Becoming a Film Director | 6 Tips for your career
Posted on December 03 2019
You are interested in becoming a Film Director, but you are not sure what skills are required for this job?
Read on, to learn more about this field of work and its requirements right now!
In general, a film director needs to be able to perform a wide spectrum of tasks. These abilities will not only be the result of education and training, but include soft skills acquired through life experience. Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the basic skills any director should possess:
1. Education/training/ practise/experience
Film director is not a job you will learn all about at university, nor can you find standard training for it. But there are undergraduate and graduate courses, that cover areas that come in handy, if you so choose to go down this path. Those courses tackle topics like leadership, communication, management and basic technical skills. You might find fitting courses at Film schools, DVD's and books and nowadays you may get pointers from online courses. If you are a learning by doing type, there is always the hands-on approach. The best way would be to become the protégé of a director. In any case try to expose yourself to productions, as much as you can, to get a deeper understanding of the work of a director. I encourage you to start your own projects asap, so you can try out your skills and build connections within the business.
2. Technical Aspect
How are you supposed to give directions, if you do not know your way around the gear? Learn about the importance and influence of basics like light, camerawork, sound and so on. You should know how to edit and which shots will be fitting for your current project. You need to know all of that, so that you may give clear instructions to your team. A good director should be able to lead the whole crew, like an orchestra conductor. In addition, it is important to stay state of the art with film technology.
I cannot emphasize this enough: Communication skills are an essential factor in the daily work of a director. Being able to give clear instructions and creating a productive work atmosphere, is key for successful projects. You will need to be able to communicate efficiently with actors, the mask and costume designers. But you need to be able to give technical instructions to DP's, sound engineers and editors as well. This means you need to be able to talk in their language and give them clear instructions, on how you want the project to be looking, the role acted or the light used.
4. Leadership and finances
As mentioned a film director should possess management skills. He needs to lead the staff, while being responsible for the financial success of the film and dealing with the producers and/or the studio. It is his/her task to hire dependable personal, hand out orders to the staff and monitor their progress. A good director does not only coordinate all the above, but is able to; create a good work atmosphere; to communicate respectful and stay openminded for staff ideas and critique. In short, you will need to be able to keep the bigger picture in mind, while dealing with a ton of decisions on a daily basis.
Being a director means being an artist. You need to be able to translate and interpret books and scripts into the screen. This means you have to break down the script, while keeping its essence, enriching it with your own interpretation and finding a way to transport the message to the audience. With the help of the film-crew your work is to fulfil your vision and bring it on screen. As a director you will need to have the imagination of an artist and the drive of a businessman to make your visions come true.
6. Film Tip:
For those who do not already know the 1991 Film “Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse”, give it a try! It is a great insight into the glory and madness of the creation of the legendary movie “Apocalypse Now”. Though I hope nobody will ever have to suffer like Francis Ford Coppola, his crew and family did while filming, this documentary is not only educating, but entertaining as well!