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What Does an Executive Producer Do?

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All of your favorite music, movies and television shows have a cast and crew working to make it happen. Behind the scenes, a crew is planning, delegating, organizing and contributing financially and creatively to these projects to make sure the public sees and hears them. Executive producers are part of that crew.

What is the Definition of an Executive Producer?

According to the Producers Guild of America, an executive producer supervises one or more producers on a project. They may be involved in single or multiple productions. In television, an executive producer may often be the writer, creator or lead in the series. An executive producer will be on the project of a television series or film from start to finish. They are in charge of multiple aspects of the projects including casting and hiring, writing, editing, financial decisions and scheduling.

An executive music producer will handle creative decisions, auditions, song selections and scheduling. Executive music producers oversee the post-production as well, which includes editing songs in the studio. Similar to film and television, executive producers in the music world will pay close attention to budgeting to make sure projects stay on track.

What Does it Take to Become an Executive Producer?

When it comes to getting the job of an executive producer, a lot of hard work will precede it. Most producers will have an education background with at least a bachelor’s degree. Students who strive to become an executive producer in the film or television arena will study film, cinematography and filmmaking. As of 2017, there are over 180 postsecondary institutions that provide programs in theater arts, as per the National Association of Schools of Theatre. While a background in film is important, writing and communications can also be beneficial when thinking of a career as an executive producer.

For those looking to pursue a career in music production, bachelor’s programs in art, music production or sound engineering will be a vital foundation to start building your resume. Many schools offer programs with courses geared towards music theory, business, songwriting and marketing for a student to gain a well-rounded education in the music production field. Earning a master's degree in the music business, music technology or music production will also increase your chances of gaining a position in music production.

Along with education, work experience is paramount to work your way up the ladder in the entertainment industry. Paying your dues and starting off as a production assistant or lower-profile studio job is a great way to get your foot in the door and also build the work experience you will need to be an executive producer. As your reputation in the industry grows, so will your opportunities.

How Much Does an Executive Producer Make Per Year?

According to Glassdoor, the national average salary for an executive producer is $136,961 in the United States. With a salary in the higher range comes long hours and working evenings, weekends and holidays. Many producers and directors do not have a standard workweek due to their ever-changing projects and scheduling.

Executive producers, in any realm of entertainment, have many responsibilities when it comes to working on projects. They contribute creative ideas, casting decisions and a wealth of knowledge as well as financial support at times. High on the totem pole, executive producers are an intricate part of producing the art and media we see and listen to every day.