Job Prospects... At a glance
Chances of getting a job as a producer or director are limited because the film, television, radio and stage industry in New Zealand is small, and few paid, full-time jobs are available.
Competition for jobs is strong. An oversupply of students graduating with film, television, radio or stage qualifications means it's difficult for people to establish themselves in the industry.
Producers and directors oversee the artistic and production aspects of film, television, radio and stage creations.
According to the latest information from the New Zealand and Australian online job ads, some of the top skills employers look for include:
Source: Burning Glass Technologies’ Labor Insight™ Real-time Labor Market Information tool
There are no specific entry requirements to become a producer or director. However, many employers prefer you to have completed a relevant production course. A media communications or journalism qualification is useful if you want to become a radio producer.
A portfolio of previous work or experience is useful when applying for jobs.
Some qualifications that aspiring producers or directors can take include:
In order to succeed as a producer or director, having the right attitude and creativity can be just as important as formal qualifications.
|Bachelor of Screen Arts/Film||Diploma in Film and TV Production|
|$19,500 over three years||$11,200 over one year|
Average costs in 2018 for a domestic student. Costs vary between institutions. First time students may be eligible for fees-free tertiary education for their first year of study, which will reduce the total cost. For more information about fees-free eligibility, go to feesfree.govt.nz. Further costs include materials, textbooks, and accommodation.
Rents vary from place to place. Estimated market rents by region, city and suburb are available on the MBIE Tenancy Services website.
The StudyLink website provides general budget advice for students, and the Sorted website provides help with detailed budget planning.
There are a number of film schools operating in New Zealand, including:
Some universities also offer a Bachelor of Arts majoring in film. The Master of Theatre Arts in Directing is offered at Toi Whakaari – the New Zealand Drama School in Wellington.
South Seas Film School: www.southseas.co.nz/index.php
New Zealand School of Film: www.filmschool.org.nz
New Zealand Film Academy: www.nzfilmacademy.com
Newton College of Business and Technology: www.ncbt.ac.nz
Auckland University of Technology: www.aut.ac.nz
Toi Whakaari: www.toiwhakaari.ac.nz
The number of students completing bachelor or diploma qualifications has fallen a little since 2011, with the number of certificates falling, but the number of degrees rising.. Please note that this information is for diplomas and bachelor’s degrees in audio-visual studies, which is not specific to film.
The number of graduates in audio-visual studies far outstrips available employment opportunities.
Qualification completions chart
Source: Ministry of Education
Pay varies widely. Aspiring directors often work for little or no pay, while even established directors may experience long periods between projects. In order to make a living, it is common for directors to also work in other roles, such as film or television editing or production.
In 2017, the average income for directors was estimated to be around $65,300.
|Estimated Average Income|
Source: MBIE estimates based on Statistics NZ Census and Labour Cost Index
Producers and directors’ employment
Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections. Percentages are compound annual growth rates.
*Growth projections are for the broader category “Media Professionals”.
The number of people employed as producers and directors has increased over the past few years. Employment numbers are projected to keep growing, but the number of graduates is still larger than the growth in employment every year.
Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections
|Overseas||In further study||Receiving a benefit||In employment||Median Salary|
Source: Tertiary Education Commission
*Three years after completion of Bachelor Degree - Audio Visual Studies. ‘
Three years after graduating with a Bachelor of Communication and Media Studies, most people where in employment. Some were overseas. The median salary at that point was around $42,000.
Producers’ and directors’ vacancies are advertised through public media such as the websites Trade Me Jobs and Seek. Employment is also often found through contacts, and on the basis of reputation in the industry.
Many directors are self-employed and work as contractors. Once established, directors may get a permanent job at a film or media company.
Producers can also be self-employed, although many work permanently for radio or TV production companies.
Producers and directors may also specialise in one type of work such as working as a radio or theatre producer.
Victoria University of Wellington provides information on potential careers in film on their website.
Victoria University, Film Careers: www.victoria.ac.nz/st_services/careers/resources/career_publications/career_view/film.pdf
The following occupations are related roles or alternative titles. Some of the roles may require a higher level of skill than entry level producers and directors.
More information on producers and directors is available on the Careers New Zealand website.
Careers New Zealand: www.careers.govt.nz
The Australian New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) is the official classification of occupations in New Zealand.
The occupation of producers and directors has been coded to the following ANZSCO codes for the purpose of this report:
2121 – Artistic Directors, and Media Producers and Presenters
2123 – Film, Television, Radio and Stage Directors