Film, Stage, TV and Radio Director

Note: Completion of a TAFE SA course does not guarantee an employment outcome. Formal requirements other than educational qualifications (eg licensing, professional registration), may apply to some occupations.

Job Prospects Openings 5 years to November 2019: < 5,000
Salary Range Median weekly earnings: $1051 to $1300 to Source: Australian Government Department of Employment 2015
Brief Lights, camera, action. Sound familiar? It certainly would to a film, television or stage director and to the actors and technical crew working under their direction.

There are currently around 200 film, television, radio and stage directors employed in South Australia. Employment is evenly split between full-time part-time employment and most work is in the cultural and recreational services industry. Most persons in this occupation are male and most are employed in the Adelaide metropolitan area. This occupation has a median age of 38.

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TAFE SA courses that may be relevant for: Film, Stage, TV and Radio Director

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Introduction

Think about the logistics of putting together a blockbuster film like 'Titanic' or staging a dynamic version of 'Hamlet,' hundreds of years after the original performance. Directors have the important task of bringing together actors and a vast production team in order to breathe life and magic into scripts and stories.

Directors, as the name suggests, are responsible for providing artistic and technical direction to film, stage, television and radio productions. From start to finish, a director has control over all areas of production, including casting, lighting, sets and costumes. Even though there is typically a lighting or costume director on board, basically the buck stops with the director.

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Education Requirements

Of those currently employed there are 30% who have a Bachelor Degree or higher qualification, 15% have either a Certificate III or IV, 13% have Advanced Diplomas or Diplomas. While 38% of employed in the industry have no post school qualifications it is recommended that further study be undertaken to remain competitive within the industry.

TAFE SA offers a Packaged Program in Film and Television Production.

Flinders University offers a Bachelor of Creative Arts degree.

The University of South Australia offers a Bachelor of Media Arts degree.

The University of Adelaide offers a Bachelor of Media degree.

Career Path

Advice to people interested in directing is to complete a relevant tertiary or TAFE course. This provides you with a sound understanding of the performing arts industry which is beneficial to directors. ''Then choose the projects which interest you and contact places like the Blue Room, which also manages the Rechabites Hall, about staging them,'' says Chris. A Film and Television Institute spokeswoman says, ''Start making films and then submit your film/documentary ideas to the industry."

Jobs in this industry is high competitive. Interstate and/or overseas experience is often needed to enhance employment prospects. Completion of a course will not guarantee entry to this occupation. Advancement in this occupation is greatly dependent on exposure, experience and talent.

Nature of the Job

Its very fulfilling work, because as a director, you have maximum input. You choose the way you think a 'story' is best told. Directors creatively interpret the author's work with their audience in mind. They must also implement the vision of producers and in the case of large budget productions, align their viewpoint with that of sponsors and investors.

Before a production is filmed or staged, directors undertake auditions to select actors for parts. They also select set designers to create and design the perfect setting (eg. minimalist or period setting) and technical staff such as the camera, lighting and sound technicians. The director must be confident that these people can make his or her production come to life and complement his directing style. Another early job is to decide where the production is to be filmed, staged or recorded. Throughout a production, a director has control over acting as well as filming. Filming may be stopped for example, so that the director can coach an actor who is not delivering their lines 'correctly'. Post filming, directors work with the editor to select the best cuts/scenes and choose the sound effects and music to accompany the production.

Typical Physical Working Environment

Film, stage, radio and television directors direct the overall production, or specific aspects of production, of films, television, radio or stage shows. They have the final responsibility for making sure that everything is ready to be filmed or performed. It is essential that they have a keen artistic sense. They need to show good communication skills in dealing with actors, production crew and the media. With a very volatile working environment, they need to be able to remain calm under pressure when production issues come up. They also must be able to motivate their actors, inspire the crew and exercise authority in making decisions with regards to the production.

Directors/Producers work indoors, in studios and outdoors on location. Extensive travel could be involved either in finding work, or to film/direct in distant places. Because of the level of responsibility involved, it can be a stressful job. They work long and irregular hours including weekends to meet the production requirements.

Typical Occupational Example

There's no doubt that great story telling skills and a lively imagination are necessary prerequisites for this profession. For example, have you got the vision to create a futuristic space saga without it being a clone of Star Wars? And gone are the days of the old Hollywood despot who screamed at all and sundry. Directors need to be good, strong leaders who inspire their artistic and technical team. Highly articulate and organised, they are the lynchpin in every artistic production. Many years experience and an established reputation are essential before your skills are recognised in this industry.

For further information, contact:

Australian Broadcasting Corporation (SA)
Phone: (08) 8343 4000
Website: www.abc.net.au

Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (SA/NT)
Phone: 1300 656 512
Email: sa@alliance.org.au
Website: www.alliance.org.au

South Australian Film Corporation
Phone: (08) 8394 2000
Email: safilm@safilm.com.au
Website: www.safilm.com.au

Further Information

For further information about all TAFE SA Courses, phone 1800 882 661 or enquire online