A film director explaining roles and responsibilities to the actors

Behind the camera: Exploring the roles and responsibilities of a film director

A photograph of a film director is normally of a person wearing a black hat with the word ‘director’ on it or sitting in front of a camera on a set or the person having deep discussions with the crew. Surprisingly, this is just one of the tasks of what a director does.  The roles and responsibilities of a film director are not just limited to the activities on set or saying the magic word “cut”.  Before the film can even go into production, there are so many tasks a director is responsible for. They have to analyse the script, cast actors, scout for locations, arrange for proper crew and so on. Today, at APAC, we are going to discover what it is like to be a film director and what responsibilities they have apart from shooting a movie. Keep reading to find out more about this creative and interesting career! 

Who is a film director? 

A film director is the one calling the shots before a film even goes into production. They are the mastermind behind a movie. The director is one of the first person who is chosen for their talent and creative vision once the initial script is approved. A film director is the first person to be brought on board, even before the producers and department heads, because they play a significant role in creating a movie. The film director is responsible for managing and performing the artistic, dramatic and visual aspects of the film, bringing the words of the script to life on the big screen. 

A director with a clear vision can turn an average film into a blockbuster, while a director without the necessary skills can even turn a thoroughly researched and written script into a failure. That’s why it’s important to understand the roles and responsibilities of the director, to analyse what the script needs, and to choose a director who can really do him justice. 

Roles and responsibilities of a film director 

Depending on the stage of production and the requirements for the film, the roles and responsibilities of the director may vary. Let’s look at some of them. 

  1. Creative visionary

A director is a creative visionary who plays a decisive role in the filmmaking business. They are the ones who interpret the script during the initial stage or reading of the table and turn it into a visual layout using the storyboard to share their vision with the crew. They are responsible for making important decisions such as camera angles, frame composition and lighting to create impressive visual images and give direction to the story. Often, directors plan many important scenes and transitions in advance to demonstrate their distinctive visual style. 

  1. Pre-production

The roles and responsibilities of a film director begin long before the start of filming. They have to plan and organize a lot of things, such as casting, location search, and production design. In addition, they should also work with manufacturers and department managers to allocate funds for various resources and to bring together skilled and talented crew members. 

  1. On-set duties

Often, it may seem that the roles and responsibilities of a film director are extensive and far beyond the limits, almost infinite. During the pre-production, the director collaborates with various departments, such as acting, cinematography, and costume design, to discuss actors’ performances, shooting, camera angles, and modifications of costumes or scenes to desired shots. These are some of the many important discussions that a director has to lead. They can take place during shooting, during breaks or after the pack-up for the day. The goal of the director is to bring everyone on the same page, make them understand the film’s vision and work together to make it happen. 

  1. Problem solver

During film production, a director plays a lot of roles, a problem solver, a script developer alongside the screenwriter, a coach for actors to guide their performance, a leader for the crew, a mentor for many, and whatnot. There’s no handbook on the roles and responsibilities of the film director. They must always be ready for unexpected challenges, make quick decisions, constantly adapt and find creative solutions. 

  1. Post-production

The roles and responsibilities of the film director do not end once the shooting stops. After the initial filming is completed, they work closely with editors, sound designers and visual effects artists (VFX) during post-production. This is the stage when the director’s creative decisions take centre stage, and a tentative narrative of the film begins to form. The director has to coordinate with various departments to comb through raw footage, select the best shots, and add visual plus auditory elements to create aesthetics for the film. The director is also responsible for obtaining approval from the studio for the final cut of the film. It is a testimony to their authority and decision-making power. 

Explore a career behind the camera with the Australian Conservatory of Performing Arts (APAC) 

A film director controls and manages various important aspects of the films, which is why it’s important to understand the roles and responsibilities that come with the job. Directors bring their creativity, visionary thinking and leadership skills to the table. If you are interested in learning more about the world of film directors and the roles and responsibilities of directors, then join the Australian Conservatory of Performing Arts (APAC) Bachelor of Screen & Stage (Screen Production) program. Our comprehensive program not only introduces you to film directing but also provides a nourishing platform for personal growth and development. You can improve your technical, leadership, creative and communicative skills with us to become a successful visionary director. 

Frequently asked questions about the roles and responsibilities of a director 

Q1. What are the roles and responsibilities of a film director? 

A1. The roles and responsibilities of a film director begin when with the many tasks during pre-production and end after the final approval of the film from the studios; sometimes, they continue even after that. Their responsibilities include: 

  • Selecting actors suitable for their roles. 
  • Interpreting and translating scripts into a visual landscape. 
  • Overseeing workplaces and rehearsals. 
  • Finding suitable places. 
  • Meeting budgets and schedules. 
  • Coordinating with the crew to create a cohesive and visually attractive film. 

Q2. What inspires film directors? 

A2. A film director can find inspiration from anywhere and from anything, just like any other person on Earth. Inspiration can come from a single colour on a canvas, a thoughtful photograph, the shape of a building, or even the silhouette of two people walking along the road. 

Q3. Why do people love directing? 

A3. Direction is a creative outlet for emotions. As a film director, you can express your ideas and emotions with a well-planned and executed shot. You have the power to make the creative decisions that shape the narrative of your story and share it using visual mediums the way you want. 

Q4. What is the most important quality of a film director? 

A4. Vision is one of the most, if not the most, important qualities of a film director. They must be able to visualise and execute the ideas to create an engaging and thought-provoking movie. A great director has a clear vision and has the power to bring the words on paper to life on the white screen. 

Q5. How can I become a film director? 

A5. To become a film director, you need to acquire theoretical, practical and technical skills as well as some hands-on experience. You can acquire all these skills and more with the Bachelor of Screen & Stage (Screen Production) program at APAC. With our program, you will learn everything there is to know about screen production, be it writing scripts, producing and directing short films, music videos, television commercials and even web series.