What Does A Film Director Do?

"I am really interested in working in the film industry. I’d like to direct films someday so I’d like to learn more about the job of a film director. What does a film director do?"

asked by Zach R. from Naperville, Illinois

No movie would come to being without a director. All creative decisions of a production are his to make. It’s not surprising to note that when a film earns rave reviews, kudos is given to the director in the same manner that he also receives flak in case the movie is not well-received by critics.

Although directors are often thought of as busy only when the film is being shot, their work actually begins long before that. They work together with producers to choose the members of the cast during auditions. They also do rehearsals with the cast members so that everything will proceed smoothly during filming. Directors fine tune the depictions of the actors so that they are “in character” when the camera starts to roll.

Directors also study the script before the actual production starts so that they can visualize how they want the film to turn out in the end. They will meet with producers and screenwriters so that they can understand what scriptwriters want to depict and will be able to interpret this visually in the film.

With the approval of producers, directors will often have the final word on the crew—cinematographers, set designers and others—that will be hired. Because of their long years in the industry, seasoned directors often already know the crew to hire based on their previous work.

During filming, directors decide whether their actors have represented their characters correctly. They decide whether second, third or more takes are needed for each scene. They also decide if actors need more input on their acting. Some directors are more vocal on what they want their actors to do while others leave the actors to mull by themselves on how they can improve their performance.

While the shooting is in progress, directors will also collaborate with set designers, art directors and costume designers in order to come up with the background, scenes and costumes for the characters. They see to it that the lighting and other technical requirements are met to ensure that quality shots are taken. They also coordinate with location scouts if parts of the movie are going to be filmed in different parts of the nation or the world.

After filming, the job of the directors is not yet over. They then sit with film editors and music supervisors to complete the final aspects of the film. They help choose the best footages and shots taken to comprise the movie and listen to suggested musical scores that will give the appropriate feel and background of the film.

After the post-production work, the directors together with the producers give the final approval on the version of the movie that will finally be released for public viewing.

Career Spotlight: Film Director

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