The movie industry is comprised of thousands of different professionals who provide a myriad of services–everything from the cinematographer to the costume designer to caterer. But when most people think of the movie business, three positions typically come first to mind–producers, directors, and actors. And it’s no surprise why–these three professionals have the most control over any given movie. They are typically credited with a film’s success–or blamed for its failure. If you are looking to enter the movie business and are interested in pursuing one (or more) of these three careers, here are the things you should know about what will be expected of you.


  1. Producers. Producers are responsible for finding investors and acquiring the funding for a film. The producer also hires many of the most important professionals to work on the movie.  The producer will also line up a distribution deal to get the film into movie theaters and onto DVD. Although the producer’s role would seem to be mostly in the financial realm, most producers tend to exert a tremendous amount of control over many of the artistic aspects of the film, as well. This can often lead to a clash with the director, who expects (or at least hopes) to be the sole visionary guiding the film. Some famous movie producers include Jerry Bruckheimer, Max and Harvey Weinstein, and Brian Grazer. Increasingly, directors and actors have taken on producing duties, including Sandra Bullock, J.J. Abrams, and Tim Burton.
  2. Directors. The director’s job is to bring a screenplay to life on the screen. To that end, they work closely with the crew, communicating their vision on everything from costuming to lighting to film. If they find fault with the screenplay, the will often alter it to suit the needs of the movie. Perhaps most importantly, they direct the actors, eliciting the best performances out of them. Once the movie has completed shooting, they will work with the editor to cut the film together. Some of the most famous directors working in American film today include Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard, and James Cameron.
  3. Actors. The role of the actor seems simple enough; play the role in which you were cast. But for even the most talented actors, this can involve much preparation. It may be physical; actors may be asked to dramatically change their bodies–gaining or losing weight, for example–to play a role. If the film takes place in another country or era, they will be asked to learn the history and context of that time and place. They may also be required to master an accent, or even a foreign language. All of this must happen before the actor even steps onto the set. Some of the most famous actors today include Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, and Johnny Depp.

Learn the skills you need to take your idea from paper to the big screen.

Real world film education by filmmakers for filmmakers, optimized for today!