Career Profile: TV/Film Director
It’s the one role in media that everybody knows. You’ve heard of Steven Spielberg, James Cameron and Quentin Tarantino and you’ve probably seen at least some of their films. But what does a director actually do and more importantly how do you become one?
There are three mains skills when it comes to being a film and TV director and they are:
Your creativity is important, because you’ll need to develop a strong creative direction for the film or series you are directing. This doesn’t mean that you have to be a stereotypical Hollywood director, as each director has their own unique perspective and skill set, which will produce a unique creative vision for the director. What you will need to develop is your ability to fully form a creative idea and ensure that it is strong enough to withstand production whilst retaining some flexibility to allow for updates and changes.
Your Leadership skills will be required to manage a large team to create the film. These can range from actors, runners, lighting technicians and much more. A great director is an effective leader, they are like a composer of an orchestra able to manage the various teams to create a harmonious experience for the audience, and leaving them unaware of the hard work and dedication that goes on behind the scenes.
Finally, communication is an essential skill because without being able to effectively communicate to your production team about your creative direction or as a leader then you will likely face issues during production of the film or series. Communication is a skill you will often see repeated in many career guides and job roles, and yes whilst most people in the world can communicate to some level, being able to communicate efficiently is a skill that can take a while to master.
On top of the skills above, you will also have to be aware of how the industry works and who is responsible for what, as creating a TV series or film often comes with strict deadlines. Often, directors have gained experience in the industry in other roles before becoming a director which has allowed them to develop within the industry.
To become a director, you do not need a formal qualification, such as a degree. However, many people choose this route as it allows them to develop their skills whilst building a network and keeping on top of industry trends. Often, when starting out, directors will take on multiple responsibilities in the production of the series or film they are working on due to various factors.
What is more important than a degree, is experience in an industry setting. If you’re near a media hub such as MediaCityUK, then be on the lookout for internships and work experience opportunities. If you are not able to easily access an area such as MediaCityUK, then university could be a good option for you as most students will usually develop a network of contacts in industry and most universities will help gain placement for a sandwich year.
If being a director is something you're interested in, why not come along to a DEVA/hack and give it a go? You'll learn from industry professionals and create your own video portfolio in the process!