Soundsight Summer School: Directing -


Welcome back to the third week of SoundSight Summer School, today we’re talking about directing! Directing is probably one of the most well-known jobs in the film industry, but what is a director exactly? By definition a director “controls a film’s artistic and dramatic aspects and visualizes the screenplay while guiding the technical crew and actors in the fulfillment of that vision”. In reality a director has to be a master collaborator, they must be able to work well with every department of the film industry. If a director cannot work well with actors, producers, cinematographers, set designers, and crew or the film will not be well made, nor will it have been a worthwhile experience to make it. As the creative force behind the film, it is the director’s job to keep the team inspired by the project no matter how hard a day of filming might get.

So, how does a director work in the industry? First, a director must have a few more basic foundations in order to work in the film industry. To direct you must have an understanding of screenwriting, cinematography, and acting since those are the three most direct parts of the film you are working with. As a director you can write a script yourself, or a producer can bring you on to a project. Typically directors are given a weekly salary while working on a film that is dependent on their work and skill (and the film’s budget). If a director doesn’t understand the basics of screenwriting they will not accurately be able to transform the script into a great movie. Another area of filmmaking that directors should be well versed in is cinematography. Typically directors work with cinematographers (also known as directors of photography) in order to bring a story to the screen. With that being said a director should be able to read the script and start envisioning it from a cinematic perspective. The role of the camera is what changes a script that can be acted on stage to one that will be made into a film. Finally, a director will work with actors to help bring the characters together and take them off of a page and into life. As a director you need to develop a strong bond with the actors because they are bringing their most vulnerable self in order to deliver a strong performance. These are just some of the things to keep in mind when considering becoming a director. Check out some of the following books, Youtube channels, and podcasts for more information and personal experiences from veterans in the industry today!


Youtube Channels


  • The Director’s Cut (from the Director’s Guild of America)
  • The /Filmcast
  • The No Film School Podcast
  • We’re Watching Here
  • Indie Film Tribe

A director’s job is truly one of transformation and building a viewer experience. Directors are able to take a script and transform it into something that people can see and experience through a screen. It is the little touches that a director gives to the script and the ways a director will have an actor behave that pushes a good film to being a great one. One of the coolest things about directing is the different types of directing styles there are. You can probably tell the difference between a Wes Anderson movie and a Quentin Tarantino movie, it’s their personal style and flare that they pour into the film. If you really enjoy pushing a story to the next creative level, directing might be your niche. As filmmaker Ron Howard notes, “One of the great things about being a director as a life choice is that it can never be mastered. Every story is its own kind of expedition, with its own set of challenges”. The beauty of directing and filmmaking is the ability to grow and learn more about yourself, your skills and your craft. You can never be an expert and every experience is a lesson.

Next week’s article topic is: Producing!