Los Angeles Career Profile: Film Director

Los Angeles Career Profile: Film Director

Many people can remember the first time they were touched by a film. Whether it was a touching scene from Gone With the Wind or an epic battle from Star Wars, through storytelling, movies have the power to invoke human emotion. Directing a film is a kind of storytelling. Film directors are responsible for a film's artistic and dramatic aspects while also overseeing technical aspects of a film. A director visualizes beyond the words on the script to a living, breathing, canvas with specific shots, lighting, mood, and emotion -- all painstakingly created for the screen. Through a director's overall vision, a film is born.

The Work of Movie Directing and Producing

The director is responsible for every aspect of a motion picture production, from set design to music to cast decisions. Directors work with actors; makeup artists; cinematographers; writers; and film, sound, and lighting technicians. They determine all the particulars of how scenes are to be shot, from visual requirements to the placement of the actors and the scheduling and budgeting requirements. In most large movies, there are layers of assistant directors, who work directly with technicians and cast members. All directors must ultimately answer to the executive producer, who has the final say on the production.

Directing and producing can be stressful work, with long and irregular hours and pay, and the need to adhere to budgets and union rules.

Education & Training

Many Los Angeles area art schools, colleges and universities offer degree programs in broadcasting, radio, film and TV. Others may offer theoretical media studies, while a few may offer majors in film directing.

Many aspiring directors develop clips of their work as a display of their talent when applying for industrial, television, or commercial directing jobs, which pay well and serve as working credentials. Individuals entering this career should be warned that 20-hour days are not unusual.

Additional Resources

Top 10 Qualities of a Great Filmmaker

Some of the world's greatest filmmakers are household names: Steven Spielberg and George Lucas are just two examples. It is every filmmakers' dream to have their ideas hit the big screen, but to see a film through to completion, one must have certain qualities to ensure production goes smoothly.

Film Career Guidance

Discover Film and Television Schools in Los Angeles »

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