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How to become a Film Director

You may also find our page on 'Becoming a Freelance Photographer or Videographer'.

A director is responsible for taking a written script and turning it into a creative piece of work and translating it onto screen for an audience to watch.

A director will make a script into their own by using their imagination and visualisation skills, they will decide both the structure and style of the production – ultimately becoming the storyteller of either the film, television programme, show etc.

The main duties of a director are:

  • Interpreting scripts and then creating storyboards
  • Supervising the editing of the script
  • Casting roles, locations and guiding technical crew
  • Directing!  Deciding what direction to take the production, directing actors (where to stand, how to speak etc)
  • Deciding on music and costumes
  • Taking both the schedule and budget into consideration
  • Motivating their team.

There will be a large amount of input from other people who are a part of the team, such as editors and producers – but it is the director that has the final say.  As it is their personal interpretation, they will have specific ideas and a certain direction they want things to go. 

The same goes for how an actor is performing; if they feel an actor needs to be funnier, have different timings concerning their lines or they need to be more serious, then the director is in charge and what they say goes!

There are certain skills that are expected of a director:

  • Creative, artistic and have a vivid imagination
  • Self-belief and confidence
  • Have a good attention for detail
  • Patience and passion.  As a director, you would have to work very long, irregular and perhaps unsociable hours
  • Able to work under pressure and remain calm.  There may be situations where something doesn’t go to plan, and as you would be in charge, it would be up to you to decide how to overcome these obstacles!
  • Being able to problem solve, make decisions and use your initiative!
  • Communication skills.  So that you are able to convey what you have in your mind to your team – whether it concerns the set design, the acting… everything.
  • Good organisational skills

Qualifications and Training to become a Film Director

Due to the competiveness of the industry involving film, television and theatre, it is always a good idea to take part in some sort of training to give you an advantage – whether you decide to take a short course, go through a college or university.

By choosing to study, it usually means that you will be able to make useful industry contacts that you might not otherwise have had.  It’s also really important to gain up-to-date filmmaking and equipment techniques.   

By having practical experience, you can eventually work yourself up if you decide not to go down the educational route; many people start off as runners on set and then move on to assistant directors or floor managers and then a director!     

Having experience is absolutely vital in helping you to succeed in your chosen career, taking a course will provide both the practical and educational side of things.  Here are some useful links for finding directing courses:

  • The London Film Academy
  • London Film School
  • National Film and Television School
  • British Film Institute

Finding work as a Film Director

As with the majority of careers that are based in the entertainment business, there will always be tough competition.  The best way to stand out is to make sure that you sell yourself effectively and look in the right places for jobs.

Here are some useful suggestions on how to find work and market yourself:

  • Join the Directors Guild Trust.  Provides all the latest news and events in the industry and can help with funding.
  • Create you own professional website / You Tube clips.  Using the internet to demonstrate your talent is ideal.  You can also use this to show off your own personal projects that you may have been working on.  Try setting up links between your website, social net-working profile and online video clips.
  • Have a look on Broadcast Freelancer.  This is a source for job leads, connections, news and career guides within the industry.
  • 4rfv.  A UK online film and television industry directory.
  • Film TV.  An independent website that gives career advice and the chance to have your own profile.

Benefits of freelancing as a Film Director

Freelance directors can work for production companies, where they are usually paid for each individual project or contract, or can even develop their own personal projects.

There are many advantages in becoming a freelance director, some of which include:

  • Flexibility and time management – you can decide when and where you want to work.
  • Job satisfaction.
  • The opportunity to make more money as well as having greater tax benefits.

By using our Freelancer Calculator you can work out exactly how much you could potentially take home.

Having made the decision to become a freelance film director, whether full or part time, and whether to set up as a sole trader or limited company, you’re going to need a wide range of tax and accountancy advice and support in the early days when setting up as a freelancer.

The most daunting thing about going freelancing for most people is the thought of having to engage with an accountant. At first glance it’s easy, you go down to your local high street accountant who quotes you anything from £250 to £600 plus VAT to do your end of year accounts for you. This sounds great, however what happens if you want to speak to your accountant for advice throughout the year on things like:

  • Expenses
  • Tax allowances
  • Take home pay
  • How much you should put aside for your tax bill
  • Whether you should register for the Flat Rate VAT scheme
  • If going limited would be beneficial
  • What’s the most tax efficient way to run your business.

Each time you pick up the phone it is likely you will get charged. In fact, every time your accountant sends you a letter you may charged - and you may even get charged if you call to query your invoice! So by the end of the year you could easily be looking at a bill of over £1,000. 

For more information please visit our page on Benefits of an Accountant.

Easy Accountancy charges a fixed fee of only £60 plus VAT a month

We don’t want our clients to be scared to contact us and potentially lose out on valuable tax saving advice, that's why we only charge a fixed fee of £60 VAT a month. It’s important when you first start out freelancing that you run your business in the best way possible. As a start up you’ll probably have loads of questions, and will really appreciate the fact you can call your accountant as many times as you, like without the fear of racking up large bills. 

For more advice on how Easy Accountancy can help you and business, or to find out more about our fixed fee packages, please call 01442 275767 or email newbusiness@easyaccountancy.co.uk.

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Why Clients Choose Easy Accountancy

Easy Accountancy offers a low cost, fixed fee accountancy package with all clients receiving their own dedicated, friendly, approachable accountant.

All of our accountants specialise in providing accountancy services to the self-employed, freelancers, sole traders, small to medium sized limited companies and private individuals. All accountants are employees of Easy Accountancy and we never outsource or offshore work.

Our low cost, all-inclusive fixed-fee accountancy service includes unlimited access to your own dedicated accountant throughout the year and covers all your business and personal tax affairs needs.

All our accountancy services include:
  - Unlimited access to your accountant
  - Ongoing advice on how to manage your business
  - Proactive tax advice throughout the year
  - Updates and reminders so you'll never miss a deadline
  - Free bookkeeping software

As a sole trader our fees start at just £60 + VAT a month, for this you receive the above plus:
  - Completion of your Self-Assessment tax return
  - Advice on how much Income Tax to pay
  - Guidance on National Insurance contributions

As a limited company our fixed fee packages are bespoke to your needs, however typically you’ll receive the above, plus:
  - Completion of your year end accounts*
  - Completion and submission of your annual return Companies House
  - The director/s Self Assessment tax return
  - Payroll bureau
  - Dividends and corporation tax computations

We’ve saved our clients up to half on their accountancy bills – if you’d like a quote, click on the quote me button to the right of this page. Alternatively, call us on 01442 275767 or email newbusiness@easyaccountancy.co.uk.

*If you would like us to complete your company year end accounts we simply ask that you have been a client of Easy Accountancy for one year or have made 12 monthly payments.