Career as a Film Director – A guide to making your own films! 


For any film, the film director is the captain. They are the ones whose creative vision we see on screen. However, there are some interesting ways certain directors convey their stories. 

For instance, Sanjay Leela Bhansali uses colours and inanimate objects to show the feelings of his characters. Zoya Akhtar’s film usually focuses on perspective and uses mirrors to convey the conflicts that her characters go through. 

There are also certain different ways the directors conceive their characters and write their stories. Anurag Kashyap likes his characters to be vulnerable and contradictory. Therefore, his films would never portray a perfect man or a woman. On the other hand, Karan Johar likes his characters to be “an ideal man or woman” that the audience aspires to become. 

These are the different ways the directors choose to communicate their creative vision. If this is something that interests you, then read the blog to know more about a career as a film director. 

What does a film director do? 

The duties of a director include involvement in almost every stage of production. Directors collaborate closely with department heads and technicians to realize their vision since it has a significant influence on the finished result.

The day-to-day activities of a director change as the film’s production progresses. Let’s check what they do during each of these production phases: 

  1. During Pre-production: 
    The director and other creatives develop a plan for the movie during preproduction. Both pragmatic and artistic decisions must be made. The director during this phase considers casting, shot selection, styles, and colour schemes throughout preproduction. Depending on the scope and cost of the production, he or she may also be in charge of planning rehearsal and filming schedules and location scouting.
  1. During Production: 
    When people think of being a film director, production—on the set with the cast and crew calling “action” or “cut”—is perhaps what they most often picture. Production is a crucial period for a film director, and for good reason. At this point, he or she notes performances and shoots and checks that all of the blocking is precise.
  1. Post-production: 
    When everything is finished, that is called postproduction. At this point, the director will assume a more managerial position. Editing, colour correction, and the addition of sound and visual effects all need to be done. This is when the movie takes on its definitive form.

Job roles for a Film Director 

Being a Film director is the only way to learn directing. However, there are a few roles that you can try before directing a full-fledged movie: 

Various job roles for a film director
Be ready for such a conversation with your director.
  • First Assistant Director (AD): 
    The First Assistant Director (AD), who serves as the director’s right-hand man, handles a variety of crucial logistical considerations so that the director can focus on the creative process. First ADs break down the script into a shot-by-shot storyboard during pre-production. They collaborate with the director to decide the shooting order and the length of time needed to shoot each scene. The total shooting schedule is then created (a timetable for the filming period). First will be the responsibility for ensuring that the shoot adheres to this timetable while the movie is in production.
  • Second Assistant Director: 
    The First Assistant Director’s right-hand man is the Second Assistant Director. The primary responsibility of the Second AD is to make sure that all of the First AD’s directives are followed. Under the direction of the First, the seconds prepare and draught the “call sheet,” a document that includes daily shooting schedules and is distributed to cast and crew. They also supervise all cast movements, making sure that the main actors are donning makeup, changing into the wardrobe, or waiting in line on set at the appropriate times.
Ad is the right man for a film director
ADs are the ones doing this movie clap! Source
  • Third Assistant Director: 
    The Third Assistant Director’s primary responsibility is to support and help the First and Second Assistant Directors in any way that may be required on the set or location. While many different tasks may be involved, most Thirds’ primary responsibilities centre on the motion and actions of background performers (extras). Particularly in sequences with a lot of people, thirds may be needed to control the action of extras or vehicles that appear in the camera as background elements. On the set or location, thirds also serve as messengers and are frequently tasked with informing cast or crew members of messages and information through a radio link.
  • Script Supervisors: 
    A member of a film crew known as a script supervisor (also known as a continuity supervisor or continuity) is in charge of keeping the internal continuity of the motion picture consistent and keeping track of the daily progress made by the production unit while shooting the screenplay.
  • Casting Director: 
    Casting directors assist in finding the right actors for the right roles, which is a fundamental requirement for every film. They must maintain constant communication with the producer, director, and writer. It is your duty as a casting director to meet with people in order to shortlist and choose the most qualified applicants. A great actor is said to be the cornerstone of a great movie.

Career Paths to becoming a Film Director 

There is no subject requirement or degree required to become a film director. However, formal training can help a lot to become a film director. There are 2 paths to becoming a film director: 

PATH 1: Through Conventional degrees 

You can go for a college degree to become a film director. You can choose arts in your 11th and 12th grades. Post this, you can pursue courses like B.A. in filmmaking or cinema studies. A practical and artistic production-based degree, the Bachelor of Arts in Film Making and Television Production allows students to concentrate on acquiring the skills necessary for organizing, supervising, shooting, and editing films of all genres, for audiences of varying sizes.

PATH 2: Through Diploma Courses 

After completing 10+2, you can even opt for diploma courses in filmmaking through various acting institutes across the country. Students who wish to understand a topic over a short period of time and then begin working often enrol in diploma programs in film production. Additionally, a two-year full-time diploma program in filmmaking has been developed with a curriculum that offers both theoretical and practical instruction in the field.

To know more about the diploma courses offered by some great acting schools, you can check out our blog on how to become a film director. 

Salary in different stages of Career as a Film Director 

The average gross pay for a film director in India is Rs. 27,75,240. 

Wage estimates based on data from anonymous Indian employees and employers via salary surveys have also found the following: 

Experience level Entry-level Middle-level Senior-level 
Salary/year 19,66,669.27,75,24035,0442
Attention To Detail is a must have skill for a film director
This should be you, taking note of every detail! Source

Skills required to become a Film Director 

  • Detail-oriented 
    As a combination of moving pictures and sound, a movie’s expert should know which components of each they want and which don’t. Watching the work of filmmakers you admire and even those you don’t is a good method to develop your eye.
  • Creativity 
    Film directors are creative people because they use their films to create tales. A film director needs inspiration and a creative vision to choose the visual tone of the plot and assure appropriate costumes, props, and set designs. Being creative enables a film director to collaborate with other creative individuals such as actors, music composers, lyricists, and scriptwriters.
  • Organization Skills 
    Directors must be skilled at managing stress, balancing a dozen things at once, and planning since there is so much going on on a film set. The majority of seasoned directors have expertise in managing teams of people, and they have a system in place to prevent, or at least limit, the chaos that can wreak havoc on the production of a movie.
  • Flexibility 
    The process of directing a movie is dynamic. A movie director may make hurried adjustments to the plot, the cast, or even the direction. They may manage their team more effectively and establish more achievable film direction goals by adjusting to changes in their filming process.
Decisions making- important skill for a film director
Just like these sharks, there will be hundreds of people waiting for your answer. So follow what the old man is saying! Source
  • Decisiveness and leadership skills 
    A film director is in charge of all operational and artistic choices. The majority of the time, great directors are bold, if not downright authoritative—and they are never undecided.
  • Communication skills 
    Film directors must have strong communication skills because they work with so many other team members. A film
    director can more easily translate their vision into reality and more effectively tell a story when they are able to communicate their ideas and vision to the production team. The storyline of a film is frequently written by the film director using their written communication talents in the absence of a scriptwriter.
  • Technical Skills 
    It is difficult to fulfil the artistic requirements of a film without technical expertise on various issues related to film direction. A successful career requires, for example, an awareness of the function light plays and the editing of captured photographs. Additionally, because technology advances quickly, businesses favor applicants who keep up with emerging trends and innovations.

Is being a Film Director a good career option? 

As one of the most popular majors provided by the colleges that offer the course, film direction is anticipated to become extremely competitive in the future. Being ahead of the competition becomes increasingly necessary and challenging as one gains experience in the field. In the next ten years, there could be a 10% growth in the number of film directors. The number of film industry jobs is expanding quickly. With new talent entering the market every year and actively participating in the field, this rate of growth guarantees that the competition will stay strong in this sector.

Making imaginary movies is not the only application of the art of film direction. Another vast area where the use of film directors is vital is in science and technology. Additionally, there is a big market for non-fictional programming, including documentaries and television programs. The difficulties in this field include the need for a network to find work, the need to be able to present oneself and be around people who can help you get past many roadblocks in your directing career, and the requirement that professionals work late hours to get the perfect shot as opposed to other desk jobs.

Type of Industries hiring for a film director 

Filmmakers have a tonne of job options in Bollywood, the second-largest film industry in the world. The majority of these possibilities are concentrated in Mumbai. Below are some of the best acting job opportunities:

  • Motion Pictures
  • Television Industry
  • Stage Shows
  • Advertisement Agencies
  • Video Industry
  • Theatre Companies

Top Recruiters for a Film Director in India 

There are no particular businesses that hire filmmakers. However, a lot of production companies and agencies employ these experts. Some of them are:

  • Yash Raj Films
  • UTV Motion Pictures Ltd.
  • Dharma Productions
  • Red Chillies Entertainment
  • Bhansali Productions
  • Balaji Motion Pictures
  • Phantom Films
  • Rajshri Productions
  • Eros International

Courses to Upskill as a Film Director 

If you’re unsure about a job as a Director, you may test it out by registering for a range of time- and money-saving online courses or as a way to upskill yourself. There is no prerequisite for them, thus you can enrol in them after getting your 10th grade.

Certificate Course Duration 
Getting your film off the ground 1-3 months 
Write a feature-length screenplay for films and TV 3-6 Months 
Creating a Short Film: O5 Directing 2 hours 27 mins 
Make a Short film: Start to finish 4 hours 52 mins 
Learn to storyboard for Film or Animation 2 hours of online content 
Movie Directing made simple: How to direct movies 6 hours of online content 

Want to start your own Production house, consider our JuniorMBA entrepreneurship program to learn the necessary skills.

Qualifications required to become a Film Director 

Degrees in India 

As mentioned previously there is no degree requirement to become a film director. However, a certain amount of experience or formal training is a good way to start your journey as a director. 

UG Degrees: 

Following are some of the degrees that you can check out which might prove as a good way to gain some technical knowledge about the field. 

Undergraduate Degree Duration 
BSc. in Digital Filmmaking 3 Years 
B.A. In Film Making 3 Years 
B.A. in Film, TV, New Media and Production 3 Years 
B.A. In Cinema Studies 3 Years 
B.A. (Hons.) in Film and New Media3 Years
B.A. in Film Television and New Media Production3 Years 

PG Degrees: 

You can either opt to get into the industry and gain first-hand experience or pursue higher education in the field. Some of the courses that you can try out include: 

PG DegreeDuration 
Masters of Fine Arts in Film Making (MFA) 2 Years 
MA. (Master of Arts) Cinema and Television2 Years 
M.A. (Master of Arts) Filmmaking2 Years 

Degrees Abroad 

The undergraduate programs abroad differ in terms of their structure and approach to teaching them. They might be more practical with a major focus on filmmaking rather than film studies. Some of the courses that you can check out include BA (Hons) in Film and Television Production, Film (Film and Media Production), BA, BA in Cinema & Media Studies, Film Production BA (Hons), Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film & Television, BFA in Image Arts: Film Studies. These courses take 36-48 months to complete, depending on the country you apply to. 

You can even go abroad after completing your bachelor’s in your home country. Abroad options for film directing include courses like MFA in film production, MA in film making, and M.A in Film studies. These courses are 1-2 years long depending on the country you apply to. 

Entry into these courses will require you to give language proficiency test scores of IELTS, TOEFL, PTE, SATs, etc along with an SOP (Statement of Purpose) and LORs (Letter of Recommendation). Want some help with SATs? We have got you covered. Read this blog to know more!

Want to know more? Check these out: 

Here are some of the books you can check out: 

  • Making movies- Sidney Lumet
  • On Directing Film- David Mamet
  • On Film-making: An Introduction to the Craft of the Director- Alexander Mackendrick
  • The filmmaker’s handbook- Ed Pincus

Some of the great directors (Indian and Global) whose work you should check out include: 

  • Steven Speilberg 
  • Sanajy Leela Bhansali 
  • Martin Scorcese 
  • Zoya Akhtar 
  • Christopher Nolan 

As a result, film directors use their strong management, leadership, and communication skills to coordinate the talents of what may be a big team of people collaborating to create a film. Film directors use their artistic abilities to bring a story to life. Their projects keep getting more interesting as they advance in their careers, maintaining their stellar reputation.

FAQs- Frequently Asked Questions about the Career as a Film Director

What should I study to become a film director?

A bachelor’s degree is necessary to work in the film industry. One can acquire an MFA degree depending on their job interests. One can pursue an Associate Degree in Film Studies, a BA in Filmmaking, a BSc in Digital Filmmaking, a BA in Cinema Study, or an MA in Film Studies after finishing the 10+2 requirement

How many hours does a film director work?

The average day’s work for a director of a movie is 12 to 14 hours. The length of the workday might be increased depending on the project’s requirements. Most of the time, movie directors are working outside. They film in a real setting, which may be any place on the planet. There are no set hours for working. Due to the need for a script, their work occasionally begins at night. Thus, the working hours differ from one project to the next. They frequently have to put in extra time to finish a shoot or make a deadline.

 How much does a film director make?

The starting salary for a film director in India is often between Rs. 85,000 and Rs. 95,000 for each movie. With more expertise, this salary can rise to anywhere between 20 and 30 lakhs per production. The pay that was indicated above is typical. Depending on one’s knowledge and experience, it may go down or up.

Is it hard to be a film director?

Is being a good director difficult? Yes, however with enough time, perseverance, and effort, you can probably learn most, if not all, of the qualities that successful Directors possess, like having a clear vision, working well with others, and, of course, coaching your actors to deliver stellar performances.

Is directing a good career?

Without a doubt, directing is one of the most crucial roles in the business, and for good reason. To be a successful director, you need a combination of ability, abilities, and experience.

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