Directors are the main creative force in a film’s production — a crucial link between all production, technical, legal and creative teams. They are responsible for the film's artistic and commercial success or failure, which is why having a creative vision is critical. If you are passionate about showing the world your creative side through filmmaking, becoming a director is the perfect job. Read this comprehensive guide to help you create a standout resume to land your dream job.
Let’s begin by introducing you to the three standard resume formats.
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Job duties of a director
A director executes the writer’s vision, helps choose the cast and leads the overall production; they play a central role in the success of a film project. As a director, you will create motion pictures, ads and various other visual performing arts that bring exciting stories to life.
Here are some of the primary job duties of a director:
Reading, selecting and interpreting scripts are written for films, shows, commercials and plays.
Working closely with casting directors and producers to choose the cast, crew and other team members.
Making crucial decisions on location, costumes, special effects, designs and sound systems.
Supervising and approving all creative aspects of the film production.
Guiding and directing actors on how to bring their characters to life.
Ensuring project completion within the allocated budget and time set by the producer.
Choosing music or background score by working with the music production team
Overseeing final edits, sometimes working in the editing bay themselves.
Promoting finished works or production through newspapers, advertisements, film festivals and interviews
Motivating team members to deliver the best possible results.
Performing technical duties to support and assist project teams as needed.
Directors median salaries
As per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, directors in the U.S. have an average median salary of $74,420 per year. Job growth depends on the strong demand for movies and television shows. However, the more experience you have for the position, the higher you will go.
Top skills for directors
Directors are the force behind a film’s production. They are responsible for bringing a written script to life, so they need great creative vision, dedication and commitment. Directors in the entertainment industry must possess diverse skills, including communicating well with others, decisiveness, creativity, technical and leadership skills.
Here are some of the top skills and abilities required to succeed in this field:
- Strong listening skills: Directors need to understand what others are telling them to understand the project better.
- Reading comprehension: Directors need to be able to read and understand written material, especially scripts.
- Verbal communication: They must communicate information orally so others can understand what they need to do.
- Interpersonal skills: Directors must coordinate their actions with those of others in a crew. They need to negotiate with and persuade the cast and crew and empathize and sympathize with them.
- Management: A director needs to provide instructions, give helpful feedback, and take responsibility when situations don't go well.
- Critical thinking: They must be able to identify and evaluate solutions to problems.
- Time management: Directors are responsible for a multitude of tasks, which is why they need to be able to use their time management skills effectively.
- Creativity: Directors need to use their imagination to interpret scripts and other material.
- Technical knowledge: A director needs to give clear instructions; they need to understand the creative requirements. Directors decide the shots, understand the role light plays on the image being captured and know how to edit during production — all these considerations take excellent technical knowledge that you should earn through training and experience. Technology changes rapidly in the film industry, and directors must keep up with the latest trends like software and gadgets.Other skills include the ability to act as a strong and confident leader. They should also be able to withstand long hours of intensive work. Directors also need to bring attention to detail and remain calm and think clearly under pressure.
Educational requirements for directors
Although you can pursue a career as a film director without a university degree, you should hold a bachelor’s degree in Film Production or Visual Arts.
Various film schools around the world offer Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), Bachelor of Science (BS), Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree programs where students can choose majors or electives in Film Studies, Movie Production, Cinematography, Mass Communication, Media Studies and Editing.
Some of the universities in the U.S. offering degree programs are Loyola Marymount University, with an undergraduate degree in Film and Television Production; Boston College, with programs in Art History, Film Studies and Studio Art and Ithaca College, has bachelor program in Film, Photography and Visual Arts.
You can also pursue programs in theater arts from any institution accredited by The National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST). This association sets national standards for graduate and undergraduate degrees and other programs in theater-related disciplines. Pursuing a formal degree in filmmaking helps you gain a deep understanding of the industry’s nuances, like advanced filmmaking techniques and theories — all aspects that will help you lead a whole production team as you gain experience.
The prestigious New York Film Academy also offers a bachelor’s, a master’s and an associate degree program in Filmmaking. This academy gives students a realistic view of what it will be like working in this field with a rigorous schedule of classes, workshops and hands-on experience.
Certifications available from universities and collegesNumerous filmmaking institutions offer certificate courses such as a Certificate in Collaborative Filmmaking from Maine Media, nonprofit educational organization, Film Crew Technology Certification from Columbia State Community College and many other colleges; all certifications span from six months to two years in duration. The Directing Certificate from London Film Academy is highly recognized, fast-paced and can add to your resume. This five-day course is given under the guidance of experienced filmmaking professionals who will introduce you to visual storytelling and teach you how to express your creativity. This helps students enhance their existing knowledge, earn extra qualifications and cover gaps between different subjects.
Online CertificationsOther certifications available for this field are the Director’s Foundation Certificate available online from Raindance Film School; it’s a five-week film directing course where students will learn all aspects of the craft through demonstration, practical instructions and lecture style. Another one is the Certification in Directing from UCLA Extension that will teach the essential principles of directing.
Director resume-writing tips
While there are numerous tips and tricks to create an eye-catching resume, below are some of the most practical. Learn how to display your expertise, job history and experience level effectively.
- Write an impactful career objective or professional summary. Write an opening statement, professional summary or career objective that efficiently conveys your level of experience and unique skills (both soft and hard skills) and convinces the employer why you're the perfect choice. Use keywords from the job description and mention skills that are most relevant to the job position. Use words that reflect your passion for filmmaking, including artistic and creative abilities.
- Keep things clear, concise, and professional. Avoid adding too much information and cluttering your resume as it reduces readability. Keep it restricted to one page with clear and concise details displayed in a structured layout. Avoid using colorful templates or excessive formatting. Instead, select fonts and a light background color palette for a professional look. Choose the correct resume format and use bullet points to list your work experience.
- Display key achievements separately. Make a separate column to display your key achievements, including the number of films, documentaries or ad projects created or worked on, special recognitions, awards or accolades won and film screenings at film festivals. This will demonstrate your ability to handle the job and highlight some of your skills.
- Highlight your educational qualifications. Remember to include your educational qualifications, degrees and certificates. Do mention your area of expertise or specialization. Adding certificates and specializations reveals your most crucial areas of knowledge in the field. Include the complete name of the institution and degrees obtained.
- Proofread your resume. Fact-check the details and proofread the final draft by making changes wherever required. Pay attention to spelling, grammar and punctuation errors. These minor errors in your resume can make or break the chances of you getting hired. Seek an external opinion on your resume or use our professional resume builder for an honest review.
How can you start your directing career?
One can become a director without formal education. However, most film directors hold at least a bachelor’s degree in film production or visual arts. Most directors have an educational background in fine arts, film and media studies or cinematography. You would begin your directing career by taking more minor roles, such as the assistant to senior directors, to gain experience and progress as you gain work experience.
Is directing a good career in the long run?
Directing jobs are expected to increase by 10%, much faster than the average for all occupations due to the excessive public demand for films and television productions from 2019 to 2029.
However, the success and demand for directors depend on your unique skills, specialization, experience and connections within the industry. You should be prepared to face challenges within this industry but must continue to pursue your interests with the dedication to succeed in this field.