Career Profile: Film Director

Career Profile: Film Director

Many people can remember the first time they were touched by a film. Whether it was a touching scene from Gone With the Wind or an epic battle from Star Wars, through storytelling, movies have the power to invoke human emotion. Directing a film is a kind of storytelling. Film directors are responsible for a film's artistic and dramatic aspects while also overseeing technical aspects of a film. A director visualizes beyond the words on the script to a living, breathing, canvas with specific shots, lighting, mood, and emotion -- all painstakingly created for the screen. Through a director's overall vision, a film is born.

The Work of Movie Directing and Producing

The director is responsible for every aspect of a motion picture production, from set design to music to cast decisions. Directors work with actors; makeup artists; cinematographers; writers; and film, sound, and lighting technicians. They determine all the particulars of how scenes are to be shot, from visual requirements to the placement of the actors and the scheduling and budgeting requirements. In most large movies, there are layers of assistant directors, who work directly with technicians and cast members. All directors must ultimately answer to the executive producer, who has the final say on the production.

Directing and producing can be stressful work, with long and irregular hours and pay, and the need to adhere to budgets and union rules.

Education & Training

Many Los Angeles area art schools, colleges and universities offer degree programs in broadcasting, radio, film and TV. Others may offer theoretical media studies, while a few may offer majors in film directing.

Many aspiring directors develop clips of their work as a display of their talent when applying for industrial, television, or commercial directing jobs, which pay well and serve as working credentials. Individuals entering this career should be warned that 20-hour days are not unusual.

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