In 2002, there were about 360,000 wage and salary jobs in the motion picture and video industries. Most of the workers were in motion picture and video production. They are involved in casting, acting, directing, editing, film processing, motion picture and videotape reproduction, and equipment and wardrobe rental. Although seven major studios produce most of the motion pictures released in the United States, many small companies are used as contractors throughout the process. Most motion picture and distribution establishments employ fewer than 10 workers.
Many additional individuals work in the motion picture and video industries on a freelance, contract, or part-time basis, but accurate statistics on their numbers are not available. Numerous people in the film industry are self-employed, selling their services to anyone who needs them and often working on productions for many different companies during the year. Competition for these jobs is intense, and many people are unable to earn a living solely from freelance work.
Employment in the production of motion pictures and other films for television is centered in Los Angeles and New York City. Studios also are located in Chicago; Orlando; Irving, Texas; and Wilmington, North Carolina. In addition, many films are shot on location throughout the United States and abroad.