Each month we take a look at one of the 650 career pathways featured within Indigo. This month we’re exploring the role of a TV, Film and Radio Director.

Find out what’s involved in the role from in this excerpt from the career profile on the Indigo Careers module.

So what is a TV, Film and Radio Director?

Directors manage the process of creating films, radio and TV programmes. This involves commissioning each project and overseeing the work and schedules of the entire production team.

You will define the presentation and style of films and productions by making decisions about content, scripting, camera work, editing and acting.

You will also be required to handle any problems with presenters, actors or production staff, as well as editing the final ‘cut’ of the show you have directed.


You will be expected to be flexible and work at night and weekends, both during and post-production.


In TV and film, you will work on set and on location. You will have to cope with changeable outdoor conditions.

Type of work 

Contrary to popular belief, this is not glamorous work! A good level of physical stamina and fitness is required as this job involves long days spent standing up and carrying heavy equipment.

Things to consider


Working your way up the career path from runner to floor manager to director can result in a very lucrative job.

National/international acclaim

This role provides the satisfaction and excitement of seeing your work in the public sphere.

Irregular work/job insecurity

Directors are often employed on a freelance or contract basis, which can lead to job instability.

Creative freedom

As a director, you have the say on the final cut of a production.

Long hours/overtime

You may have to work extreme hours to meet production deadlines.

Most people have an undergraduate degree and you will need previous experience/passion for the field

There are no specific entry requirements but most entrants have a drama or media-related degree or postgraduate qualification. GCSEs/National 5s or A levels/H grades in media-related subjects would demonstrate an early interest in this industry and it would be beneficial to study these subjects at BTEC National, HND, degree or postgraduate level when applying for entry-level positions. The general entry requirements for a degree are 2 A levels/3 H grades and 5 GCSEs/National 5s (C or above, or 4 or above in England). For an HND, you should have an A level/H grade in an art and design-related subject. Specialist postgraduate courses in directing are offered at the National Film and Television School (NFTS).

Practical work experience is often valued more than formal qualifications, however, and most budding directors create a showreel to promote their work. Taking part in student or community film and TV activities is a good way to show your commitment to the media. Some production companies, such as the BBC, offer work experience placements which could lead to full-time employment. Work experience is particularly useful in that it provides you with opportunities to establish a network of contacts, crucial considering the competitive nature of the industry.

You will develop your skills throughout your career by combining learning on the job with external masterclasses such as those offered by the Directors Guild of Great Britain. 

Top Tip

Get experience directing short films as quickly as possible. By doing so, you will get a feel for the processes required to create a film as well as experience directing actors and working with a crew.

Salary progression

New entrants can expect to earn about £20,000. With experience, your salary can rise to £40,000. The most successful directors can earn anything up to £200,000!

Click here to explore the full library of over 650 career profiles, including multimedia content and LMI data for students to interpret and discuss.