film director working

What does a Director Do?

Television directors work in all fazes of production, like supervising auditions, lighting, props, and other areas involved in creating a TV program. They act as a go-between for the other crew members with the producer. Directors work full-time according to the filming schedule and sometimes work under pressure to meet deadlines. If you would love to work in a creative industry, such as film, this can be a career for you! The question is, what do you need to do to become one? Let’s look!

How to Become a Director

Education may be the fastest way to work your way toward a career as a director in this competitive industry. Getting an associate degree in film or a related field is helpful, but most have a bachelor’s degree from a film director college or a bachelor’s degree in fine arts. You can also get a degree in film studies, film production, or a bachelor’s of science.

After a degree, directors generally gain several years of work experience in the motion picture, theater production, or television is expected of a director. Some begin careers as assistants and work their way up to become a director. The National Association of Schools of Theater accredits more than 150 programs in theater arts. Most of these programs include studies in set design, acting, directing, playwriting, lighting, film history, or courses in creating their own films and editing.

Aspiring directors can further their education in two more years by obtaining a master’s degree in film or a related field. This additional education provides more in-depth knowledge of the craft. High school students can take creative writing, photography, business, theatre, and art. So now you are aware of the education, so let’s look at what else you need! Experience!

Employers are looking for people with education coupled with experience in a similar field. So how can you go about doing that? The first step to getting experience is to check if your college offers internships that get you started in writing, film editing, or acting. You can start making short films, learning to do research and other types of low-level jobs. You can consider writing and editing for the school newspaper or covering the sports team, both at school and in the community.

You can also gain experience hiring on with a television station and interning or assisting on the set, helping the crew do small jobs, like setting up cameras, lighting, and other helpful duties. It gives you a great opportunity to observe how the industry works and if it is the career for you! Working in the media can help you make contacts, build helpful relationships, and even get tips on jobs! Patience is necessary as it takes several years to get to the position of the TV director. Hang in there!

Okay, you have gotten the education and some experience, so what do you do now? A Portfolio! Remember that you have quite a bit of competition out there, so you want to make a memorable impression on your interview. Employers want to see proof of your work. That means that any work you have done, for example, the jobs in college, your local community (perhaps you’ve shown you gave back to the community by volunteering in theatre or school newspapers), all the tasks you did at your television station, especially short films; anything that proves your ability, creativity, knowledge, and determination! You have got a great start!

There are specific skills needed to become a television director, like decision-making and communication. They need to have interpersonal skills to work alongside crews, actors, and other professionals. The directors require organizational and management skills. Directors are detail-oriented and need to be sure every area of the film is covered before shooting. Let us show you what tasks a television director does on a daily basis.

Job Description of a Director

Before we get into the duties of a television director, let’s clarify the differences between them and a film producer, as they are often confused. A film producer manages the intricate business side of the project while a director manages the creative side and the activities involved in the project. Whereas, a director wears many hats. Their duties can change daily, like advising actors on performance and conducting rehearsals. They manage the activities of the crew, for instance, the lighting, camera, props, and microphone placements. Directors ensure the smooth running of live broadcasts and other tasks pertinent to the production.

Depending on the type of production, their duties can vary, such as sports documentaries, news, or light entertainment. By interpreting a writer’s script a director can create motion pictures, live theater, television shows, and other performing arts productions. They must select scripts and pick cast members through auditions as well as hire stage or film crew members. In the post-production process they oversee special effects, editing, music and the quality of the overall performance. They are in charge of the production process to include but not limited to choreography, performances, and lighting. He or she is responsible for approving any new changes in production and ensure that they still remain within the budget and meet schedules and deadlines. This can be stressful and result in a lot of pressure.

Larger productions usually have assistants, associates, and line producers to share in the responsibilities of getting the project finished. Work hours can be irregular and often times long. They are required to work weekends, holidays, and evenings. Traveling and working outside is common. This can involve bad weather and uncomfortable conditions at times.

Producer or Director Career Video Transcript

To craft an entertaining production takes both creative vision and leadership skills. Based on a writer’s script, producers and directors create movies, videos, television shows, live theater, and commercials. Producers make the business and financial decisions for a production. They raise money and hire the director and crew. Producers set the budget and approve any major changes to the project. They make sure that the production is completed on time, and hold the responsibility for the final product.

Directors make the creative decisions. They select the cast, run rehearsals, and guide actors’ portrayal of their characters. At early phases, directors work closely with costume and set designers and location scouts to set the right scene. After a film is shot, they consult with the film editors and music directors to ensure the final product matches their vision. For live performances, stage directors support a consistent, strong performance. Work hours in these fields are often long and irregular, and pressure to finish projects on time is constant.

Employment may be temporary, and travel is common… whether to tour with a theater production, or shoot a TV show or movie on location. A combination of a bachelor’s degree and several years’ related work experience is the usual path to enter these fields. A background in acting, film and video editing, or cinematography are typical.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Producers and Directors.

National Center for O*NET Development. 27-2012.01. O*NET OnLine.

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