Directors work closely with producers and writers, embellishing, refining and ultimately realising original ideas into finished programmes or films. They make careful preparations in order to ensure the success of each shooting day. Directors must have a clear creative vision of the project and what materials are required to achieve it, preparing a carefully calculated shooting schedule with the production team, which achieves the required footage within budget and on time.
Skills needed to be a director
- ability to conceptualise ideas and to think visually
- ability to develop a clear sense of style for the production
- precise attention to detail
- methodical approach to work within a high stress environment
- knowledge of the entire production process
- excellent verbal and written communication skills
- ability to lead and to motivate actors and crew
- initiative and problem-solving
- ability to see the broader picture
- diplomacy and sensitivity when working with writers, producers, actors, and crew members
- knowledge of health and safety legislation and procedures
Ways to become a director
Although no specific educational or training qualifications are required for the role of director, a degree in a media-related, drama or specialist subject may provide some useful background information. Wide experience in and knowledge of the production process is essential. Successful completion of specialist training or courses in single and multi-camera directing is often required.
Directors may have started their careers as researchers, becoming script editors, story editors and ultimately directors or producers. Alternatively, they may have worked as runners, second assistants, first assistants or production managers before becoming directors. A lot of television and film directors have come from a theatre background. They may also start their careers in technical roles like camera or editing.
Job role and responsibilities
Directors should understand the significance of scenes and how they fit into the overall structure, as well as knowing what is happening in each scene as it is shot. Directors may suggest changes to the structure or order of scenes in order to create greater dramatic tension. The director’s version of the script (the shooting script) is the blueprint from which all crew members work. Directors are responsible for both creative and technical aspects, working to the projects budget, blocking all aspects of the script in order to keep the production under control, and creating a safe and creative environment for actors to work. Directors must be able to absorb a lot of information while following agreed schedules and simultaneously monitoring performances and technical quality. Directors may be employed by broadcasters or film production companies, or work on a freelance basis.
For more information
- Directors Guild of Great Britain
- BECTU (the creative media trade union)
- The National Film and Television School (NFTS)
- Basic Studio Directing, by R. Fairweather
- Directing Actors, by J. Weston
- Directing and Producing for Television, by I. Cury
- Directing Single Camera Drama, by M. Crisp
- Directing the Documentary, by M. Rabiger
Some other job roles in content creation
Music editors and composers create them original soundtracks while music supervisors and agents cover the legality of using existing songs
Most people enter the script department as script readers or researchers before they can be successful as screenwriters, editors or story producers