Media producers plan and produce films, television programmes, theatre productions, music, digital content, radio shows, festivals and other artistic activities.
Pay rates for media producers vary as most are self-employed and work on short-term contracts.
Source: Attitude Group and Great Southern Television, 2018.
Pay for media producers varies as most are self-employed and work on short-term contracts where they are paid for each production.
How much they earn usually depends on the size of the production they are working on.
Sources: Attitude Group; Fisheye Films; Great Southern Television; Picture Talk Productions, 2018.
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)
What you will do
Media producers may do some or all of the following:
- choose an idea, script or book to turn into a film, play, video, radio show or television programme
- create, submit and pitch proposals for productions
- secure finance and manage the production budget
- hire, guide and instruct artists and other staff
- oversee the production and work closely with the creative team
- supervise marketing and distribution
- negotiate and liaise with corporate clients.
Skills and knowledge
Media producers need to have:
- skill in assessing scripts, books, plays, music and other media
- a thorough understanding of the industry they are working in, locally and globally, and the processes that go into creating productions
- business and marketing skills, including the ability to create contracts.
- may work long and irregular hours including weekends and evenings
- work in offices, film and television studios, recording studios and rehearsal rooms, and on location
- may travel locally or internationally for productions.
What's the job really like?
Graham Elliott started his career as an editor before becoming a producer and opening his own production company, Picture Talk, in 1990.
Lots of variety
“The variety of the work I do is one of the best things about being a producer. I work with lots of different people and in different environments all the time, so that’s what I like most.”
The key to making sure everything runs smoothly
“Organising, planning and budgeting is a big part of being a producer. As well as producing, I often direct, so I’ve got to think of the creative side of production as well as make sure everything runs smoothly on the day.”
Important to know the production process
“As a producer you’ve got to have a really good understanding of all the different areas of production.
“For example, if you’re asking the crew on a shoot to suddenly change the set and do this other shot that you or the director want, then you have to know if it’s possible or not. It’s the same with all the other areas of production as well.”
There are no specific requirements to become a media producer. However, a tertiary qualification in media production, such as a Bachelor of Broadcasting Communications, may be useful.
It is essential for media producers to have strong industry knowledge as well as experience in the type of productions they want to produce.
Self-employed media producers also need business experience.
There are no specific secondary education requirements to become a media producer. However, accounting, media studies, digital technologies, te reo Māori, design and visual communication, music, dance, and drama are useful.
Media producers need to be:
- excellent at problem solving
- extremely well organised, with good planning skills
- strong communicators and negotiators
- good at creating and maintaining professional and personal relationships
- good at managing and motivating people
- motivated and good at setting goals
- resilient and persistent
- able to work well under pressure.
Organising, planning and budgeting is a big part of being a producer.
Useful experience for media producers includes:
- work in other areas of film, television, stage or music production or direction
- work in the media
- work in visual arts, marketing or arts administration
- management and business experience.
Find out more about training
- Creative New Zealand
- (04) 473 0880 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.creativenz.govt.nz
- NZ Film Commission
- (04) 382 7680 - email@example.com - www.nzfilm.co.nz
- Screen Production and Development Association of NZ (SPADA)
- (04) 939 6934 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.spada.co.nz
What are the chances of getting a job?
Chances of getting a job as a media producer are poor as the entertainment industry in New Zealand is small and there are many graduates with suitable qualifications. Most people enter the industry through an entry-level role such as production assistant.
According to the Census, 1,119 media producers worked in New Zealand in 2018.
Essential to build a portfolio
It is essential for media producers to demonstrate their experience and ability with a strong portfolio of previous work on, for example, short films, plays and web series. Such work provides opportunities to develop skills and gain exposure, but is often unpaid.
Networking is key
The best way to enter the industry is to contact employers directly and widen your networks by attending industry functions and conferences.
Most film and television production work is centred in Auckland and Wellington.
Types of work varied
Media producers may work independently, for production companies and studios, or for advertising agencies.
Media producers may work on:
- radio productions
- theatre, opera or dance productions
- television productions
- music videos
- corporate videos
- online video clips
- short or feature films
- Buckingham, D, general manager, Attitude Group, Careers Directorate – Tertiary Education Commission interview, March 2018.
- Elliott, G, producer, Picture Talk Productions, Careers Directorate – Tertiary Education Commission interview, March 2018.
- Jackson, S, production manager, Great Southern Television, Careers Directorate – Tertiary Education Commission interview, April 2018.
- Roe, T, general manager, Fisheye Films, Careers Directorate – Tertiary Education Commission interview, March 2018.
- Stats NZ, '2018 Census Data', 2019.
- Stats NZ, 'Screen Industry: 2015/16', April 2017, (www.stats.govt.nz).
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)
Progression and specialisations
Media producers may progress to set up their own production companies.
Media producers can specialise in a number of roles, including:
- Digital Producer
- Digital producers co-ordinate and oversee the production of digital content.
- Film Producer
- Film producers put together teams to create films, and plan and oversee the productions.
- Radio Producer
- Radio producers put together teams to create radio programmes, and plan and oversee the productions.
- Record Producer
- Record producers organise, direct and oversee the recording of music.
- Stage Producer
- Stage producers put together teams to create theatrical performances, and plan and oversee the productions.
- Television Producer
- Television producers put together teams to create television programmes, and plan and oversee the productions.
Last updated 20 August 2020