Employment in the motion picture and video industries is projected to grow 31 percent between 2002 and 2012, roughly double the 16 percent growth projected for all industries combined. Job growth will result from the explosion of programming needed to fill an increasing number of cable and satellite television channels, both in the United States and abroad. Also, more films will be needed to meet in-home demand for videos, DVDs, and films over the Internet. Responding to an increasingly fragmented audience will create many opportunities to develop films. The international market for U.S.-made films is expected to continue growing as more countries and foreign individuals acquire the ability to view our films. As the industry registers employment growth, many more jobs will arise through people leaving the industry, mainly for more stable employment.
There is concern in the motion picture industry over the number of films that are being made abroad. In response to a number of tax breaks offered chiefly by English-speaking countries, especially Canada, U.S. filmmakers have increasingly moved the production of films abroad. Lower budget films, such as made-for-television movies and commercials, have fled in large numbers in order to reduce costs. In addition, more feature films are being made abroad, but mostly for artistic reasons. When film production leaves, it takes away the jobs of most of the noncritical supporting actors and behind-the-scenes workers, who are usually hired locally. To address this issue, several cities and States have initiated tax breaks and other incentives to encourage filmmakers to make movies in their locales. Also, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that offers tax incentives for filmmakers to stay in the United States.
The motion picture industry is also concerned about piracy, which can occur in several ways. For example, as the power and speed of the Internet grows, more movies are being downloaded directly into homes, causing losses in revenue for the motion picture industry. The industry has launched an anti-piracy initiative in order to combat this trend, which potentially could have an adverse affect on employment.
Opportunities will be better in some occupations than in others. Computer specialists, multimedia artists and animators, film and video editors, and others skilled in digital filming, editing, and computer-generated imaging should have the best job prospects. There also will be opportunities for broadcast and sound engineering technicians and other specialists, such as gaffers and set construction workers. In contrast, keen competition can be expected for the more glamorous high-paying jobs in the industry-namely, writers, actors, producers, and directors-as many more people seek a lesser number of jobs. Small or independent filmmakers may provide the best job prospects, because these companies are likely to grow more quickly as the costs of production decline due to digital technology.