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10 jobs for TV junkies

By Candace Corner
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( -- You long for the days when waking up early on Saturday meant curling up on the couch with a bowlful of sugary cereal and Saturday morning cartoons. Life was simple then, with plenty of room for playtime and your favorite television programming, but somewhere along the way your life went from after-school special to prime-time drama, and a busy work lifestyle to boot.

But just because you're no longer able to clock in ample couch time doesn't mean your relationship with TV has been cancelled. Game show hosts, actors and reality show contestants represent only a few career choices on the glamorous side of the glowing screen, while screenwriters, film editors and animators represent some of the jobs that will have you working behind-the-screens.

So set your TiVo or take a few commercial breaks and consider some of these jobs for TV junkies:

1. Animatorexternal link

What they do: Use art and computer applications to create and manipulate images that convey a story or meaning and create the illusion of motion. The work can include 2-D animation, used for cartoons, or 3-D computer generated animation.

What it pays: The median annual salary is $40,000.*

2. Camera operatorexternal link

What they do: Working under the instruction of a director, the camera operator sets up cameras and supporting equipment such as lights, tripods and headphones to assist with on-site and studio television footage.

What it pays: The median annual salary is $44,000.

3. Broadcast captionerexternal link

What they do: Provide captioning for offline productions, including pre-recorded television programs or movies, or for real-time captioning, such as live news broadcasts.

What it pays: The annual salary starts at $35,000, and may earn between $60,000 and $120,000.

4. Broadcast news reporterexternal link

What they do: Evaluate leads on events and information, write stories based on those findings and communicate the results through televised news reports.

What it pays: The median annual salary is $32,500.

5. Film/video editor for broadcast/televisionexternal link

What they do: Oversee, assemble and establish the final post-production shots of a televised project. Editors work under the director's requests to cut and develop the final collaboration of a televised product, which includes overseeing the quality and progress of audio and vision engineering, upgrading tape to higher quality resolution, and experimenting with the style of the edit.

What it pays: The median annual salary is $35,000.

6. Executive producerexternal link

What they do: Work closely with the directors and other production staff, overseeing the televised project from conception to completion. Duties include aiding in directing, researching scripts and maintaining the budget for the project's creation, distribution and marketing.

What it pays: The median annual salary is $75,000.

7. Promotions producerexternal link

What they do: Plan, write, produce and edit on-air information used for marketing, promotions, fund-raising and other activities. Duties may include aiding in planning promotional special events, checking production in correlation with industry regulations and/or other related tasks.

What it pays: The median annual salary is $40,000.

8. Directorexternal link

What they do: Lead the show production and are responsible for guiding the actors and pointing the cameras in a way that translates the script according to his/her vision. Directors need to have an understanding of all of the technical work, as well as how to work with their actors to carry out the scenes.

What it pays: The median annual salary is $43,890.

9. Staff writerexternal link

What they do: Create and develop dialogues, characters and situations for the television series.

What it pays: The salary ranges between $60,000 and $80,000 annually to start. The Writer's Guild of America sets minimum rates, and writers may earn royalties.

10. Casting directorexternal link

What they do: Break down the script by role, age and characteristics. After creating a list of potential actors, the casting director leads the auditions and negotiates their salary rates.

What it pays: The median annual salary is $52,162.

*Salaries from, The Bureau of Labor Statistics, The Writer's Guild of America, CNNMoney and

© Copyright 2007. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority

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