Why Work In Film?

Why try to break into film as a “behind-the-scenes” professional? Because the industry is experiencing dramatic growth. The film and video industry is a significant employer, both in California and other parts of the country, of professionals in any number of fields.

Recently, the American Film Marketing Association (AFMA) launched a study on the economic impact filmmakers have on the economy as a whole. Its findings are exciting ones for those eager to work in the entertainment industry – and particularly for people interested in work that does not involve the financial (and emotional) risks associated with such fields as acting. AFMA’s study paints a picture of a mature and growing industry in need of qualified professionals in a wide variety of disciplines.

Filmmakers – both independent and major studios – account for more than 408,000 “direct” jobs nationwide. (This includes people who work as consultants or freelancers.) There are also the motion pictures and visual effects companies involved. The film industry’s “total U.S. economic effect” is estimated at nearly $12.5 billion.

Total production costs of network prime-time television, first-run syndication programs, and cable and pay-TV offerings are estimated at $12.5 billion.

The study closes by acknowledging the “growing demand for content in the entertainment industry” and “the many new formats and opportunities provided by emerging telecommunications and computer technologies.” The industry is, in short, growing fast and likely to continue to do so.

As thought to underscore AFMA’s research, current news stories have pointed to continued strong growth in the entertainment sector. Among the most interesting recent signs of expansion:

In 1996, Disney reported a quarterly earnings increase of 22 percent.

Moviefone — the ubiquitous media company that provides movie listings for 12,000 movie screens in 30 cities nationwide, and advance ticket sales by phone — just reported a quarterly earnings increase of 16 percent.

To be sure, such figures rise and fall, and business shifts can come upon even large and successful companies with very little warning. The production of filmed entertainment clearly represents a major domestic economic success — and a huge export to international markets.