Academy Awards Jobs: Behind the Scenes
Glitz, glam and garbage cans overflowing: These are all realities of one of Hollywood's biggest nights, the Academy Awards. Started in 1929, the Oscars, as they're more fondly known, bring leading directors, writers, and actors into the spotlight. But, who's making sure that the light works and shines in the right spot?
Online salary and career site PayScale.com takes you to the "concrete carpet" at the Academy Awards to find out about the workers who are making the whole event come together. We've put together a list of essential players, their typical level of education, their median pay and their pay in the 90th percentile. Why include the 90th percentile earners? We figured that only the best get invited to work the Oscars -- so they're likely paid more than the folks with average skills.
Want to work at the Academy Awards? Below we highlight a few of the positions that are essential to making the night go smoothly. You can also view the entire "Behind the Scenes at the Academy Awards" package to learn about more of the unseen and important people working on the night when Hollywood shines brightest.
90th percentile annual pay: $135,000
The person in charge of security for the Oscars has to begin working well in advance of the big night. Where are the entrances to the theater? When will the celebrities arrive? How close will the public get to them? From the precious envelopes with the names of the winners to the exiting audience members, security experts have plenty to protect.
2. Set designer
90th percentile annual pay: $107,000
The special flourishes for certain presentations, and the basic backdrop used for announcing winners, need to flow seamlessly together, wowing the audience as they come and go. The Oscars require several set designers to make sure that each moment of the night is beautifully framed.
90th percentile annual pay: $70,400
Only the best number crunchers get to add up the votes for the many Oscar awards, such as Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor and Best Makeup. The internationally renowned firm PwC takes care of the vote counting, with top accountants working under the scrutiny of partners in the firm.
90th percentile annual pay: $96,500
Certainly, the most famous players in the Academy Awards show, next to the celebrities, are those who design the fabulous frocks. Oscar de la Renta, Donna Karan, Prada, Versace, Michael Kors – these are names we hear over and over as stars walk the red carpet. And, while those big names likely make much more than the 90th percentile in pay, the up-and-coming designers making a new splash on the red carpet may make this salary.
90th percentile annual pay: $74,400
You can just imagine this person backstage, dressed in black, with a mic in their ear and a clipboard in their hand. All of the entrances and exits on the stage throughout the night must happen at exactly the right moment so that the cameras capture everything and the evening ends at a reasonable time.
6. TV Producer
90th percentile annual pay: $102,000
This person is in charge of making sure the Academy Awards start on time and are a big money-maker for the advertisers, TV stations and other players involved. Producers make the business and financial decisions for show. They may hire the talent, the director, and key production workers. This gig sounds stressful, so no wonder the best TV producers earn six-figures.
90th percentile annual pay: $95,500
The production manager makes sure everything needed to put the show together is ready, on time, and functional. They are the point person on the ground. This work could include hiring and scheduling the camera crew, telling the actors when to show up and ensuring that the lights needed for the stage are ready to go. And, if a presenter doesn't show up to do their part of the show? It's the production manager's job to come up with a solution.
All About the Oscars:
- Oscar Predictions: Who Will Win at the 2011 Oscars? [Moviefone]
- Top Five Tips for an Affordable, A-List Oscars Party [WalletPop]
- Oscar Winning Real Estate [Real Estate]
- This Year's Oscar Nominees Are Hits With the Public, Too [DailyFinance]
- How An 11-Year-Old Entrepreneur Crashed the Oscars [AOL Small Business]
Source: The median pay shown for each job title reflects the typical total cash compensation for that position across all locations and industries. Total cash compensation includes base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable. It stands to reason that those who secure a job behind the scenes at the Academy Awards will be paid on the higher end of the pay distribution. For this reason, we also include the 90th percentile pay as an approximate measure of top earners in the field. Levels of experience vary depending on the job requirements for each position. The typical level of education of people in these job positions is also listed.
Bridget Quigg is the web content editor for online salary database PayScale.com.
Located in Seattle, Wash., Bridget specializes in writing and editing content for blogs, websites and feature articles.
Bridget graduated from Stanford University with a degree in English. She teaches creative writing and is also a songwriter who regularly performs music and comedic story-telling in the Seattle area and beyond. Her most recent one-woman show was titled, "Almost Female: A Jockette's Awesome Journey."