Under-The-Radar Hollywood Jobs

By Amy Bell | May 11, 2010 AAA

Ever since you were a wee lad or lass, you've dreamed of working in Hollywood. Unfortunately, you have a face only a mother could love and your acting skills make Jean-Claude Van Damme look like a thespian genius. Or maybe you're a supremely talented actor, but you can't stand the thought of subsisting off of raw organic vegetables and racing from rabid paparazzi for the rest of your days. (Job security isn't a priority in Hollywood. Find out more in 9 Famous Celebrity Firings.)

In Pictures: Celebrities With Big Dreams That Paid Off

Have no fear. You can rub elbows with the stars without stepping in front of the camera yourself. If you're not spotlight-ready but you long to work in entertainment, check out some of these "under the radar" Hollywood jobs.

Marketing Guru
Believe it or not, your marketing or advertising degree could be your ticket to Hollywood. After all, almost every major movie distribution company has an internal marketing or public relations department. Why not apply for a job as a promotions coordinator or marketing manager with one of these movie-making giants?

And if you can't score a job with a big-name movie distribution company, there are plenty of other TV and movie marketing positions out there. You could always apply for marketing and promotion jobs within broadcast or cable TV networks, like NBC, ABC, HBO, TNT and FX.

According to the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), marketing managers earn an average annual income of $120,070.

On-Set Teacher
If you're a certified teacher, there's a place for you in Hollywood as well. How do you think all those busy child stars get schooled while they're making movies? The highly-paid urchins have on-set tutors and teachers to keep them on-track with their reading, writing and arithmetic.

As a matter of fact, under California law, child actors are required to attend school at least three hours a day, five days a week while they're on the job. In other words, there's a lot of education going on behind the scenes. Just think: you could be Jaden Smith's or Abigail Breslin's next personal tutor.

According to the BLS, elementry, middle- and high-school teachers earn an average of between $50,000 and $55,000 per year.

Sound Mixer
Do you have an ear for booming explosions, spine-tingling screams and the gentle pitter-patter of rain? Can you detect the softest whisper and the faintest fly buzz? Then you may have what it takes to be a production sound mixer.

A production sound mixer is a film crew member that handles - you guessed it - all the sound and sound effects for a movie or television production. From choosing the right microphones to recording sound effects to mixing audio signals, the sound mixer and his or her crew plays an important role in the film process.

Although you're not required to have a college degree to become a sound crew member, it helps to have a keen ear and an understanding of audio equipment. Be prepared to work your way up. Typically, a sound mixer producer starts off as a boom operator, which is the bottom of the sound crew totem pole.

Recent statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggest that workers in this field earn between $40,000 and $54,000 per year.

Hair Stylist or Makeup Artist
Of course, we all know that a celebrity's most important job is to look good. After all, an actor or actress is not ready for their close-up until every hair has been smoothed, the powder has been puffed and the lip gloss applied. That's where on-set hair stylists and makeup artists comes into play.

However, this job isn't as easy as it may seem at first glance. Some Hollywood makeup artists and hair stylists face much bigger challenges than just covering up a few laugh lines and taming frizzy hair. For example, if you're working on a set filled with aliens, monsters or other strange creatures, you'll have your work cut out for you. If you doubt the importance of makeup and hair in show business, consider this: there are awards shows dedicated to exceptional hair and makeup in films.

According to the BLS, hairdressers, hairsytlists and comsmetologists earn an average $27,070 nationwide. However, those who do makeup for theatre or performance take in an average of $45,000.

Entertainment Lawyer
Although "entertainment lawyer" may sound like an oxymoron, it's actually a legitimate and often high-paying job. If you're about to start law school, but you've also got the itch to work in show business, consider specializing in entertainment law. Entertainment lawyers handle everything from contract negotiations and intellectual property cases to employment law issues and copyrighting matters. (Even if you're a traditional lawyer, you can still profit from Hollywood. See Why Celebrity Lawyers Make The Big Bucks for more.)

On average, lawyers earn $129,000 per year according to BLS statistics. SalaryExpert.com puts the pay for entertainment lawyers within that range as well.

Set Medic
"We need a medic on-set stat! Sarah Jessica has a splinter in her finger, and we're pretty sure Hugh stubbed his toe." If you're a health professional and don't mind responding to these kind of medical emergencies, you may be just the man or woman for the set medic job.

Many movie production companies keep paramedics, doctors, chiropractors and even physiotherapists on set. Of course, the type of movie you're working on may determine the seriousness of your job. For example, if you're working on a romantic comedy, you may simply tend to a few scrapes and bruises. On the other hand, if you're hired as a medic on a blockbuster war movie, you could be responding to more serious injuries, like burns, cuts and broken limbs. (For more on the medical career path, check out High-Paying Healthcare Jobs.)

Set medics may be EMTs, paramedics or nurses. As such, their pay tends to fall in the $30,000 to $45,000 range.

Star Search
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to under the radar Hollywood jobs. If you're ready to see stars without becoming one, there are innumerable behind the scenes showbiz jobs out there. Before you know it, you could see your name in lights - of at least watch it race by during the closing credits.

Feeling uninformed? Check out the financial news highlights in Water Cooler Finance: Greece Is Burning And Buffett's Under Fire.

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