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TV Director: Employment Info & Career Requirements

Read on to learn what TV directors do. Get details about required education and training. See what the career prospects and earning potential are to decide if this field is right for you.

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Career Definition for a TV Director

TV directors oversee the operation of television broadcasts by supervising and coordinating the work of the camera, lighting, and sound crews and the cast. Directors plan the composition of each camera shot and angle, work with the actors and actresses during production, and may even assist the editor in finishing the final cut of a program.

TV directors work in both live programming, such as sporting events and newscasts, and taped programming, which includes episodic productions like sitcoms and dramas. Most directors have the final decision on anything involving the set, costumes, choreography, and music. TV directors interpret scripts, conduct auditions, and direct the cast and crew. The greatest number of opportunities for TV directors is in New York City or Los Angeles.

Education Bachelor's degree or Master of Fine Arts in Film Studies
Job Skills Strong time management, good communication skills, work well against deadlines, creativity, ability to motivate coworkers
Median Salary (2015)* $68,440 (all producers and directors)
Job Outlook (2014-2024)* 9% growth (all producers and directors)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Required

There are no formal education requirements to become a TV director, but most directors either start their careers as actors or complete a Master of Fine Arts program in film studies or film production through an accredited college or university. While in school, students take classes in film theory, television, communications, directing, literature, drama, and drama literature. According to the Director's Guild of America, www.dga.org, individuals can become members by completing a bachelor's degree, having two years of professional experience, and passing a written examination.

Skills Required

TV directors must have strong time management and listening skills. Working as a director requires individuals to be able to make solid judgments and decisions in a timely manner. TV directors have to develop excellent reading comprehension skills and the ability to motivate the people around them. Having the ability to be original and creative allows directors to jump start and sustain a career in this business.

Economic and Career Outlook

Employment opportunities for producers and directors in general are expected to grow 9% from 2014-2024, which is faster than average, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov). Job openings are very competitive, and finding consistent employment can be a challenge. Some TV directors choose to work in different or growing mediums, such as film, theater, Internet or commercial productions. The BLS reports that the median salary for producers and directors, including TV directors, was $68,440 per year in 2015.

Alternate Career Options

Similar career options within this field include:

Film and Video Editor

Film and video editors take film or digital footage that has been recorded by camera operators and, usually working with directors' input, organize it to tell an effective story. Film and video editors often perform their work using specialized computer software programs. This occupation typically requires a bachelor's degree in a related field. The rate of employment for film and video editors is expected to grow 18% from 2014-2024, per the BLS. This job paid a median annual salary of $61,750 in 2015.

Announcer

An announcer can work in radio or television, emcee special events, or work in an industry where public announcements are required, such as in transportation. Announcers can perform a variety of tasks, such as delivering information, entertainment or commentary, or conducting interviews. Minimum education and training requirements vary, from a bachelor's degree in broadcasting or journalism for those who work in radio to a high school diploma for those who do public address work. On-the-job training is common. The number of jobs for announcers is expected to decline 11% from 2014-2024, per the BLS. The agency also reports that announcers in general earned a median pay of $30,080 in 2015.

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