Performing arts

TV or film director

TV and film directors lead the creative and technical production for cinema and television.

Annual Salary

variable

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

39 to 41 irregular

You could work: evenings / weekends / bank holidays; away from home

2%
Future employment

There will be 2% more TV or film director jobs in 2024.
In your local area

What's it all about?

Day to day tasks

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • meeting producers to plan filming schedules and resources
  • developing scripts or ideas for programmes
  • developing storyboards
  • deciding how the production should look and where it should be filmed
  • hiring the cast and crew
  • explaining technical requirements to different teams
  • directing actors on set or location
  • supervising the editing

Working environment

You could work at a film studio, at a TV studio or on a film set.

Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time and you may spend nights away from home.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • working towards this role
  • producing and releasing your own films
  • specialist courses run by private training providers
University

You could take a course at university in film or television production before moving into directing.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
For more information
College

You may find it helpful to take a film-making or media production course that helps you to build practical skills and make contacts in the industry.

For more information
Work

Many directors start out as runners, helping out on film or TV sets, and work their way up through other jobs like 3rd and 2nd assistant director or floor manager. Others move into directing after getting experience in camera work, screenwriting or acting.

Volunteering and work experience

It's important to get as much experience as you can in film and TV, and an in-depth understanding of the production process.

You can do this by taking part in activities like student or community film or TV, and finding work experience placements on film projects.

You can search for film and TV companies to approach for experience through media business listing services like PACT and The Knowledge.

Other routes

Another way to break into film directing is to make your own films, known as 'shorts'. You can market these to agents, post them online or enter them into film festivals and competitions. You'll need access to equipment, crew and actors to make your own films. Getting involved in community filming projects can help with this.

You could also take short courses in production skills for directors run by film schools, regional screen agencies and private training providers. You can search for relevant industry approved courses on ScreenSkills.

More information

Career tips

A network of industry contacts will be extremely useful.

Further information

You'll find more details about directing in film and TV through ScreenSkills.

Shooting People has information, resources and networks for independent film-makers.

You can find out more about creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.

With experience you might develop your own projects and raise the money to put them into production.

Creative Skillset has more information about working as a director.

You'll find more details about directing in film and TV through ScreenSkills.

Shooting People has information, resources and networks for independent film-makers.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others
  • leadership skills
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • broadcasting and telecommunications knowledge
  • knowledge of English language
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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