No one ever said you get into the film industry to get rich fast. And now we have statistics to back it up.
It’s well established that jobs in creative industries, such as in the film, TV and advertising industry, are few and far between, plus extremely difficult to break into as a newbie. With this being such a perilous field of work, one might wonder which roles pay the best and where you should be located to have the best opportunity to make a stable living wage.
With that said, Giggster looked at the highest paying roles, though they admittedly omitted a few – such as directors, actors and writers – as the variance and vast sums such roles receive would skew our findings.
The roles the company did look at are more “behind the scenes”, such as location manager whose job it is to find and book filming locations, foley artists who are responsible for enhancing audio effects for films and prop masters, responsible for all the props used in a film.
Without further ado, let’s get stuck in and see what the data Giggster reveals about working within the film industry.
The Top Paying Positions
1. Executive Producer
Average salary: $123,221
Just as for the UK ranking, the person behind all the money is the one who is paid the most in the US film industry. Stan Lee, who has been listed in the credits of many Marvel movies as an executive producer, is the highest-grossing in this role at the box office. Though, honestly, that should be of little surprise. But who knows, perhaps someday you too could make it to those lofty heights.
2. VFX Artist
Average salary: $78,639
Compared to the prior listing, this is a dramatic decrease in earnings – but it is an essential role in the filmmaking process, especially for all your favourite sci-fi and fantasy films. Think back to the Balrog in The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring – that fantastical creature was brought to life almost entirely by the film’s VFX team. So, if you want to use visual effects to bring cool things to the big screen, you can be sure that it pays plenty.
3. Concept Artist
Average salary: $77,760
Coming in at third, concept artists, these are the people who draw up locations, characters, creatures. Drawing up concepts of these things helps inform other crew members to make casting choices, find filming locations and of course, assists VFX artists with their work. It’s a highly creative role, with the added flexibility of being able to work for a company/agency or if you wish, go at it freelance.
The Worst Paid Jobs
Average salary: $30, 897
Whilst it was close at the bottom for the UK ranking, the US was a bit more open – runners are ranked as the lowest paying job in the states. The secretary role of the film industry, lots of running errands and basic office tasks, entering data, filing paperwork and answering the phone. However, perhaps you’ll get to hand a script to a huge movie star, one can dream at least.
2. Production Assistant
Average salary: $37,959
It’s no surprise that production assistants come in at the lower end on this side of the pond, as an entry-level role in the industry. However, one might argue that working so closely with directors and producers, learning the trade is the perfect place for someone interested in film production to start. This is the most obvious path to those director-level big bucks.
3. Hair & Makeup Artists
Average salary: $42,877
At the third lowest salary in the film industry, we have hair and makeup artists, another title that is pretty self-explanatory. These are the people who – surprise – manage the hair and makeup of various cast members. Not necessarily to help them look their best, though, of course, we’re sure that’s of serious concern too. But the main priority is to help cast members properly and faithfully portray their characters in the film. This is yet another role where one can exercise a lot of their creativity.
Here’s the complete table:
If you have a burning desire to tell stories, join the film industry. If you want to get rich, start a religion.