What Is the Job Description of a Movie Director?

Are you interested in directing movies and perhaps someday having influence in Hollywood along with the likes of Oliver Stone, Quentin Tarantino, and Kevin Smith? With time, talent, and dedication, you could be well on your way to directing movies. But first, keep reading to find out what exactly a movie director does. Schools offering Digital Cinematography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

As a movie director, you will work with screenwriters, actors, and producers to bring entertainment to the movie-watching public. Using your vision and direction to guide the actors, you will bring a script idea to life. As the creative brain behind a movie production, you read through scripts, hold auditions, and select cast members for the movie you are directing. Working with set designers, costume designers, choreographers, composers, and musicians, you will complete the process of putting together all the elements necessary for a movie production.

If you want to be a movie director, you should be prepared to dedicate time and energy into making a successful movie, because your next job often relies on how well you did on your previous project. As a director, you also have to constantly meet and work with your producers to organize the actors and rehearsals of scenes. You have to be prepared to meet with studio heads, investors, and also the technicians who work behind the scenes. You will also have to manage the film budget, adhere to the actor's union rules, and stick to your production schedule.

Important Facts About Directing

Required Education None mandatory
Similar Occupations Actor, Art Director, Assistant Director, Screenwriter, Editor, Producer
Key Skills Creativity, leadership, management, and communication skills
Work Environment A highly stressful, collaborative setting on film sets, at table reads, and in the editing room

Training and Abilities

Employers will want proof that you are creative and talented. You also need to know how to manage and multitask, since you are guiding and directing actors and technicians. Sound judgment, quick decision-making, and critical thinking are also skills you need to have in this career.

Experience in the industry is also a sought-after trait. You could be a screenwriter or an actor, work as an assistant to other directors, or complete formal training to gain experience. Completing a bachelor's degree program with courses in film, communications, theater, or drama may be beneficial for a career as a movie director. You may also consider master's degree programs, such as a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) that has a special focus on directing. In a master's program, you may attend workshops to learn the process of production or work with a mentor on directing projects.

Job Outlook and Salary Info

New York and Los Angeles offer the most opportunities for movie director jobs, because these cities are the main hubs for the entertainment industry in the U.S. But directing opportunities are also available all over the country. If you aren't working on a big movie, you may be able to find related work at festivals, schools, theaters, and cruise lines. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), increasing demand for U.S. movies overseas could create more job opportunities (www.bls.gov). The employment of producers and directors is expected to grow by 12% between 2016 and 2026. The BLS reported in May 2018 that the mean annual wage for directors and producers was $89,840.

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