Being a director requires creativity, people skills, organization, leadership and a head for the details. Video directors work on music videos, commercials, independent films and even TV shows. They may be budding newcomers or seasoned professionals, but whatever their level, video directors are the ones who literally call the shots.
Before the production phase, the director plays a crucial role in selecting the crew and determining the look of the show. On the ground floor of a production, she might help to develop the script. If she's hired after the initial script is written, she might help to fine-tune it, then determine what elements are needed to create the look of each scene within that script. She'll help choose actors, scout locations and recommend crew members with whom she wants to work. For example, she might choose a particular director of photography or lighting expert based on that person's skill level or aesthetic.
During the Production
During the principal photography phase, the director acts as the eyes, ears and mouthpiece for the production. He ensures that lighting and framing is just the way he envisioned, for example. At the same time, the director talks to actors, musicians and other "talent" on the set to ensure that their words and actions meet the vision for the production. In productions with smaller budgets, the director might also double as the videographer. The director must be able to make on-the-spot decisions when things aren't going right, which requires confidence, leadership and quick thinking.
After the shoot, the director works with the post-production staff to edit and put the finishing touches on the video. She may work with an editor who will cut up the scenes, or with graphics artists and animators who will create additional visual elements. While she might not need to know how to use every graphics tool or piece of animation software, she at least needs good communication skills to convey her desires to the professionals using the tools.
Education and Experience
Many aspiring directors start out by pursuing a bachelor's or master's degree in cinematography, communications, film, photography or a related field. While in school, directors might gain experience by working on student films or independent productions. Outside of school, they may work their way up in a similar way. Directors might initiate their own independent productions, while at the same time working on larger-scale productions as camera operators, editors or production assistants. Eventually, they can work their way up to more prominent roles in a production, such as an assistant or second assistant director role, to gain experience and make the contacts that can lead to director opportunities.
2016 Salary Information for Producers and Directors
Producers and directors earned a median annual salary of $70,950 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, producers and directors earned a 25th percentile salary of $46,660, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $112,820, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 134,700 people were employed in the U.S. as producers and directors.