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Director (film)

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Director (film)

A film director is a person who directs the making of a film. Generally, a film director controls a film's artistic and dramatic aspects, and visualizes the script while guiding the technical crew and actors in the fulfillment of that vision.[1]


Film directors create an overall vision through which a film eventually becomes realized.[2] Realizing this vision includes overseeing the artistic and technical elements of film production, as well as directing the shooting timetable and meeting deadlines.[3] This entails organizing the film crew in such a way as to achieve his or her vision of the film.[4] [5] This requires skills of group leadership, as well as the ability to maintain a singular focus even in the stressful environment of a film set.[6] Moreover it is necessary to have an artistic eye to frame shots and to give precise feedback to cast and crew,[7] thus, excellent communication skills are a must.[8] Since the film director depends on the successful cooperation of many different creative individuals with possibly strongly contradicting artistic ideals and visions, he or she also needs to possess conflict resolution skills in order to mediate whenever necessary. [9] Thus the director ensures that all individuals involved in the film production are working towards an identical vision for the completed film.[4] The set of varying challenges he or she has to tackle has been described as "a multi-dimensional jigsaw puzzle with egos and weather thrown in for good measure".[10] It adds to the pressure that the success of a film can influence when and how they will work again. [11] Omnipresent are the boundaries of the films budget.[12] Additionally, the director may also have to ensure an intended age rating.[13] Theoretically the sole superior of a director is the studio that is financing the film, [14] [2] however a poor working relationship between a film director and an actor could possibly result in the director being replaced if the actor is a major film star.[15] Even so, it is arguable that the director spends more time on a project than anyone else, considering that the director is one of the few positions that requires intimate involvement during every stage of film production. Thus, the position of film director is widely considered to be a highly stressful and demanding one.[1] It has been said that "20-hour days are not unusual".[2]

Becoming a film director

Some film directors started as screenwriters, film editors or actors.[16] Other film directors have visited a film school to "get formal training and education in their craft". [17] Film students generally study the basic skills utilized in making a film. [18] This includes, for example, preparation, shot lists and storyboards, blocking, protocols of dealing with professional actors, and reading scripts.[19] Some film schools are equipped with sound stages and post-production facilities[20] Besides basic technical and logistical skills, students also receive education on the nature of professional relationships that occur during film production.[21] A full degree course can be designed for up to five years of studying.[22] Future directors usually complete short films during their enrolment.[1] The National Film School of Denmark has the student's final projects presented on national TV. [23] Some film schools retain the rights for their students' works.[24] Many directors successfully prepared for making feature films by working in television.[25] The German Film and Television Academy Berlin consequently cooperates with the Berlin/Brandenburg TV station RBB (Berlin-Brandenburg Broadcasting) and ARTE.[26]

Characteristics of film directors

Different directors can vary immensely amongst themselves, under various characteristics. Several examples are:

Professional organizations

In the United States, directors usually belong to the Directors Guild of America. The Canadian equivalent is the Directors Guild of Canada. In the UK, directors usually belong to Directors UK or the Directors Guild of Great Britain.

In Europe, FERA, the Federation of European Film Directors, represents 37 national directors' guilds in 30 countries.

Notable film directors

See also



  • Spencer Moon: Reel Black Talk: A Sourcebook of 50 American Filmmakers, Greenwoood Press 1997
  • The St. James Women Filmmakers Encyclopedia: Women on the Other Side of the Camera, Visible Ink Press, 1999
  • International dictionary of films and filmmakers, ed. by Tom Pendergast, 4 volumes, Detroit [etc.]: St. James Press, 4th edition 2000, vol. 2: Directors
  • Contemporary North American Film Directors: A Wallflower Critical Guide (Wallflower Critical Guides to Contemporary Directors), ed. by Yoram Allon Del Cullen and Hannah Patterson, Second Edition, Columbia Univ Press 2002
  • Alexander Jacoby, Donald Richie: A Critical Handbook of Japanese Film Directors: From the Silent Era to the Present Day, Stone Bridge Press, 2008, ISBN 1-933330-53-8
  • Rebecca Hillauer: Encyclopedia of Arab Women Filmmakers, American University in Cairo Press, 2005, ISBN 977-424-943-7
  • Roy Armes: Dictionary of African Filmmakers, Indiana University Press, 2008, ISBN 0-253-35116-2
  • Philippe Rege: Encyclopedia of French Film Directors, Scarecrow Press, 2009

External links

  • Directors Guild of America
  • Federation of European Film Directors
  • Directors Guild of Canada
  • Directors UK
  • Directors Guild of Great Britain
  • A comprehensive collection of interviews with a century's worth of European film directors
  • The best directors picked by critics and filmmakers
  • Senses of Cinema - Great Directors
  • Getting started in film, TV and interactive digital media
  • How to become a film director
  • Assistant Directors Training Program
  • Film directing, the director's job
  • Career and Salary

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