How to Become a Movie Director

Deciding to become a movie director can offer a very glamorous and exciting career path.

The downside is that this is a very competitive industry that offers few breaks for those just starting out.

However, if film is your passion and you’ve decided you want to make them, then get ready for some hard work and excitement.

To make movies you’ll need to be a creative person who is good at visualizing things.

You’ll also need a good deal of confidence, leadership skills, and a lot of determination.

A movie director has some say in almost every facet of the filming process.

From making script changes, or even writing the script, casting actors, choosing locations, and approving sets and costumes.

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There is a lot more work that goes into making a film than many people realize.

Education Requirements to Become a Movie Director

There is no formal education requirement to become a movie director.

However, your best bet is to go to film school and earn a degree.

You might choose to complete a college degree with a major in film studies, or alternatively you could attend a specialist film school.

To become a movie director you will likely need to be living in New York or Los Angeles, so be prepared to relocate if you are not already there.

These places also host the best film schools in the country, so if you can, it might be ideal to move their while you are studying.

While at college, you should try and get an internship on a move set.

Many assistant roles are filled on an internship basis.

This will not only get you some experience, but will also allow you to meet with people who are already in the businesses.

It’s also not too early to start making your own films.

All you need is a digital camera and a couple of friends who don’t mind playing actor for a day.

Not only will this develop your skills, but you can also start putting together your best shots to make up a portfolio.

With the internet, it’s also easy to broadcast your movies to an audience.

After you have finished college, a good start in the industry is in a trainee ship program.

The Directors Guild of America run a trainee ship program which will place you as an assistant director.

You’ll get to cast extras, transport sets, and all kinds of similar tasks.

Many directors start their career small.

They might direct educational films, commercials, or music videos.

They then move on to television and film.

Movie Director Job Description

A movie director brings together all of the facets of a motion picture.

They select a screenplay and make revisions, cast actors, supervise set design, costumes, and oversee cinematography.

The director has the greatest amount of influence in the creative process of making a film, and also gets the most credit if it is a success.

A day in the life of a movie director could be quite varied, here are some of the tasks you could be completing:

  • Making sure a set is ready for filming
  • Approving costume choices
  • Casting actors and extras
  • Choosing locations and studios
  • Reviewing screenplays
  • Reviewing cinematography
  • Directing actors
  • Reviewing shots for the day
  • Editing a movie and sound

Movie Director Salary and Career Path

Most directors will start out small as assistants on a set.

With time and experience they will gain their own roles as directors with small projects like music videos or commercials.

Many directors set out to make their own independent films, and gain a reputation this way.

Directors work on a contract, that means they are not employed full-time and may experience periods without work.

They usually get paid for each day they spend on a set, and often they will receive a share of the profit a movie makes.

The median salary for a director is $65,000 a year.

There is a wide variation in the salary a director earns, with the top in the industry pocketing millions of dollars for one film.

On the other end of the scale, there are many who are out of work and struggling to get by.

While it’s not always a stable source of employment for everyone pursuing this career, successful directors can make a lot of money.

Those who are passionate about film and are successful will find this to be a very satisfying career choice.

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