Documentary / Film Maker jobs(Also known as Director, Producer, Movie producer, Film director, Film maker)
A documentary/film maker is somebody who directs or produces film. Film is typically produced for either motion picture, documentary or television programme use, but can extend to corporate training videos and community projects also. The term “documentary/film maker” typically refers to a film producer or film director. They are the persons responsible for taking the concept for a film project, whether it be movie, advertisement or training video, and turning it into a finished film by assembling a cast and/or crew and “shooting” the sequences. The brief is wide, and can range from directing a motion picture costing hundreds of millions of pounds, all the way through to the “one-man band”, which produces short films by themselves for small, local clients.
SalaryMany people who have academic qualifications and wish to become directors enter the industry as freelance camera operators or in other technical operative roles. The typical salary is £1,200-£1,800 per week. Directors usually work on an ad hoc basis, and their fees can run from several thousand pounds for a low-budget piece, up to an astonishing rate in the many millions for established directors working on major motion pictures.
- Develop initial story or concept into a production-feasible, fully planned project.
- Manage a large production crew to ensure that the components of the film or TV production go ahead as planned.
- Hire and appoint members of the technical crew and cast where appropriate.
- Work with the Director of Photography and Director of Audiography to deliver the project from a technical perspective.
- Manage actors (if involved) and ensure that all personnel deliver their best performance for the good of the completed picture or show.
- Securing or procuring finance for the project, if it is to be an independent release.
QualificationsAn academic qualification in a media-related core subject is considered essential to becoming a documentary/filmmaker. Even if the candidate wishes to specialise in audio or lighting rather than pursuing a producer or director role, it is still very important to have a recognised qualification. A BTEC in media studies is a logical building block after GCSEs in standard subjects. The BTEC is a stepping stone towards an HND in Media Production, which is the equivalent of the first two years of university study, and is recognised worldwide. The HND itself can be used to gain entry to universities, which opens up a range of specialisations of the core media production topic. Candidates who have completed an HND will leave the course with a range of skills to enable them to enter work in film, although not necessarily at producer/director level. Countries other than the UK offer different types of courses, but they progress in a similar tiered manner.
SkillsAcademic study provides the key skills required to be able to do the job although candidates face a lifetime of learning as they progress from entry-level technical roles on to becoming a director.
- Capacity for learning technical skills. An aptitude towards cameras or audio equipment is important.
- A complete understanding of the different technical team specialisations, and fluency in them all.
- Ability to manage a large number of (occasionally difficult) people.
- Ability to work within a (sometimes significant) budget. A grasp of financial management is crucial to managing a film project through to completion.
- Ability to manage multiple project deadlines simultaneously.