A film director oversees the production of a film or television series from its written creation as a screenplay to the final visual product seen by an audience. Within the course of making the film the director has several responsibilities during the pre-production, production and post-production phases.
Whereas producers manage the entire project and have financial control of the film, the directors’ main focus is its artistic qualities. In order to accomplish this, they must interpret how the screenplay will be transformed from a written story into a visual one. This means they have to be versed in all the technical aspects of film making.
Directors must oversee the staff on the set as well as adhere to the shooting schedule and budget set forth when shooting begins. They decide which locations to use. They have to express to the art director or set designer what kind of sets to build or props to use. They are also very much involved in the cinematography by communicating to the director of photography and other camera operators how they would like the shots framed, focused and timed. Directors will work with the lighting designer and gaffers to ensure the effects they are looking for in each shot. And directors will also work with the sound mixers on set who make certain that microphones are placed properly for the desired recording.
Film directors are responsible for instructing the actors on how they would like them to play their characters and their placement within the shots. They may decide to shoot several takes of the same scene so there is more footage to work with in post-production. The director knows the importance of getting the necessary amount of shots during the production phase as reshooting is very costly and time consuming. Actors may have moved on to other projects and may not be available to reshoot.
During the post-production phase of filmmaking, directors will work closely with the editors to make sure the scenes are put together in a cohesive manner. They will also give direction to the colorists, visual effects producers and sound editors so all the different pieces involved in creating the visuals and sound are true to their vision of the finished film.
Making a film is a collaborative effort between the director, screenwriter, cast, crew, and studio. But ultimately it is the director who is the captain of the ship and determines the final artistic direction of the film.
About the author: Jonathan Roberts is an NYU Tisch student of cinematic and commercial filmmaking with a passion for storytelling.
FilmThat™ is a video production company founded and run by Jonathan Roberts. FilmThat.com™ explores the world of filmmaking and visual narrative. Favorite topics include impact driven screenwriting, producing, directing, shooting, and editing cinematic, corporate and documentary films.
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