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What Does a Television Director Do?

By G. Wiesen
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A television director is typically responsible for directing an episode of a television show and leading the various crews involved in the production. Unlike a film director, however, a TV director in the US often has less control over a show and typically has to abide by the vision of the producer. The exact duties and responsibilities of a television director can vary depending on what type of production he or she is working on. For a single-camera production, the director usually has similar responsibilities as a film director and must coordinate camera positions and angles, lighting, and the overall flow of a scene; for multi-camera productions, the director usually ensures the production flows well, communicates with different camera operators, and oversees floor production.

The responsibilities of a television director can vary quite a bit, depending on what type of production he or she is working on. In the US, for example, a director usually only directs one or a few episodes of a show and so has less direct influence on the show than a producer who is on the show for an entire season or the whole series. Directors for TV in other countries can have more control, however, especially if they direct multiple episodes. If a television director is also a producer, then he or she is likely to have more impact on a production.

A single-camera production, which is typically used for televised dramas with multiple locations, often requires that a television director acts much like a film director. He or she needs to communicate with the camera crew to ensure certain angles and shots are captured during a take. Actors can be called on to perform multiple takes to achieve the final results the director wants, and these are later assembled together in editing. A television director on this type of production usually also communicates his or her goals with the sound department and ensures lighting supports various shots he or she has in mind.

The responsibilities of a television director working on a multi-camera production, however, can be quite different. This type of production is often used for situation comedies, or “sitcoms,” game shows, and news broadcasts. The director of this type of production usually has to coordinate the different angles used by the cameras and ensure that every aspect of a scene is properly captured during filming. A television director may also need to facilitate communication on the set or floor, speaking with camera operators and floor managers, to ensure the speech and actions of actors or other talent are properly captured.

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Discussion Comments
By Laotionne — On Apr 02, 2014

Regardless of where you work as a TV director, there is a certain amount of influence that goes with the position, assuming all the power and decision making doesn't lie in the hands of a producer or station owner.

Directors are able to reach large numbers of people with their programs. This means they are able to put forth their views and opinions in some form or another, even if this is done through the way they present the programs rather than through the content of the shows. Either way, directors have an audience and a means by which they can influence people.

By Sporkasia — On Apr 02, 2014

Most television directors work at small to medium sized TV stations directing local programs, such as newscasts, magazine shows, sports programming, Saturday morning shows broadcast for children and Sunday morning religious programming.

There simply are not enough jobs directing national programming to employ all professional directors.

By Feryll — On Apr 01, 2014
When I think of a job working as a television director the first thought that comes to mind is living in Hollywood, California in the U.S. and making way more money than the average person. This being said, I know in reality most TV directors aren't getting rich and the position is not as glamorous and powerful as we might believe.

In fact, most directors are under an enormous amount of job related stress, and they are often unemployed when one project ends because they don't have another job waiting. Also, in the U.S. most of the high paying TV director positions are found in California, so a director doesn't have a lot of choices when it comes to choosing where he will live if he is trying to reach the top of his profession.

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