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How to become a Director

avg. starting salary

Fancy yourself as the next Martin Scorsese/Quentin Tarantino/Jonathan Brooks? You should become a Director… Directors work in the TV, film and theatre industries, taking control of every aspect of a production and making creative decisions that help translate the script into a polished performance. Depending on how hands-on a director wants to be (see also: financial backing), everything from writing the script, choosing a cast and scoping out locations falls on their shoulders. The best are able to execute their vision to the letter, but be warned. For every Scarface, there’s a Sharknado waiting to happen. Typical duties for a Director may include:
  • Writing or commissioning a script
  • Making creative decisions during the pre-production stage, such as choosing a cast and crew or helping to develop storyboards
  • Planning a shooting schedule and choosing shots
  • Directing actors and crew during scenes, and making sure they execute the creative vision
  • Taking control of post-production, and overseeing edits
  • Managing money, and making sure the production comes within the budget

To become a Director, you’ll need an almost unhealthy obsession for your medium. Whether it’s watching the latest Hollywood blockbuster, this year’s Sundance sensation or a long shot for a Laurence Olivier award, being passionate about what you do is absolutely essential. You’ll also need a cool head under pressure. The commercial and critical success of a production falls directly at your door, and being able to handle all the criticism that comes your way and execute your creative vision will be of paramount importance. Other key skills for a Director include:
  • Creativity
  • Accountability
  • Conviction in your own ideas
  • Objectivity
  • Accountability
  • Thick skin
  • Excellent multi-tasking skills

"Being a Director is incredibly difficult, actually. During a production, almost every decision that is made falls directly at your feet. I usually arrive at a shoot a little before breakfast, and have to meet with all the various heads of department before the day gets going. You’re then called upon to direct every shot, every camera, every camera and everything else, for about the next twelve hours or so. And that’s without including the months of planning during pre-production, and the gruelling editing and post-production at the end. My advice for anyone looking to become a Director (apart from getting a great DP or AD) would be make films. All day, every day. Add to your showreel, and learn your craft. And don’t be afraid to fail. Hey, even Steven Spielberg has Howard the Duck."

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