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Performing arts

TV or film director

TV and film directors lead the creative and technical production for cinema and television.

Annual Salary


Average UK salary in 2023 was £34,963
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

39 to 41 irregular

You could work: evenings / weekends / bank holidays; away from home

Future employment

There will be 0.5% more TV or film director jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

You could:

  • meet producers to plan filming schedules and resources
  • develop scripts or ideas for programmes
  • develop storyboards
  • decide how the production should look and where it should be filmed
  • hire the cast and crew
  • explain technical requirements to different teams
  • direct actors on set or location
  • supervise the editing

Working environment

You could work at a film studio, at a TV studio or on a film set.

Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time and you may spend nights away from home.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • working towards this role
  • producing and releasing your own films
  • specialist courses run by private training providers

You could take a course at university to get into the industry. Courses include:

  • film or television production
  • broadcast production
  • filmmaking
  • drama
  • TV, film and theatre studies

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
For more information

You may find it helpful to take a film-making or media production course that helps you to build practical skills and make contacts in the industry.

Relevant courses include:

  • Level 3 Diploma in Film and Television Production
  • Level 3 Diploma in Performing and Production Arts
  • Level 3 Extended Diploma in Creative and Digital Media
  • T Level in Media, Broadcast and Production

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for these courses vary.

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths for a T level
For more information

Many directors start out as runners, helping out on film or TV sets, and work their way up through other jobs like 3rd and 2nd assistant director or floor manager. Others move into directing after getting experience in camera work, screenwriting or acting.

Volunteering and work experience

It's important to get as much experience as you can in film and TV, and an in-depth understanding of the production process.

You can do this by taking part in activities like student or community film or TV, and finding work experience placements on film projects.

You can search for film and TV companies to approach for experience through media business listing services like PACT and The Knowledge.

Other routes

Another way to break into film directing is to make your own films, known as 'shorts'. You can market these to agents, post them online or enter them into film festivals and competitions. You'll need access to equipment, crew and actors to make your own films. Getting involved in community filming projects can help with this.

You could also take short courses in production skills for directors run by film schools, regional screen agencies and private training providers. You can search for relevant industry approved courses through ScreenSkills.

More information

Career tips

Get as much experience of amateur film making as you can, to develop your skills and make industry contacts. Create a portfolio to showcase your talent.

Further information

You'll find more details about directing in film and TV through ScreenSkills.

Shooting People has information, resources and networks for independent film-makers.

You can find out more about creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.

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With experience you might develop your own projects and raise the money to put them into production.

Creative Skillset has more information about working as a director.

You'll find more details about directing in film and TV through ScreenSkills.

Shooting People has information, resources and networks for independent film-makers.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of media production and communication
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others
  • leadership skills
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • broadcasting and telecommunications knowledge
  • knowledge of English language
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently
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