A film director is someone whose job is to ensure that every component of a film runs smoothly. Generally, directors work on a film from its conception stage to its final delivery stage. They direct how each movie scene unfolds, the appropriate props to be utilized, how each character should look, and which actor should play a specific role.
Directors also work together with individuals in charge of lighting, scenery, writing, and other professionals involved in film production, to make sure that a film’s production goes well.
A film director controls a film’s artistic and dramatic aspects and visualizes the script while guiding the technical crew and actors in the fulfilment of that vision.
They scrutinize scripts to make sure that it is coherent and clear, and they decide the artistic performance of each actor. Directors also guide actors in understanding and interpreting the persona of their characters. Oftentimes, they explain the characters’ motivation for a particular action or give a back-story to a particular happening in the movie. A directors main job is to help actors give their best in a movie.
Responsibilities of a film director
- read scripts
- work with writers and provide feedback on the further development of scripts
- select actors – sometimes working with casting directors and producers during this selection process
- monitor rehearsals
- direct actors during the filming
- select locations for filming
- hold meetings with key departments such as the camera, art and costume departments during the planning stages and throughout the filming
- reconcile the budget and schedule of the film with the producer
- be responsible for staying on budget and schedule
- supervise all creative aspects of the production
- work with the editor to present the final version of the film
- select music for the final film and/or work with a composer to decide on the musical score
- build and develop a network of contacts including writers, producers, film festivals and public funding bodies
- maintain contemporary technical skills
- have an awareness and knowledge of emerging industry trends.
Skills required as a Film Director
Creativity is a necessity since directors tell stories through films. How the story is told — the mood, timing and pacing, visual style — requires strong creative vision and imagination. Additionally, being creative allows the director to work with others who use creativity in the film, including writers, musicians and actors.
Communication on a movie set keeps things running smoothly. The director must, for instance, be able to give understandable instructions to actors, eliciting powerful performances. The technical crew — those in lighting or camera work or props — look to the director, as well. The film itself can be considered one long communication from the director to the audience, accomplished in the medium of cinema. A fundamental aspect of communication is having something to say and choosing the best way to say it. Verbal and visual fluency allows directors to assertively and persuasively communicate.
Leadership and Management
With so many aspects of a movie under a director’s control, management skills are vital. Keeping the big picture in mind while attending to particulars, deploying appropriate personnel, organizing, scheduling, delegating, decision-making — such management skills get a work-out on a daily basis. Additionally, a director must lead, inspiring trust and respect so that others support and fulfil the director’s vision.
Without technical know-how, a director would be hard-pressed to give instruction or even understand how to start to accomplish the creative requirements of a film. Deciding shots, an understanding of the role light plays, knowing how to edit what was captured during production — such considerations take technical knowledge that must come through training and experience. Technology changes rapidly in the film industry and directors must stay abreast of trends.
Education and Training
There is no standard course of training to become a film director, though any real-world or academic experience that adds to communication, leadership, management and technical skills helps. Undergraduate and graduate courses exist in each of those areas, and there are whole schools devoted to film. Online offerings, DVDs and books, many created by film professionals, also serve to guide. With or without school, prospective directors need liberal exposure to film sets.
Taking entry-level jobs, such as production assistant, gives would-be directors access to sets where they can observe the moving parts of a production and study how directors make it all come together. Creating independent projects lets budding directors apply knowledge in real-world settings, learning from trial and error.
Educational Requirements for a Film Director
Obtaining a film degree means gaining foundational knowledge while also specializing in a specific field in film production. Since different careers in the film industry require varied skill sets, many film degrees allow students to specialize in a particular area of interest.
Many film directors have attended a film school to get a bachelor’s degree in film or cinema study. In film schools, students are taught the fundamental skills involved in film making.
Here are some universities you can consider for a bachelor’s degree in Film studies:
Columbia College, Chicago: Dedicated to academic excellence and long-term career success, Columbia College Chicago creates a dynamic, challenging, and collaborative space for students who see the world through a creative lens.
Columbia College Chicago is an undergraduate and graduate institution whose principal commitment is to provide a comprehensive educational opportunity in the arts, communications, and public information within a context of enlightened liberal education. Columbia’s intent is to educate students who will communicate creatively and shape the public’s perceptions of issues and events and who will author the culture of their times.
Tuition for international students will cost $–$28,118
Emmerson College At Emerson’s Department of Visual and Media Arts, the process of transforming your vision into reality is fast-paced, exciting, and rewarding. You’ll dive right in and start working with talented mentors, collaborators, and crew members from day one.
The Department of Visual and Media Arts offers a curriculum designed to provide students with a comprehensive education in various media arts, including screenwriting, film, TV, sound design, interactive new media, game design, photography, and others. The department offers two tracks within its Bachelor of Arts (BA) Curriculum: Media Arts Production and Media Studies, as well as a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in Media Arts Production.
Tuition for international students will cost $50,240
New York University The breadth of excellence across the departments at New York University is unique and world-renowned. You can earn a BA, BFA, MA, MFA, MPS or PhD in a wide range of disciplines that are uniquely integrated within one school. Artists and scholars come from around the world to study acting, dance, cinema studies, collaborative arts, design for stage and film, dramatic writing, film and television, game design, interactive media arts, interactive telecommunications, moving image archiving and preservation, musical theatre writing, performance studies, photography, public policy, and recorded music.
Tuition for international students will cost $23,873
Career Specializations in Film Directing
A cinematographer is also known as the Director of Photography, often shortened as DOP. A cinematographer is in charge of the entire camera and light crews working on a movie set, television production or any other motion picture, they direct the artistic and technical aspect of the screen image.
The cinematographer uses the appropriate camera, film stock, lenses, filters, and other equipment to bring about movie scenes in accordance with the creative direction of the film director.
The role of a film producer is important to the successful production of a film. A producer is in charge of script development, pitching, marketing, budgeting, and distribution.
Film producer concerns themselves with the commercial side of the business. They are in charge of strategies to make the film commercially successful. From the inception, producers plan and coordinate all the aspects of film production, like script selection, editing, directing, and sponsorships.
Screenwriters are responsible for writing and developing screenplays for films or TV drama. Their script can be based on their own original creative idea or by adapting an already published story for a screenplay.
The animation director directs all aspects of animation involved in the production of a film or television.
Job Outlook For Film Directors
As with many professions, the earnings of professionals in the film industry is based on expertise and experience. Therefore, the wages of film Directors increases as they gain work experience.
The Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS) in the U.S puts the median annual wages of film and video editors at $62,650.
Typical Employers of a Film Director
- Broadcast corporations such as the BBC, Channel 4 and Sky;
- Independent production companies;
- Television Stations
- Advertising agencies
Salary Estimates for Film Producers
According to Ziprequiter.com, the average annual pay for a Film Producer in the United States is $58,857 a year.
Payscale.com puts the average film and tv producer salary at $69,804 and the average salary for an Executive Producer at $97,949.
Postgraduate Options for Film Directors
MFA in Film & Media Art, Emerson College The Department of Visual and Media Arts offers the Master of Fine Arts degree in Film and Media Art. This program provides students with the opportunity to develop as creative professionals and media artists, working with image and sound to entertain, inform, persuade, and challenge, using both traditional and emergent media forms. Students develop an understanding of the disciplines of film, video, audio, and interactive and multimedia production, bringing this understanding to bear on works of film and media art.
MFA in Film Directing; American Film Institute Conservatory AFI AFI gives Directing Fellows the crucial time, space and resources to craft their own distinct voice while guaranteeing them the opportunity to direct over the course of two years. In a program that emphasizes visual language and collaboration, Fellows team with other disciplines to shoot three narrative films and produce a thesis film in their final year to create a polished directing portfolio.
MFA Cinema and Television Directing, Columbia College Chicago As a master’s candidate in the Cinema and Television Directing program at Columbia College Chicago, you’ll learn how to craft character-driven narratives, work with producers, lead a crew, and create diverse and authentic films grounded in the human experience. You’ll complete intensive study in screenwriting, cinematography, editing and sound, and direct your own scripts and those written by others. You will study and have the opportunity to work on both stand-alone short films and series production.
Careers Related to Film Directing
Broadcast engineers work in television, radio and podcasts to make sure programmes are broadcast at the right times and of the highest quality. You might work on studio and outside broadcasts (OBs), post-production operations, and new media such as interactive TV and webcasts. You may be directly involved in broadcasting programmes, or you might focus on servicing the equipment. You might:
- set up studio equipment for transmission and editing
- design and set up audio and video circuits
- install multimedia hardware, software and other digital broadcast technology systems
Scriptwriter / Screenwriter
A screenplay writer is a writer whose craft involves writing scripts for films, television programs, and other mass media productions. A scriptwriter prepares scripts on which talk shows, comedies, soap operas, dramas that appear on television, in films, and on stage are based.