A movie director is equally as important as the actors in the cast, if not more important. The director ensures that the story is being told correctly as per the script. He or she also ensures that actors play their roles to the best of their abilities.

Tips: To be successful at this job, you need strong leadership qualities to pull it off.

Average estimated salary: $109,500 per movie

#7. Film Editor

An editor becomes active after the movie has been shot. The editor works in close association with the director to cut down on excess and unnecessary scenes. He or she simply cuts down the movie to size so that only the necessary scenes remain in the final work that will be released to the public.

Tips: Perfect video editing skills are required.

Average estimated salary: $75,000

#9. Producer

The movie producer is another all-important position when it comes to the movie business. The producer is the chief operating officer and is responsible for bringing the entire production team together. From the director to the actors, the location manager to the makeup artist. Everyone on set is answerable to the producer. He or she plans the budget and ensures that things go according to plan.

Tips: Effective management is essential. Building a network of professionals is invaluable.

Average Estimated Salary: $67,000

#10. Screenwriter

Did you know that the UK film and motion picture industry employs an estimated 82,000 permanent employees?

Among the number of professionals employed in the film industry, screenwriters play major roles. Screenwriters are the life and soul of the industry. They create storylines and concepts and bring them to life in their scripts. Screenwriting is one of the best jobs in the industry, so it is a very competitive field. You need to have a very vivid imagination to be successful.

Tips: Consider taking a writing course to improve your delivery and storytelling.

Average estimated salary: $70,000 per annum

#11. Runner

A runner is in charge of administration. He or she carries out administrative tasks and ensures the smooth running of all responsibilities delegated to other departments. Runners are paid an hourly rate or a daily wage.

Tips: Apply for an internship role in any movie house as a production assistant and work your way up.

Average estimated salary: $200/day

#12. Hairdresser/Makeup Artist

A hairdresser makes sure that every actor or actress’s hair suits their roles and the scenes they appear in. The makeup artist also creates different looks on the actors and actresses to shoot their scenes. These professionals are always on standby during the shoot.

Tips: Experience is key. Besides undergoing courses as a trainee, apply to work in a salon to brush up your skills.

Average estimated salary: $30,000- $75,160

#13. Costume Designer

A costume designer arranges all the attires to be worn by the cast. If there are hundreds of scenes, the designer may need to bring hundreds of costumes to match the scenes. A lot of fashion expertise is required to get a costume designer contract for movie production. This is another job in the film industry that pays well.

Tips: Work as an intern under a professional costume designer to gain valuable experience and establish contacts with other industry professionals.

Average estimated salary: As high as $7,500/day in big production outfits

#. 14 Sound Engineer

The sound engineer monitors sound recordings. They make sure that the recordings are clear and within range. The engineer may also be responsible for producing soundtracks for the movie.

Tips:  While you may not require an academic degree to work as a sound engineer, you need to have a good ear for sound so you can spot errors during and after production. You also need to know how to work with recording equipment.

#15. Cinematographer

This is one of the crown jewels of the movie production. This professional is both the creative eye and ear of the production. He or she works behind the camera and ensures that all the movie’s essential elements come to life. The cinematographer keeps an open eye for errors that the director may not see.

Tips: Gain valuable experience in any of the other roles on this list. You may also need to study Cinematography as a discipline.

Average estimated salary: $64,000 and above per annum/per movie


Although it can be relatively tough to land a job in the film industry, you can work your way up by doing internships at production outfits and taking training courses to improve your skillset. If you would like to apply for an internship as a production assistant in any movie, review this production assistant cover letter example and upgrade your resume to brighten your chances even further. Patience, planning, training, and constant networking will help you climb the ladder of success.

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