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Film Industry Jobs in Chicago

Chicago continues to attract feature film productions from around the world, which in turn, generates film jobs for locals in the Windy City. Chicago is one of the few cities in America to offer a 30% tax credit on all production costs. This has lured high-profile, big-budget films to the city, including Boss (2016), Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2014), and Divergent (2013).

Some of the top cities for finding jobs in the film industry are Los Angeles, NYC, Chicago, San Francisco, and Miami. You could build a successful career in film industry in any one of these cities. However, out of those cities, Chicago ranks fourth in terms of the total number of film industry jobs available and the average level of salaries in the field. Among those cities, about 5% of all film industry jobs are located in Chicago.

In Chicago, the most popular film industry jobs are Art Directors, Editors, Writers, Set Designers, Cinematographers, Production Assistants, and Directors.

The top ranked schools in Chicago with programs and degrees in film industry are Columbia College Chicago ($41,850 per year, out-of-state), Northwestern University ($48,624 per year, out-of-state), and University of Chicago ($50,997 per year, out-of-state), according to rankings published by the Hollywood Reporter and Hack College in 2016.

According to Glassdoor, some of the highest-rated film industry companies in Chicago include Cinespace Chicago Film Studios, Digital Kitchen, and Turner Broadcasting.

The majority of professionals working in the film industry started out as assistants. You could be a personal assistant to a famous actor. Or a production assistant working on the set of a TV show. Or an assistant to a studio executive at Disney. The assistant role allows candidates, with sometimes little to no experience in entertainment, work with established and high-profile professionals in the industry. The ideal assistant role for you will depend on your career objectives, but you ultimately want to assist someone who has the job you aspire to.

The following are estimates of salaries and wages for film industry jobs in Chicago, which were compiled from, Glassdoor, and the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Cinematographers and Photographers - $51,000 per year, or $24.52 per hour

Art Directors - $94,000 per year, or $45.19 per hour

Actor - $32,000 per year, or $15.38 per hour

Producer and Directors - $88,000 per year, or $42.31 per hour

Set Designers - $60,000 per year, or $28.85 per hour

Editors - $66,000 per year, or $31.73 per hour

Sound Engineers - $40,000 per year, or $19.23 per hour

Writers and Authors - $71,000 per year, or $34.13 per hour

Professionals working in the film industry in Chicago also tend to work in the following industries, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics: Design, Advertising/Marketing, Online and New Media, Feature Films, Blog or Vlog Production, Scripted Television, Technology.

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