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Directors - Stage, Motion Picture, Television, And Radio Career

Career Description

A Director is responsible for the creative decisions of a production. They interpret scripts, audition and select cast members, conduct rehearsals, and direct the work of cast and crew. They approve the design elements of a production, including the sets, costumes, choreography, and music. Assistant directors cue the performers and technicians, telling them when to make entrances or light, sound, or set changes.

Common Work Tasks

  • Direct live broadcasts, films and recordings, or non-broadcast programming for public entertainment or education
  • Supervise and coordinate the work of camera,  lighting, design, and sound crewmembers
  • Study and research scripts to determine how they should be directed
  • Cut and edit film or tape to integrate component parts into desired sequences
  • Collaborate with film and sound editors during the post-production process as films are edited and soundtracks are added
  • Confer with technical directors, managers, crew members, and writers to discuss details of production, such as photography,  script, music, sets, and costumes
  • Plan details such as framing, composition,  camera movement, sound, and actor movement for each shot or scene
  • Communicate to actors the approach,  characterization, and movement needed for each scene in such a way that rehearsals and takes are minimized
  • Establish pace of programs and sequences of scenes according to time requirements and cast and set accessibility
  • Choose settings and locations for films and determine how scenes will be shot in these settings

Other Job Titles

Directors are also known by other titles, including:

  • Producers
  • Actors
  • Assistant Directors
  • Talent Directors

Education,  Training, and Experience

Education and Training
  Formal dramatic training, either through an acting conservatory or a university program, generally is necessary for this job, but some people successfully enter the field without it. Most people studying for a bachelor’s degree take courses in radio and television broadcasting, communications, film, theater,  drama, or dramatic literature.

Directors often start out as actors. Many also have formal training in directing. The Directors Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers jointly sponsor the Assistant Directors Training Program. To be accepted to this highly competitive program, an individual must have either a bachelor’s or associate degree or 2 years of experience and must complete a written exam and other assessments. Program graduates are eligible to become a member of the Directors Guild and typically find employment as a second assistant director.

  Directors need talent and creativity. They also need business acumen.


The median annual salary for a Director is $61,000. The top 10 percent earn more than $145,000, and the lowest 10 percent earn less than $29,000.  Median earnings in the industries employing the largest number of directors are:

  • Motion Picture and Video Industries - $92,920
  • Radio and Television Broadcasting- $65,850
  • Cable and Other Subscription Programming - $76,360
  • Performing Arts Companies - $54,010
  • Advertising and Related Services - $108,220

Job Outlook

  • 2006-2016 Employment growth:  11%
  • Number of new jobs created 2006-2016: 10,000
  • Employment 2006 : 93,000
  • Employment 2016:  103,000
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