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Production Jobs in California

Production jobs are alive and well in California. The state is home to major Hollywood studios, technology-media giants, and major news outlets, offering an assortment of production jobs from Los Angeles to San Francisco. The vast majority of production jobs are still in Los Angeles. However, San Francisco and Silicon Valley have an increasing number of production opportunities available, as technology companies continue to invest millions into their media platforms.

According to Glassdoor, some of the highest-rated production companies in California include Sony (Culver City), Paramount (Hollywood), Disney (Burbank), NBCUniversal (Studio City), 20th Century Fox (Century City), and Warner Brothers (Burbank).

Many who embark on a career in production, begin as either a production assistant (PA) or personal assistant. Production assistants' duties range from printing and distributing scripts, to blocking traffic to wrangling actors. This pivotal position allows you to make good connections with crew members who may refer you for future projects.

Another common avenue into production is through personally assisting directors, producers, writers or directors of photography in a traditional supporting role. Assisting with emails, drafting letters, running errands, helping with budget and arranging meetings are all examples of responsibilities of this role. A traditional assistant job may translate to an apprenticeship, which is a great gateway to a creative title. Starting as a traditional assistant often proves to be the quickest track to moving into higher level roles in production.

The top ranked schools in California with programs and degrees in production are University of Southern California (USC, $49,464 per year, out-of-state), American Film Institute (AFI, $47,030 per year, out-of-state), University of California Los Angeles (UCLA, $51,990 per year, out-of-state), and California Institute of the Arts ($43,400 per year, out-of-state), according to rankings published by the Hollywood Reporter and Hack College in 2016.

In California, the most popular production jobs are Writers, Editors, Cinematographers, Set Designers, Producers, Directors, and Art Directors.

The top states for finding jobs in production tend to be California and New York, but of the two, California consistently has the highest supply of jobs and highest average wages.

Professionals working in production in California also tend to work in the following industries, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics: Advertising, Marketing, Technology, Blog or Vlog Production, Design.

The following are estimates of salaries and wages for production jobs in California, which were compiled from Salary.com, Glassdoor, and the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Senior Videographers - $70,000 per year, or $33.65 per hour

Art Directors - $121,000 per year, or $58.17 per hour

Broadcast Technicians - $53,000 per year, or $25.48 per hour

Producer and Directors - $125,000 per year, or $60.10 per hour

Production Assistants - $34,000 per year, or $16.35 per hour

Animators - $74,000 per year, or $35.58 per hour

Media Production Directors - $163,000 per year, or $78.37 per hour

Creative Directors - $133,000 per year, or $63.94 per hour

Art Director Assistants - $91,000 per year, or $43.75 per hour

Actor - $35,000 per year, or $16.83 per hour

Sound Engineers - $45,000 per year, or $21.63 per hour

Graphic Designers - $61,000 per year, or $29.33 per hour

Set Designers - $75,000 per year, or $36.06 per hour

Cinematographers and Photographers - $71,000 per year, or $34.13 per hour

Writers and Authors - $83,000 per year, or $39.90 per hour

Editors - $109,000 per year, or $52.40 per hour

Media Production Managers - $90,000 per year, or $43.27 per hour

Multimedia Artists, Animators, and CGI Artists - $83,000 per year, or $39.90 per hour


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