What does a Director do?

A TV or film director is responsible for all things creative on a production. They are responsible for making creative decisions, hence they are involved in all stages of production.

The main responsibility is taking the script, visualising it and turning it into a reality to be captured on camera. During pre-production, they will work with the producers and casting director to secure acting talent. Then they’ll hire the leaders for creative departments – photography, production design, lighting, wardrobe and make-up. The director will work with the heads of each department to develop the film or TV show’s unique style for each.

They’ll put together notes for specific camera shots, recommend slight script edits to capture their creative vision. They sign off on the production design, choreographing actors’ actions and delivery of their lines. They are responsible for combining all the creative elements on each day of filming.

Their work doesn’t just end once the cameras have stopped rolling. In post-production, they’ll also be responsible for editing the film which gets delivered to the producers for sign off.

What skills does a Director need?

Creativity – They need to take a script and visualise it in its entirety. They need to construct a whole new reality for the production.

Leadership – They make sure every creative department is performing at its best. They’ll also need to make executive decisions where creative changes are needed.

Communication – A director needs to communicate their thoughts to each department. Clear, concise communication is crucial to make sure each delivers just how the director had imagined.

Calm under pressure – A live production can be intense, however most directors will thrive in that environment.

Who does the Director work with?

As the creative lead on a production, the director will work closely with each department’s lead, ensuring each can deliver their part of the creative vision and are performing at their best.

Directors will often report to the Executive Producer – who is in charge of the whole production from start to finish.

How to become a Director

There are some well-trodden routes to becoming a director – many top directors have followed similar paths. They have started out as screenwriters and developed their skillset, or they’ve worked they’re way up as an Assistant Director. Some top directors also started out as Camera Operators and became Director of Photography, before their first gig as a Director.

How much does a Director earn?

The importance of a Director for every production cannot be understated, hence they will command top day rates for their services. BECTU recommends the following rates that Directors are paid between £1,300 and £1,750 per day. However, Series Directors can command any rate above £1,600, their history and star power will determine the going rate for a production.