Ministry of Business and Innovation - Occupation Outlook

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Producers and Directors

Job Prospects

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.

How to become a producer or director

Producers and directors oversee the artistic and production aspects of film, television, radio and stage creations.

Their tasks may include:

  • managing artistic and media productions to meet quality, cost and timing specifications
  • formulating and developing organisations' artistic policies and selecting and planning organisations' artistic programs
  • hiring and managing artistic staff
  • controlling the use of media production facilities such as studios and editing equipment, stage and film equipment and rehearsal time
  • directing the formulation of media production strategies, policies and plans
  • studying scripts and scenarios to determine theme and setting
  • assessing locations and staging requirements for productions in association with specialist designers
  • overseeing creative aspects of film, television, radio and stage productions
  • determining lighting, film, shutter angles, filter factors, camera distance, depth of field and focus, angles of view and other variables to achieve desired mood and effect
  • viewing film and video tape to evaluate and select scenes and determine which scenes need to be re-shot
  • planning and organising the preparation and presentation of programs
  • supervising the positioning of scenery, props and lighting and sound equipment
  • assessing technical requirements of productions by studying scripts and discussing program content, set locations and stage directions with production team
  • creating, planning, writing scripts for, recording, videotaping and editing programs.


Qualifications needed

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:

  • Bachelor of Screen Arts or Arts (majoring in film)
  • Diploma in Film and TV production
  • Master of Theatre Arts in Directing.

In order to succeed as a producer or director, having the right attitude and creativity can be just as important as formal qualifications.

Cost of study

Bachelor of Screen Arts/FilmDiploma 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 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.

Tenancy Services: 

Where to study

There are a number of film schools operating in New Zealand, including:

  • Auckland University of Technology, School of Communication Studies, Auckland
  • South Seas Film and Television School, Auckland
  • Unitec New Zealand, School of Performing and Screen Arts, Auckland
  • New Zealand School of Film and Television, Wellington.

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:
New Zealand School of Film: 

Newton College of Business and Technology: 
Auckland University of Technology:
Toi Whakaari:

Completed qualifications

The number of students completing bachelor or diploma qualifications has fallen a little since 2012, 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

Income and employment prospects


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 2019, the average income for directors was estimated to be around $77,700.

Estimated Average Income

Source: MBIE estimates based on Statistics NZ Census and Labour Cost Index

Employment and skill shortages

Producers and directors’ employment

HistoricProjected Growth
2006 2013 2023 2028
1,683 1,755 2,090 2,320
  0.6% 2.9% 1.7%

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.

Employment chart

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections

Outcomes after qualification completion*

OverseasIn further studyReceiving a benefitIn employmentMedian Salary
21% 13% 2% 67% $47,000

Source: Tertiary Education Commission
*Three years after completion of Bachelor Degree - Communication and Media 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 $47,000.

Where to find job vacancies

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.

Trade Me Jobs: 

Career path

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:

Related occupations

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.

  • Art Director
  • Artistic Director
  • Executive Producer
  • Film and Video Editor
  • Film Director
  • Film Producer
  • Media Producer
  • Production Assistant
  • TV Producer

Other information


More information on producers and directors is available on the Careers New Zealand website.

Careers New Zealand:


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