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Film director

From EverybodyWiki Bios & Wiki

A film director is a person who directs the making of a film. A film director controls a film's artistic and dramatic aspects and visualizes the screenplay (or script) while guiding the technical crew and actors in the fulfilment of that vision. The director has a key role in choosing the cast members, production design, and the creative aspects of filmmaking.[1] Under European Union law, the director is viewed as the author of the film.[2]

The film director gives direction to the cast and crew and creates an overall vision through which a film eventually becomes realized, or noticed. Directors need to be able to mediate differences in creative visions and stay within the budget.

There are many pathways to becoming a film director. Some film directors started as screenwriters, cinematographers, producers, film editors or actors. Other film directors have attended a film school. Directors use different approaches. Some outline a general plotline and let the actors improvise dialogue, while others control every aspect, and demand that the actors and crew follow instructions precisely. Some directors also write their own screenplays or collaborate on screenplays with long-standing writing partners. Some directors edit or appear in their films, or compose the music score for their films.[3]


The film director gives last minute direction to the cast and crew, while filming a costume drama on location in London.

A film director's task is to envisage a way to translate a screenplay into a fully formed film, and then to realize this vision.[4] To do this, they oversee the artistic and technical elements of film production.[3][5] This entails organizing the film crew in such a way to achieve their vision of the film.[6][7] This requires skills of group leadership, as well as the ability to maintain a singular focus even in the stressful, fast-paced environment of a film set.[8] Moreover, it is necessary to have an artistic eye to frame shots and to give precise feedback to cast and crew,[9] thus, excellent communication skills are a must.[10]

Because the film director depends on the successful cooperation of many different creative individuals with possibly strongly contradicting artistic ideals and visions, he or she also needs to possess conflict-resolution skills to mediate whenever necessary.[11] Thus the director ensures that all individuals involved in the film production are working towards an identical vision for the completed film.[6] The set of varying challenges he or she has to tackle has been described as "a multi-dimensional jigsaw puzzle with egos and weather thrown in for good measure".[12] It adds to the pressure that the success of a film can influence when and how they will work again, if at all.[13]

Generally, the sole superiors of the director are the producer(s) and the studio that is financing the film, although sometimes the director can also be a producer of the same film.[4][14] The role of a director differs from producers in that producers typically manage the logistics and business operations of the production, whereas the director is tasked with making creative decisions. The director must work within the restrictions of the film's budget[15] and the demands of the producer and studio (such as the need to get a particular age rating).[16]

Directors also play an important role in post-production. While the film is still in production, the director sends "dailies" to the film editor and explains his or her overall vision for the film, allowing the editor to assemble an editor's cut. In post-production, the director works with the editor to edit the material into the director's cut. Well-established directors have the "final cut privilege", meaning that they have the final say on which edit of the film is released. For other directors, the studio can order further edits without the director's permission.

American director Steven Spielberg with Sri Lankan filmmaker Chandran Rutnam in Sri Lanka

The director is one of the few positions that requires intimate involvement during every stage of film production. Thus, the position of film director is widely considered to be a highly stressful and demanding one.[17] It has been said that "20-hour days are not unusual".[4] Some directors also take on additional roles, such as producing, writing or editing.

Under European Union law, the film director is considered the "author" or one of the authors of a film, largely as a result of the influence of auteur theory.[2] Auteur theory is a film criticism concept that holds that a film director's film reflects the director's personal creative vision, as if they were the primary "auteur" (the French word for "author").[18] In spite of—and sometimes even because of—the production of the film as part of an industrial process, the auteur's creative voice is distinct enough to shine through studio interference and the collective process.

Career pathways[edit]

Some film directors started as screenwriters, film editors, producers, actors, or film critics, as well as directing for similar media like television and commercials.[19][20] Several American cinematographers have become directors, including Barry Sonnenfeld, originally the Coen brothers' DP; Wally Pfister, cinematographer on Christopher Nolan's three Batman films made his directorial debut with Transcendence. Despite the misnomer, assistant director has become a completely separate career path and is not typically a position for aspiring directors, but there are exceptions in some countries such as India where assistant directors are indeed directors-in-training.[21][22]


Other film directors have attended a film school to get a bachelor's degree studying film or cinema.[23] Film students generally study the basic skills used in making a film.[24] This includes, for example, preparation, shot lists and storyboards, blocking, protocols of dealing with professional actors, and reading scripts.[25] Some film schools are equipped with sound stages and post-production facilities.[26] Besides basic technical and logistical skills, students also receive education on the nature of professional relationships that occur during film production.[27] A full degree course can be designed for up to five years of studying.[28] Future directors usually complete short films during their enrollment.[17] The National Film School of Denmark has the student's final projects presented on national TV.[29] Some film schools retain the rights for their students' works.[30] Many directors successfully prepared for making feature films by working in television.[31] The German Film and Television Academy Berlin consequently cooperates with the Berlin/Brandenburg TV station RBB (Berlin-Brandenburg Broadcasting) and ARTE.[32]

In recent decades American directors have primarily been coming out of USC, UCLA, AFI, Columbia University, and NYU, each of which are known for cultivating a certain style of filmmaking.[20] Notable film schools outside of the United States include Beijing Film Academy, Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica in Mexico City, Dongseo University in South Korea, FAMU in Prague, Film and Television Institute of India, HFF Munich, La Femis in Paris, Tel Aviv University, and Vancouver Film School.[33]


A handful of top directors made from $133.3 million to $257.95 million in 2011, such as James Cameron and Steven Spielberg, but the average United States film director made $92,220 in May 2011.[34]

See also[edit]


  1. Bean-Mellinger, Barbara (December 27, 2018). "The Average Film Director Salary Per Movie". Career Trend. Leaf Group. Retrieved February 28, 2019.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Pascal Kamina (2002). Film Copyright in the European Union. Cambridge University Press. p. 153. ISBN 978-1-139-43338-9. Search this book on
  3. 3.0 3.1 "TV or film director". National Careers Service. United Kingdom: British Government. April 2017. Retrieved May 10, 2017.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Career Profile: Film Director". Monster. Retrieved February 3, 2019.
  5. "Employment Film Director". Wavelength Media. Retrieved March 3, 2013.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Piccirillo, Ryan A. (2010). "Career snapshot: The Film Director, A Human Lens". Inquiries Journal/Student Pulse. Retrieved February 28, 2019.
  7. "How to Become a Film Director". Academic Invest. Retrieved March 3, 2013. They must work with producers, writers, cast members, crew members, designers and other professionals in order to implement that vision
  8. "Director (fim, television, radio, or stage)". Government of Western Australia Department of Training and Workforce Development. Archived from the original on May 9, 2013. Retrieved March 3, 2013. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  9. "Film Director Career: Pros and Cons". Retrieved February 28, 2019.
  10. "Explore careers: TV or film director". National Careers Service. Education and Skills Funding Agency. Retrieved March 3, 2013.
  11. McRae, Alex (June 1, 2006). "I Want Your Job: Film Director". The Independent. London. Retrieved March 3, 2013. You have to be a diplomat. You have to marshal a whole load of creative people, who often don't get on with each other, and your job is to stop things turning into a bun-fight.
  12. Thomas, Delyth. "What is a Director?". Directors UK. Archived from the original on 2013-01-17. Retrieved March 3, 2013. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  13. "Producers and Directors:Occupational Outlook Handbook". U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved March 3, 2013. directors work under a lot of pressure, and most are under constant stress to find their next job.
  14. "What Producers and Directors Do". U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved February 28, 2019. Although directors are in charge of the creative aspects of a show, they ultimately answer to producers. Some directors also share producing duties for their own films.
  15. "Film Directing: Job Profile". Internationale filmschule köln. Archived from the original on 2013-05-10. Retrieved March 3, 2013. The director is bound by financial conditions, which however should not hinder him from developing his own artistic signature. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  16. Hornaday, Ann (May 16, 1993). "Now Starring on Video: The Director's Cut". The New York Times. Retrieved November 25, 2015. Realizing that an NC-17 rating could hurt business (some theaters and newspapers won't show or advertise NC-17 movies), Mr. Verhoeven cut 47 seconds of the most graphic sex and violence.
  17. 17.0 17.1 "Film Director". Princeton Review. Retrieved February 28, 2019.
  18. "auteur theory | Definition & Directors". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2018-02-08.
  19. "Film Director: Occupations in Alberta". Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS). Government of Alberta. Retrieved February 28, 2019. Many are experienced actors, editors or writers
  20. 20.0 20.1 Wexman, Virginia Wright (2017). Directing. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press. p. 7. ISBN 9780813564296. Search this book on
  21. "What's an Assistant Director?". Directors Guild of America. Retrieved June 30, 2019.
  22. Fatima, Nishat (January 20, 2012). "Here's how you can get into Bollywood". Times of India. Retrieved June 30, 2019.
  23. "How to Become a Producer or Director". U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved February 28, 2019.
  24. "Film". LUCA School of Arts. Archived from the original on May 11, 2013. Retrieved March 3, 2013. In the Fiction Film bachelor studio students learn the basic principles, techniques and procedures of film direction and production Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  25. "Directing Department at LFS". London Film School. Archived from the original on 2013-02-17. Retrieved March 3, 2013. Classes supporting this area discuss and rehearse: preparation, shot lists and storyboards, blocking, protocols of dealing with professional actors, reading scripts, the construction of film sequence Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  26. "Film BA Honours - Courses". University of Westminster. Retrieved March 3, 2013. We operate from a purpose-built studio facility in Harrow, with two sound stages, a set construction workshop, and extensive post-production facilities.
  27. "BA Film Directing". Internationale filmschule köln. Archived from the original on 2013-05-10. Retrieved March 3, 2013. An intrinsic element of the education, alongside the transfer of organizational and technical skills, is to provide the students with insights into social contexts and relationships Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  28. "Direction". Institut des Arts de Diffusion. Archived from the original on 2013-07-23. Retrieved March 3, 2013. The directing studies 5 years of study : a first cycle of 3 years and a second cycle of 2 years. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  29. "About the school". Den Danske Filmskole. Archived from the original on May 28, 2013. Retrieved March 15, 2013. The students' final project is a film produced on a professional level and presented to the public on national TV. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  30. "Filmmaking Guide: Copyright". BBC. Archived from the original on April 10, 2013. Retrieved March 3, 2013. If you're a student and making your film within a film school then you should be aware that some film schools will retain the copyright in the films that you make during your enrollment Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  31. "Professional Screen Directing Diploma". Central Film School. Archived from the original on 2012-10-19. Retrieved March 3, 2013. Many successful film directors, including Oscar-winning Best Director of 'The King's Speech', Tom Hooper, began their careers in television, which provided the platform to progress through the industry. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  32. "The DFFB". German Film and Television Academy Berlin. Archived from the original on March 4, 2013. Retrieved March 3, 2013. The DFFB cooperates with the Berlin/Brandenburg TV station RBB and ARTE and produces 3 short films of 30minutes lengths for RBB and 10 short films of 5 minutes lengths for ARTE Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  33. "Entertainment Education Report: The Best Film Schools in 2018". Variety. April 25, 2018. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  34. Imani, Faizah. "Typical Salary of a Film Director". Retrieved February 28, 2019.
  35. Dixon, Aimee. "Zora Neale Hurston". Retrieved May 16, 2019.

Further reading[edit]

  • Spencer Moon: Reel Black Talk: A Sourcebook of 50 American Filmmakers, Greenwood Press 1997
  • The St. James Women Filmmakers Encyclopedia: Women on the Other Side of the Camera, Visible Ink Press, 1999
  • International dictionary of films and filmmakers, ed. by Tom Pendergast, 4 volumes, Detroit [etc.]: St. James Press, 4th edition 2000, vol. 2: Directors
  • Contemporary North American Film Directors: A Wallflower Critical Guide (Wallflower Critical Guides to Contemporary Directors), ed. by Yoram Allon Del Cullen and Hannah Patterson, Second Edition, Columbia Univ Press 2002
  • Alexander Jacoby, Donald Richie: A Critical Handbook of Japanese Film Directors: From the Silent Era to the Present Day, Stone Bridge Press, 2008, ISBN 1-933330-53-8 Search this book on .
  • Rebecca Hillauer: Encyclopedia of Arab Women Filmmakers, American University in Cairo Press, 2005, ISBN 977-424-943-7 Search this book on .
  • Roy Armes: Dictionary of African Filmmakers, Indiana University Press, 2008, ISBN 0-253-35116-2 Search this book on .
  • Philippe Rege: Encyclopedia of French Film Directors, Scarecrow Press, 2009

External links[edit]

Others articles of the Topic Film : Josh (2000 film), 1971 in film, Film, Rotten Tomatoes, Independent filmmaker, The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius, Spaghetti Western