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What it takes to become a film director - Career Guide

Updated: Aug 9, 2020

Films are born as dreams, imaginations and stories in the mind. The person who transforms these stories from mind to paper and then on to the screen is called the Director. Primarily because this person directs the whole mind to the screen process, he is called the 'Director'.  

Who is a Film Director?

A Film director manages the creative aspects of the production. He/she directs the making of the film by first visualizing the script and then guiding the actors and technical crew to capture the vision on camera for the screen. He /she controls the film’s dramatic and artistic aspects. A Film Director using a team of Assistants and Sectional Heads like the Director of Photography, Set Designer, Executive Producer manages large groups of highly creative people.

How much does a Film Director earn?

The compensation of a Film Director depends on the budget of the film, his/her experience and skills. Commercials, Web Series, Documentary, Corporate and Feature Films, all have different compensation packages for Film Directors. Since Directors are a part of ATL (Above the Line), they are paid a single amount for a project, rather than Day-wise like the other crew members.

Directors can make between 1-2 Lakhs for a Small Web Series Per Episode, 01-50 Lakhs for a TV Commercial, 10-20 Lakhs for a Small Feature Film, 20-50 Lakhs for a Mid-Level Feature Film, and 50 Lakhs - 5 Crores for a Big Budget Feature Film and so on. The topmost Celebrity Directors earn between 10-15 Crores and much more internationally for a Blockbuster sized film.

What skills does it take to be a Film Director?

A highly imaginative mind, ability to dramatize, convey emotions and action clearly using images and sounds within a given budget. Besides, a Film Director must know and understand various film making equipment and their uses, scriptwriting man-management.  This is perhaps the most subjective part of any film director's job description. A Film Director must know how to control the cast and the crew to execute the job at hand with the best possible results. 

Some of the key factors are:

  1. Technological expertise – or at the very least, a very solid working understanding of the latest filming technology and software.

  2. Flexible creativity

  3. Sound at written and visual storytelling

  4. Decisive and problem-solving leadership

  5. Understandable communication

What does the job of a director entail?

As there are three stages of making a film(Pre-Production, Production, Post- Production)so, the director is involved in all stages. Actually even before the Pre Production and after the Post Production too.

Pre-Production includes writing or making changes to the script, Working with department heads, Storyboarding and shot listing, Auditioning, and casting actors, Gearing up for the shoot.

Production includes directing actors and the camera, improvisation on the set, letting all the crew submerge into this creative process.

Post-production includes Working with Editors, VFX Studios, Music Composers and the Sound department,

So, the director takes care of the overall project from Scratch to the Final Film.

Quentin Tarantino Explains How to Write & Direct Movies | The Director’s Chair

Source : Studio Binder

Desired Qualifications of a Film Director?

There are a lot of film schools available all over the world to learn film direction. As long as a person can think creatively and can turn scripts into visual form, they have what it takes to be a film director, although one can do a short course and learn by experience.

How do Film Directors create Film Projects?

The process begins with finding the story, sharing the idea with Producers who organize money, writing screenplay, narrating it to the actors. Once the money and the cast are in place, the project takes off. 

Some Notable Indian Film Directors

  1. Satyajit Ray

  2. Shyam Benegal

  3. Guru Dutt

  4. Vijay Anand

  5. Bimal Roy

  6. Adoor Gopalakrishnan

  7. Shaji Karun

  8. Jahnu Barua

  9. Vishal Bhardwaj

  10. N

  11. Ashutosh Gowariker

  12. Aparna Sen

  13. Girish Kasarvalli

  14. Mira Nair

  15. Mrinal Sen

  16. Sudhir Misra

  17. Anurag Kashyap

  18. Rohit Shetty

  19. SS Rajamouli

Directors' Associations and Unions in India:

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Learn the basics of Film making from Award-Winning Filmmakers and Film professionals. From Screenplay to Direction, Cinematography to Editing, Short Film making to Festivals. Join us to face the challenges and learn the craft of film making in Six Weeks. Discover Cinema.


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