3 entertainment jobs that don’t require artistic skill

It is awards season, a time when film, TV and music lovers get to celebrate the art that meant the most to them the previous year. Big winners thus far include “The Bear,” “Succession” and “Oppenheimer.”

One great component of the awards is that in addition to those behind the mic or in front of the camera, they highlight contributors that don’t always get as much attention. In music this could be the engineers, for example. In film this could be the cinematographers or editors.

In fact, the arts are packed with jobs that people might not know about, and many don’t require any specific artistic talent.

“The arts are an ecosystem with a very diverse group of jobs that facilitate the creation and distribution of art,” says Bill Kramer, CEO of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which puts on the Oscars. “There are many, many entry points.”

Here are three jobs in the arts that don’t necessarily require an artistic flair, including their requirements and median annual salaries according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Electrician

Electricians are needed in virtually every type of performing art such as theatre, dance and comedy.

“If you look at any film set, TV set, our ceremonies, the stage production — in just raw head count, the majority of the contributors to that production came into it through the trades,” says Adam Sharp, president and CEO of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, which organizes the Daytime Emmys, the Sports Emmys, the News and Documentary Emmys and so on. Those trades include electricians.

If they “don’t do their job, we’re screwed,” says Heather A. Hitchens, president and CEO of the American Theatre Wing, which puts on the Tony Awards.  

Requirements: High school diploma, apprenticeship, state license

Median electrician salary: $60,240

Fundraiser

Lawyer

In entertainment, lawyers abound. That’s in part because the work looks so different project to project and artist to artist.

In music, for example, if you’re an artist, “your whole career is very segmented,” Jennifer Justice, Jay-Z’s former lawyer of 17 years and current CEO of the Justice Dept., previously told Make It. “You sign with a record company for a record deal to release the actual recordings of your song. If you actually write the music, then you do a publishing deal.” There are sponsorship and merchandising deals as well — a lawyer would handle all of these.

In film and television, a screenwriter might get a lawyer to help negotiate their writing deal for a given project, for example, including parameters like pay.

To become an entertainment lawyer, consider taking classes specific to that niche during law school and apply to work at either an entertainment company or law firm that handles entertainment when you’ve gotten your license. Entertainment lawyer Jonathan Handel also recommends reading books such as “The Business of Television” and “The Biz” that could give a good, clear sense of the industry.

Education: Graduate degree in law and state license

Median lawyer salary: $135,740

Big picture, “you name me a job, we need it in the entertainment industry,” says Maury McIntyre, president and CEO of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, which puts on the Emmy Awards. Accountants, doctors, marketers, stage managers, etc. “If you have a job, we could find a place for you,” he says.

If you’re keen to find a role in entertainment, research the big companies in the specific sector you’re interested in and peruse their job boards. Organizations like the American Theatre Wing and the Recording Academy, which puts on the Grammys, also offer programs “for upskilling or onboarding or filling people in as to what they can do if they really have a passion for the industry,” say Harvey Mason Jr., president and CEO of the Recording Academy.

There were 97,000 open roles in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector in December 2023, according to BLS.

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