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I specialise in working with individuals and businesses in the Creative Industries. My approach is grounded in mindfulness, and I believe in empowering my clients to take control of their career paths, to achieve their goals.

Emily Maguire UK Career Coach
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Media Jobs and the Director's Chair: A Guide to Becoming a Film Director

Updated: 4 hours ago

Working as a film director involves collaborating with a team of professionals, including actors, cinematographers, producers, and editors. You will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of the production, such as casting, locations, set design, and costumes, to ensure that the final product is of high quality. This post provides an overview of what a film director's job entails and directs you to websites that can help you learn more about this exciting role.

 Job Roles on a Film Set - Film Director

Table of Contents

  1. So, You Want to be a Film Director

  2. Rate of Pay

  3. TV and Media Jobs: Skills and Qualities

  4. Directors should have the skills and qualities of

  5. Useful Subjects

  6. Day-to-Day Responsibilities

  7. Where to Find More Information

  8. Related Careers

1. So, You Want to be a Film Director?

In this first of a series of posts, we will explore the various job roles in the TV and media industry, starting with the role of the Film Director.

If you already know the role you want to apply for and need help writing your CV, see blog posts with my guidance on creating a CV for TV and Media jobs.

So, you want to be a film director but are still determining what skills, qualities and training are needed and are trying to figure out where to start. Any search you do on Google returns hundreds of results, and knowing what information to trust can be daunting.

Most film directing jobs involve working freelance, self-employed, and on short-term contracts, with jobs predominantly found in major cities such as Leeds, Manchester, and London.

Starting as a runner can give you valuable on-set experience and help you build a network of useful industry contacts.

Those already working in the industry will understand how erratic contracts can be and may find they have to support their directing work with supplementary roles as a teacher, passing their skills on to up-and-coming directors.

Related Post: Six Free Website Directories for Finding Film, TV and Media Jobs

rate of pay - Clear glass jar holding coins and a small plant

2. Rate of Pay

What can you expect to earn as a film director?

The average UK salary is £50,440, but this salary is variable and differs in terms of your experience level, the size and type of production you work on and the company you work for.

You may work long, unsociable hours, often evenings and weekends, from home, in a studio, or on location. You may even travel and stay away from home for long periods.

As a director, you will guide and manage a production team comprising actors and crew towards completing the project. You can find yourself directing a variety of projects, including feature films, short films, television shows, commercials, music videos and corporate videos.

Employability Skill Mindmap

3. TV and Media Jobs: Skills and Qualities

Still interested but unsure if you have the right skills and qualities?

There isn't a standard path towards becoming a film director, but having the correct skills and qualities will help you on your career journey.

Directors should have the skills and qualities of:

  • Creativity and artistry

  • Problem-solving and adaptability

  • Ability to pay attention to details

  • Being able to inspire others, including leadership and diplomacy

  • Being self-motivated and able to work to tight deadlines

  • Knowing new technologies and how to edit

  • Understanding the different aspects of the film and television industry

  • Having good stamina, resilience and mental agility

  • Being critical thinkers

  • Good at networking and communicating

4. Useful Subjects

As mentioned earlier, there are no standard routes to directing; however, below are some of the subjects that could be helpful.

  • Business Studies

  • Creative Media

  • Drama or Theatre Studies

  • Editing

  • Film Studies

  • Media Studies

  • Photography

  • Psychology

  • Script Writing

Acquiring a degree in a related subject would be beneficial, including gaining work experience. Making your own short films is also a great way to get comfortable with all aspects of filmmaking, and anything you create can contribute towards your marketing showreel.

The National Film and Television School (NFTS) is highly regarded in the industry and has a range of long and short courses filmmaking courses in media, film and television studies, enabling you to work on all aspects of production.

Film production set

5. Day-to-Day Responsibilities

A typical day-to-day working on set as a director may involve:

  • Discussing the budget with producers or other financiers.

  • Directing production crew, including camera, sound, lighting and actors.

  • Selecting cast and helping them to interpret the script.

  • Reading scripts and giving feedback to writers for further development.

  • Supervising editing and inputting on the final version of the project.

  • Keeping up-to-date on emerging industry trends.

  • Be responsible for keeping the project on time and within budget.

  • Planning the shooting schedule and logistics of the shoot.

6. Where to Find More Information

Still interested in being a film director? Here are some places to find more details about the role. Be prepared to make direct approaches with evidence of your work and a CV detailing your experience.

Organisations like Screenskills and Screen Yorkshire also offer initiatives and subsided training schemes for new talent.

7. Related Careers

Curious about other TV and Media job roles? Have you considered any of the below?

  • Camera Operator

  • Community Arts Worker

  • Film Editor

  • Floor Manager

  • Producer

  • Production Assistant

  • Production Runner

  • Stage Manager

  • Theatre Director

I hope this gave you a better understanding of what it takes to become a film director. If you want to stay updated with the latest industry news and job opportunities, make sure to follow me on LinkedIn.

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