What is a Film Director?

Also known as: Director, Dramatic Director, Movie Director, TV Director, Television Director.

A film director is in charge of making sure that every component of a movie runs smoothly. Generally, these directors work on a movie from its conception stage to its delivery stage. They have a say in how the scenes unfold, what props are going to be used, how the characters should look and who should play specific parts. Directors also work with individuals in charge of lighting, scenery, writing and so forth to make sure that all of the elements come together. The director is in charge of the three main phases, which are pre-production, production and post-production. Generally, he or she does not actually do the work for post-production but is in charge of overseeing it.

Note the difference between a film director and a producer: A film director controls a film's artistic and dramatic aspects, and visualizes the script while guiding the technical crew and actors in the fulfillment of that vision. The producer initiates, coordinates, supervises and controls matters such as raising funding, hiring key personnel, and arranging for distributors.

Find your perfect career

Would you make a good film director? Sokanu's free assessment reveals how compatible you are with a career across 5 dimensions!

Take the free career test

What does a Film Director do?

In addition to having control over nearly every aspect of the movie, film directors also have a large role in the technical aspects. They read over the script to make sure that it makes sense, and they decide where the actors are going to stand and how they will move. Directors also help the actors to truly understand the characters. They might explain the characters’ motivation for a particular action or their back-story. The directors work to push the actors to do their best.

Once the editing team gets to work, the film director has the final say as to how the shots look and how they should be blended together. The movie director can also decide that the crew needs to do another take of a particular scene or scenes. They also decide when one scene should fade into the next.

A film director also has the responsibility of handling most of the budgetary concerns of a film. He or she will have to figure out how to make the movie work on the allowable budget. This might involve hiring actors who will work for lower pay, asking family members or friends to help out with some of the behind-the-scenes work or coming up with less expensive strategies for executing an idea.

What is the workplace of a Film Director like?

The entire production process of a film can take over a year. When the movie is in the production phase, the director is very busy. When the movie is in post-production and the director just has to oversee things, there may be more spare time.

There is often a lot of pressure in the work environment of a film director. The directors need to make most of the decisions; therefore, the success of the movie depends on them. Furthermore, many film directors have to hop from one job to the next. While they are working on one movie, they need to be looking for their next movie. When on a job, a film director’s schedule can vary considerably. For example, he or she might work for ten hours on Monday and then an entirely different set of hours on Tuesday. It is not rare for a film director to work on weekends, evenings and holidays.

By 2020, the industry is expected to have grown by 11 percent, which is around the average rate for all jobs. One of the reasons why this industry will continue to grow is that movies are continually becoming more popular.



Title Company Location Info

Further Reading


    A day in the life of a freelance film director.

  • The Average Film Director Salary Per Movie

    You may think film directors are rolling in cash and, in certain cases, you wouldn't be wrong. The truth, however, is that most directors make a more modest living.


    Generally, one individual is responsible for overseeing the labor that is relevant to a single facet of production, whether it be cinematography, writing, editing, music, sound, production design, or costumes. With the notable exception of the producer, however, the range of the director's tasks is quite broad, and involves coordinating innumerable creative activities throughout the course of developing, shooting, completing, and marketing a film.

  • Film Director’s Role

    Much more goes into directing a film than telling (or showing) actors what to do. The film does not consist of performances alone, and performance itself is more complex than this characterization implies.

  • Film Director

    The Director is the driving creative force in a film's production, and acts as the crucial link between the production, technical and creative teams.

  • The Nail-Biting Life Of An Action Film Director

    Simon West is multilingual in the way directors must be. He recently spoke with Fortune about what it takes to manage the many moving parts of a big picture. After over a decade in the business, West says, he's finally starting to have some fun.

  • The Film Director

    A good director makes sure that all parts of a film are creatively produced and brought together in a single totality. A director interprets the script, coaches the performers, works together with the montagiste, etc., interrelating them all to create a work of art.

  • How To Become A Movie Director

    If you want to know how to become a movie director, you must be highly interested in movies and have an artistic flair as a prerequisite. You can begin practicing by using your home video and edit using some editing software; this is helpful in making baby steps toward the career.

  • How To Become A Film Director: A Sharp Reality Check

    This topic has been clouded by wishful thinking and pernicious misinformation for too long. Time to clean up!

  • So You Want My Job: Film Director

    John Dowdle has what many men who consider the dream job. I have to say that while I’ve enjoyed all the entries in this series, John’s is one of my favorites, because after all, who hasn’t wondered what it would be like to make some movie magic?

Similar Careers

Collections With This Career

Creative Careers
Finding a job that allows creative individuals to be creative and make money at the same time can make all the difference in their lives. Read More
Highest Paying Jobs For Creative Thinkers
Think outside the box and make a lot of money. These are the highest paid jobs for creative thinkers. Read More
Highest Paying Jobs Without Math
There are plenty of high-paying jobs for those who can't stand the thought of crunching numbers and sifting through data all day. Read More
Highest Paying Creative Jobs
Creative careers are hot in today's knowledge economy. This list of high paying jobs will get the juices flowing. Read More
Highest Paying Jobs For Artistic People
Discover the highest paying jobs for people that have an artistic flair. Read More