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The Film Director

The position of film director is not easy to define concisely. Different film companies and directors have different ideas about exactly what the job entails. However the following duties are fairly standard:

Laypeople sometimes confuse the director with the producer. This is understandable since they are both "bosses" of the film, and indeed their jobs can often overlap. The difference is that the producer is usually responsible for overseeing the entire project, including finance and budgets, hiring staff, managing logistics, etc. The director is more responsible for the creative aspects. The director is usually hired by and answerable to the producer.

How much authority is given to the director depends on many factors, most notably the director's experience and reputation. A first-time director might be given specific instructions on how the film is to be made, but an acclaimed Hollywood director is likely to be given full creative control.

As mentioned, some directors also take on certain duties of the producer. S/he may even do both jobs and be credited as producer/director. This tends to happen at both the bottom end of the budget scale (where many jobs are shared) and the top end (where some directors are given total control).

Directors may or may not be involved in the editing. In some cases there is a separate "director's cut", which means the director's version of the final edit.

Required Skills

A film director must have a comprehensive understanding of all aspects of film production, from acting to lens technology. It goes without saying that this is a senior position — if you want to be a director you will need to gain a lot of experience in other roles first.

Film directing is a vocation which, for most people, is more about creative achievement than financial reward. It is a difficult field to break into and the aspiring director should be prepared for a lot of hard work. Huge salaries are the exception rather than the rule.