How much does a film director make in a year? – Independent Filmmaking Tips From Directors

Based on what you know, what is the expected salary for a film director in the United States? How would you feel if you were a freelance film director making less than ten thousand dollars per year?

This is a very interesting question, because the only thing we know for sure is that filmmakers who do not work in big Hollywood studios make much less than $100,000 per year, a figure that varies wildly among studios and directors. The average wage for a director’s assistant in Hollywood may be less than $10,000, but when you add in all the perks and benefits typically associated with a production company the price can shoot up into the millions.


As for what we know about the average salary for a film director, we have a general idea of the median salary—although I don’t know how much it is or who makes it. As with salaries for other film professionals, we have to make some assumptions, but there are a few assumptions we can make:

* The median director of photography in a major U.S. movie studio has about a $100,000 per year job, as reported by Moviepilot. While there is no way to know what a director actually makes in a typical year, this is a rough ballpark figure.

* The average director of the type in question who is involved with the film is also well out of that range. According to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the median director of photography for a major film studio today earns about $150K/year.

* It’s also worth noting that it is only about 40% of movie directors who regularly work on features. Of those, about 20 percent work on independent films that receive a lot less publicity and are not seen anywhere but theatres.

It is also worth noting that there is a large pool of qualified directors in film and video, including many directors who don’t appear in the film industry. It’s just that a small sliver is used for the director’s salary at a studio, and the rest is split between perks and overhead.

In addition, this raises some important questions including, how do filmmakers, who earn the majority of their money on film, earn enough on non-filmic works, and have enough to cover the overhead costs.
Robert Bresson - Film Director Quote - Movie Director ...

Finally, another question is how can independent film directors make a decent living? Is every filmmaker so self-sustaining that the amount they take in per year is sufficient to afford a well-deserved retirement at

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