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Arts Studies: 8 Skills You Need to Succeed as a Film Director

Arts Studies: 8 Skills You Need to Succeed as a Film Director

The whole filmmaking process is based on one specific person – a film director. This specialist organizes the work of actors, camerapeople, sound engineers, costume designers, makeup artists, and editors. 

A film director is responsible for the final product – its triumph or utter failure. That is why many people who are in love with cinema dream of mastering this profession. To be successful, a film director must possess certain qualities, and in this article, we have collected eight of them.


Many aspiring directors sometimes can’t decide to shoot a project which falls into their hands. Why? They are afraid to take risks and are not ready to be responsible for the result.

Some filmmakers wait for the perfect script or the perfect team for so long that they end up missing out on plenty of opportunities. The main reason for their uncertainty is that the shooting process itself is an endless series of decisions to be made. And if you don’t know how to be responsible for your choices, most likely, directing is not for you.

Yes, the risk is high, as the success of a project and the demand for a director are closely related. That is why unprofitable films often affect the director’s reputation – your name is at stake, after all.

Attention to Detail

It is essential for the directors to see the final result (i.e., the movie) so clearly as if they have already watched it in their heads. Then, they will be thorough and won’t settle for anything that lowers their standards. A great specialist carefully prepares for each shooting and wants the production team and actors to achieve perfect results (or at least close to that).

Unique Style and Artistic Taste

Every iconic director is easily recognizable due to their extraordinary perspective. Even if you missed the opening credits, you would never mix up Tarantino’s or Guillermo del Toro’s film, and so on.

It is this uncommon view that allows young filmmakers to make a statement in the industry. Even one microbudget short film helps you express yourself – the main thing is to use your potential and vision.

Striving for Self-Development

Of course, the basics of standard education are important. It’s crucial to know drama and staging to set tasks for actors. Then, they will give out exactly the emotion that you need. Understanding montage is another necessary thing. But learning is an endless process. 

These days, there are plenty of materials: books, seminars, and masterclasses of well-known directors, so never stop educating yourself. You’ll definitely need to free up some time for this. Asking someone experienced to help to write an essay is probably the best way to manage it all these days. Forgetting about deadlines and papers, you’ll finally concentrate on what truly matters now. 

Broad Outlook

Devote your time to watching as many commercially successful films, iconic movies, and festival-winning projects as possible. Later, they can inspire directing decisions for the next script.

Many directors refer to the works of great masters, and you can reproduce scenes from Chaplin in your sketch or Kubrick’s tricks in a film about space. But there should be something of your own since endless borrowing only leads to failure.

Team Spirit and Leadership

Many beginners tend to think that they will be the center of the production process. However, filming is all about listening to others. 

The director must find a common language with the team and interact with dozens (or even hundreds) of specialists: from actors and costume designers to makeup artists. It is difficult to get the team to cooperate if you hate socializing or don’t respect everyone around you. 

Any working process is complicated, and filmmaking is no exception. It is difficult to make an incredible product without compromises and a sense of humor, as they help overcome fatigue and get out of conflict situations.

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This is especially important if you are a director and producer at the same time. You must be able to find sponsors, explain the essence of your film, and persuade them to invest in this particular project.

Technical Proficiency

A modern director isn’t only proficient in cameras and optics but also constantly studies everything that surrounds them on the set and at the post-production stage. Sometimes, technical innovations are no less important to a film than the plot (as in the case of Avatar). Experienced directors quickly understand what scenes can be shot without using nature or difficult interiors to create. 

Considering that almost no high-tech film can do without a chroma key, motion capture, and other technologies, it is worth being aware of how to work with them.

Positive Attitude and Stress Resistance

We often believe that work on a film begins with the words “Lights, cameraaction” and ends with premieres, endless parties, and fame. But the filming process is much more complicated. Not everything can be shot on the first try, and sometimes it doesn’t work at all. 

Traditionally, at the beginning of the shift, everyone is cheerful and full of energy. But by the second half of the day, many people feel exhausted. Things get better thanks to a director, who is in charge of the entire atmosphere on set. Being the driving force of the project, directors know how to inspire others, remain productive for a long time, and resist stress. 

Always have answers to all the team’s questions, be not afraid of difficulties, and the team will follow your example. 

To Sum It Up

Perhaps, filmmaking isn’t for you if you’re not ready

  • to communicate with a large number of people;
  • for irregular work schedule and little time to destress;
  • to come up with out-of-the-box solutions;
  • for criticism and risks.

At first glance, the only thing a director needs is talent, but this isn’t true. It can be difficult to get noticed without hard work and all the qualities mentioned above. Therefore, by making an effort, everyone has a chance to become the best.

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