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Production Jobs in Chicago

With television production in the city at an all-time high, Chicago has more production jobs available than ever before. This has been fueled by the city's generous filmmaking tax incentive program. From 2015-2016, notable productions that shot in Chicago include Dick Wolf's "Chicago" franchise, 20th Century Fox Television's "The Exorcist," and Fox's "Empire."

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

Some of the top cities for finding jobs in production tend to be Los Angeles, NYC, Chicago, San Francisco, and Miami. You could build a successful career in production in any one of these cities. However, out of those cities, Chicago ranks fourth in terms of the total number of production jobs available and the average level of salaries in the field. Among those cities, about 6% of all production jobs are located in Chicago.

Many new to production take up the role of production assistant (PA) to break into the industry. This classic production start entails a lot of gopher-esque responsibilities whether it be sending messages between departments, grabbing coffee, handing out scripts, stopping traffic or taking actors to set. This position is great for aspiring producers as the PA can work with people from all departments, building connections across the network of a production.

The other typical entry point to production is the personal assistant job to a director, writer, producer or director of photography. This work consists of more traditional assistant duties. This person may be sending emails on behalf of the person they are assisting, overseeing schedules, running errands, planning events, or arranging meetings. This job can easily lead to future job and career opportunities such as an associate producer title or an apprenticeship.

The top ranked schools in Chicago with programs and degrees in production 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.

In Chicago, the most popular production jobs are Editors, Writers, Production Assistants, Cinematographers, Art Directors, Producers, and Directors.

Professionals working in production in Chicago also tend to work in the following industries, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics: Technology, Design, Advertising, Blog or Vlog Production, Online/New Media.

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

Senior Videographers - $63,000 per year, or $30.29 per hour

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

Broadcast Technicians - $48,000 per year, or $23.08 per hour

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

Production Assistants - $31,000 per year, or $14.90 per hour

Animators - $78,000 per year, or $37.50 per hour

Media Production Directors - $147,000 per year, or $70.67 per hour

Creative Directors - $119,000 per year, or $57.21 per hour

Art Director Assistants - 82,000 per year, or $39.42 per hour

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

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

Graphic Designers - $50,000 per year, or $24.04 per hour

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

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

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

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

Media Production Managers - $81,000 per year, or $38.94 per hour

Multimedia Artists, Animators, and CGI Artists - $69,000 per year, or $33.17 per hour

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