Skip to main content

What does a Director do?

Directors provide the creative vision for theatrical, broadcast and movie productions. To create scenes that keep audiences involved and entertained, successful directors need a unique combination of talent, creativity, technical, business and management skills.

director

Directors are responsible for interpretation of the script, guidance of the cast members and management of the entire production from start to finish.

Directors typically audition actors, select cast members, conduct rehearsals and coordinate the activities of the production crew. They make scores of creative decisions:

  • Characterization and movements of the actors
  • Design of sets, costumes, lighting
  • Use of music, sound effects, orchestration, choreography
  • Script changes
  • Camera angles, film editing, special effects
  • Settings or film locations

Depending on the size and type of production, a director might oversee anywhere from a handful of actors up to a “cast of thousands”. Also dependent on the size of the production is the need for assistant directors, who may coordinate activities at a second location or help give cues to actors or crew members. Directors need to keep a close eye on finances and are ultimately accountable to the executive producer for staying within an established budget.

Training for a career as a director

Competition for directing positions is fierce, so formal education is advised. You might pursue a bachelor’s degree in film, theater, radio and television broadcasting, or communications. Some universities offer degrees in film direction. Additional course work might include stage directing, play writing, design or dramatic literature.

Many aspiring directors gain experience in a related field like acting or writing, or learn on-the-job by assisting established directors. Some start their careers with small local or independent productions and progress to larger venues.

New York and Los Angeles may be the “Big Time” for stage, screen and television productions, but you can find directing opportunities across the country in regional theaters, repertory groups, indie film or video companies, local or cable television studios.

Prospective directors can even direct commercials, make corporate or educational videos, or oversee dramatic productions at resorts, universities or community theaters.

Career outlook for directors

Employment for directors is expected to grow at a rate of about 10 percent, as reported by Bureau of Labor Statistics. Continued development of interactive media, portable electronic devices, online movies and cable television operations should fuel the need for directors.

It’s worth noting that many directors’ salaries are covered by collective bargaining through unions like Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers (SSDC) for stage directors and Director’s Guild of America for film and television directors.

What does a Director of Development do?

As director of development, you can nearly be the star of your own show! The director of development is a top-spotlight professional spanning a range of career titles, including director of community development, director of industrial relations, and director of human resources. Do a quick Internet-news search on “director of development” to see how this career makes the spotlight:

  • “Urban Mission Fills New Director of Development Position”–It is a big role and inquiring minds want to know.
  • “EDC Director Says Economic Recovery in Area is Slow”–The director of development must ease concerns of employees, investors, and anyone else who might be concerned.
  • “Director of Community Development is Fired”–In this high-stakes job, you are held to high standards. Of course, the spotlight is no fun in these instances.

director of development

If you are ready for the spotlight, find out more about becoming a director of development

To shine in this profession, it is vital for you to have the following qualities:

  • Communication genius, on paper and in person
  • Master of tact, as in, no gossiping (especially about employees)
  • Natural-born (or at least well-learned) leader for your specific director title, because to direct means to lead
  • Hard worker. Yes, it is good to be this for virtually any position. But you will work hard as a director of development, sometimes more than 40 hours a week
  • Fantastic fundraiser. This will especially be essential if you direct a non-profit organization

Taking the right classes: director of development education

Your education will be important, too, to prepare you for the career and to make you stand out in the resume pile. Most often, to be a director, you will need at least a bachelor’s degree, and some employees require masters’ degrees. But there are multiple paths toward this career, and directors of development come from diverse backgrounds. However, degrees and/or courses in the human resources, industrial/labor relations, business administration and social sciences can best prepare you for the career. Knowing a second language is also helpful; and in some jobs, technical or scientific backgrounds–such as in computer science, engineering, law, or finace–are desired in candidates.

Director of development job outlook and salary

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that, for human resources, training, and labor relations managers and specialists, job growth is expected to be excellent: 22 percent job growth is projected. Jobs in the non-profit sector (advocacy, grantmaking, and civic organizations) are projected to grow by 14 percent during the same period.

Some of the top earning director of development careers include:

  • Human resources managers
  • Training and development managers
  • Public relations and fundraising managers
  • Administrative services managers

As you begin your new career, keep in mind that salaries vary by industry, geography and employer.

What does a Graphic Designer do?

Graphic designers are visual communicators. They use a variety of print, video and electronic media to create designs that meet clients’ advertising or promotional needs. Many graphic designers provide layout and overall design for newspapers, magazines, publications, or corporate reports. Others produce messages and visuals for Internet pages, mobile phones and electronic devices. These professionals may also do any number of the following duties:

  • produce promotional displays and marketing brochures
  • design distinctive company logos for products and businesses
  • develop signs and signage systems–called environmental graphics
  • produce the credits that appear before and after television programs and movies

graphic designer

Most graphic designers use computer software for selecting and arranging design elements and for presenting their sketches or rough drafts to clients. With the increased use of interactive media for advertising and communication, it is increasingly important that career graphic designers keep up with the latest computerized graphic design programs. Some graphic artists specialize in the digital areas of animation, video game, web site or multimedia design.

What to expect in graphics design training

In this competitive field, some formal training in fine arts or graphic design is essential. An associate degree may lead to an entry-level position as an assistant, but employers generally prefer individuals with a bachelor’s degree, with a portfolio demonstrating strength in conceptual design and computer graphics.

Many public and private colleges offer two and four-year degree programs in fine arts or graphic design. Look for graphic design programs that offer grounding in technical skills, like color and composition, drawing board skills and conceptual design. The curriculum should include training in the latest computer graphics and electronic imaging software.

Key graphics design courses include:

  • Drawing, Painting, Perspective
  • Color Theory
  • Fundamentals of Design
  • Illustration, Digital Illustration
  • History of Art, History of Design
  • Advertising Design
  • Web Site Design
  • Professional Development
  • Typography, Print production

Students profit by real world projects that they can turn into professional quality portfolios. The combination of technical and professional development courses in the better graphic design schools help students develop skills in critical thinking, communication, and problem solving while offering career counseling and hands-on experience.

Employment outlook for graphic designers

Most career designers are employed by specialized design firms, advertising agencies, printing and publishing firms and computer systems companies. Due to increased demand for multimedia marketing by ad agencies and computer design firms, job growth of about 13 percent is projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.