What Does A Film Director Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

Alyssa OmandacCareer, Overview

Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Film Directors

A film director is responsible for managing the creative side of a film. They must interpret the film script to create a compelling film that will appeal, and doing so is a very involved process.

Bachelor's degree

The film industry is gigantic and there are so many films being made each year that there are many film director jobs out there.

As a film director, you can help to define the artistic vision of a movie and present something entertaining to the public. Film directors help to shape films so that they turn out the best that they possibly can, and the job entails handling so many different things that are related to movie creation.

Those who are interested in becoming film directors will want to learn more about everything that film directors do before moving forward with any plans.

What they do

A film director is responsible for managing the creative side of a film. They must interpret the film script to create a compelling film that will appeal, and doing so is a very involved process.

Interpreting Scripts

One of the most important things that a film director must do is interpret the script that they have been given. Screenwriters create screenplays that film directors will use as a basis for movies. It’s up to a film director to decide which artistic direction is the right way to go. Often, you’ll find that film directors will communicate with screenwriters to request changes to the script due to having different ideas about how the film should be.

Film directors have to be able to create the most compelling film that they are able to based on the script that they’re given. They will use their artistic sensibilities to film the movie in different ways depending on what they’re trying to accomplish. Honing the script and figuring out how to transfer the words on the page to film is the first big part of the process. This can take some time, and sometimes scripts will evolve over the course of months or years while movies are being made.

Determining the Right Tone for the Film

The tone of a film is going to determine what type of movie is being filmed. Some directors will try to make things more lighthearted by shifting the tone, but others might go with a darker tone. A film director chooses the tone of the movie and shoots the film in ways that mesh well with the chosen tone. The choice of the tone of the film isn’t always solely up to the director since sometimes film studios will have a say in the final product.

Casting the Actors and Actresses

While film directors aren’t solely responsible for casting actors and actresses, they will play a big role in finding the right people to suit the movie. Some film directors are very proactive when it comes to choosing actors and actresses. Finding talent for a film takes time, and film directors will want to start auditioning talent for roles as soon as possible. A film director wants to find people that they think can bring certain characters to life on the big screen.

Directing Actors and the Camera Crew

Of course, a film director is going to be providing direction to the actors and the camera crew on set. This means that a film director will determine how a shot is supposed to be composed, and they will also tell the actors what they want to happen in a specific scene. Sometimes film directors will give direct feedback to actors to try to change the scene a bit to better suit the vision that they have. The film director is the one who is responsible for getting everyone to move in the same direction.

Working with Editors

As a film director, it’s going to be important to assemble the film that you have in mind. After getting all of the footage that is necessary, a film director will work with editors to assemble the film over time. They piece together a film out of all of the footage and sometimes parts of the film will be cut to make things more cohesive. Editing a film can be an exhaustive process, but it’s one that a film director will be very involved in.

Working with Sound Engineers and Composers

Film directors will spend a lot of time working alongside sound engineers and composers. The sound of a movie is every bit as important as the visual aspect of the film. Directors will work to ensure that all of the right sound effects are in place, and they will also work with composers to get the soundtrack to the movie just right. Discussing things and changes that must be made with these professionals is a part of the film creation process.

Working with the Film Studio

Finally, working with the film studio is something that film directors have to do. It’s necessary for film directors to talk to studio heads to go over issues such as the budget and deadlines for when the movie needs to be completed. The economic aspect of creating a film is something that will always be on the mind of a film director. Working with the film studio and department heads to help things stay within the budget is crucial.

What is the job like

ATB Productions

My Typical Day Whether it’s a movie or commercial, as a director my main job is getting the job. This is done by crafting a vision via a pitch deck that can be understood by the client, broken down by the producer, and then ultimately put into action. As far as my day-to-day, that’s one … Read More

My day as a film director starts by evaluating the script we are shooting for the day in the morning. I go over my director notes which include my shot list which are specifically the type of shots or camera angles I would like to shoot for each particular scene that day as I cross … Read More

When I am writing alone, I do my best to find days where I’m not rushed for time or working my other jobs (nannying, working at a restaurant, etc.) and I try to spend from late morning to evening writing. I like to work on multiple things at once so it can be anything from … Read More


Being Able to Work in a Creative Field

Being able to work in a creative field is something that many people value. As a film director, you’re able to create a work of art along with other talented individuals.

The Potential to Earn a Lot of Money

Film directors who become successful can make a lot of money. If you direct a movie that becomes a big hit, then you could wind up becoming wealthy due to being offered larger movies down the line.

Working with Other Creative People

You’ll be working with many other creative individuals who are talented in their own ways. Forming relationships with others in the industry can be very satisfying and it can help a film director to have a long and fruitful career.


It’s a High-Stress Job

Being a film director is very stressful, and it’s going to involve working long hours. Those who aren’t capable of handling stressful situations might not wish to go down this career path.

Money Might Be Dependent on Film Success

How much money you’re going to be able to make as a film director might depend on how well your films do. If your films don’t make a lot of money, then it’ll be harder to get jobs that pay well.

Where they work

Movie Industry
Television Industry
Video Game Industry
Advertising Industry

Film directors will typically work for film studios, but film directors can also work independently. Some film directors choose to finance their own films, but most film directors will start taking on movies for film studios once they have established themselves. Many industries will hire film directors to take on projects. You can find film directors working in the movie industry, the television industry, the video game industry, and the advertising industry.

How to become one

Step 1. Study Film in High School

Studying film in high school will help to prepare you for a career as a film director. Some high schools might offer courses about films, and you might even be able to join an extracurricular club that can help you to gain some useful skills.

Step 2. Go to Film School

Going to film school is a great idea when you want to become a film director. This gives you the formal knowledge that you need to direct films, and you’ll understand how to compose shots.

Step 3. Start Making Films

After graduating from film school, it’s going to be time to start making films. Most film directors start making independent films to gain experience and to try to get noticed.

Step 4. Network

Networking is an important step when you’re trying to become a more recognized film director. Try to meet people in the industry so that you can gain important connections.

Step 5. Try to Find Better Opportunities

Trying to find better opportunities will take time, but film directors can find work in many places. You could direct commercials, small television shows, and indie films until you’re able to find larger projects that are willing to give you a shot.

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Leader

People with this personality likes to start and work on projects. They also like leading people and making many decisions.

You can read more about these career personality types here.

A film director needs to have a strong creative vision and they need to be able to communicate that vision to others. Film directors will be working with many professionals and coordinating them to create a cohesive piece of art. This means that film directors need to have great communication skills while also remaining very organized. You also need to be fine with working long hours, and this means that a strong work ethic is necessary to find success.

Take this quiz to see if this is the right career for you.


How do Film Directors get paid?

Film Director’s pay varies greatly, as it’s kind of like being “Talent”, so if you are a NAME (Christopher Nolan or James Gunn) you can make millions. However, there are minimums when dealing with unions, so roughly 20k a week on a high budget feature, and about 15k/weekly for a low-budget feature (sub 3 Million). … Read More

Answered by:
Joey Malinski

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