How To Become A Film, Stage And TV Director In Australia?

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Students want to know how to become a film or movie director in Australia and what they need to study.


Are you interested in media production and have strong creative skills? If yes, a film, stage, and television director career is perfect for you!


The film, television, and stage directors interpret and approve the selection of scripts and direct the cast and crew during the performance, shooting, or recording of film productions.


To become a Film, TV, and Stage director, you need work experience in the entertainment industry. A university or VET qualification in screen and media, stage, or drama production can improve your chances of becoming a film director.


Here is a complete guide on becoming a film, stage, and television director in Australia, from the education required to qualifications, skills, average salary, courses, career outlook, and more!



1. What Is A Film, Stage And TV Director?


The directors (film, stage, and TV) direct the creative production aspects of movies, television shows, motion pictures, radio programs, video productions, and stage shows.


They understand and approve the selection of scripts and instruct cast and crew while recording, filming, or performing a film production to ensure everything is ready.



2. Duties Of A Film, Stage, And Television Director


You can expect to carry out the following tasks daily:


  • Choose a script to convert into a film

  • Study scripts and situations to determine the theme and setting

  • Supervise creative aspects of film, television, radio, and stage productions

  • Plan and make arrangements for costumes, sound effects, set designs, etc. 

  • Consult specialist designers about program content, location, and staging requirements of film production

  • Audition and select actors and the crew members 

  • Approve and manage the budget for film production and ensure the film completes within the set budget

  • Direct performers, technicians, and studio/stage crew during rehearsals and production

  • View videotape and film to choose scenes and determine which ones need re-takes.

  • Plan, create, and write scripts to record videotape and edit programs

  • Collaborate on post-production and editing changes



3. Film, Stage and TV Director Skills


The following skills will help you work and succeed in this role:


  • An interest in media production

  • Creative expression

  • Artistic flair

  • Good communication skills

  • Able to maintain composure under pressure

  • Authoritative

  • Persuasion

  • Teamwork and Collaboration skills

  • Analytical reasoning

  • Versatility

  • Responsible communicator

  • Critical and reflective thinking



4. Director (Film, Television, Stage, Or Radio) Qualifications In Australia


You don't need formal qualifications to work in this role. However, a university or VET qualification in screen and media, radio, drama, or stage production may be beneficial. 


Additionally, you need extensive work experience in the film, television, or theatre industries as a Director of Films, Television, Radio, or Stage.


Here are the steps to understanding how to become a film director in Australia:


  • Gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education with English

  • Complete a Bachelor's in Film and Television or a degree in screen and media, film and TV, theatre, or creative arts from accredited film schools in Australia. Alternatively, you can undergo a traineeship in Media or "Screen and Media" to become a Film Stage and Television Director.

  • Gain work experience in the entertainment industry and build a strong work portfolio.



5. How To Become A Cinematographer In Australia?


Cinematography is one of the most critical roles and careers in filmmaking. A Cinematographer is responsible for the technical and artistic quality of the images during the shoot.


They make various decisions concerning lenses and cameras and prepare a particular image shot to camera positions and lighting.


To become a Cinematographer, you need to have the following skills:


  • Good photography skills 

  • A passion for direction 

  • Imaginative

  • Able to plan meticulously for the shoot 

  • A good eye for detail

  • Strong leadership

  • Communication and interpersonal skills



Technical skills


  • Good understanding of the selection of the correct shooting and lighting equipment and its installation for a specific location

  • Practical coordination skills to work with multiple teams 

  • Proficiency in camera operation, mounting, and shooting techniques

  • Technical skills to adjust mood using colour, shadow, and light,

  • Types of Lighting, Composition, and Optical Skills

  • Knowledge of Camera basics for portable cameras, cranes, and tripod-based cameras

  • Operational knowledge of VFX, Video editing, and creation software



Steps To Becoming A Cinematographer In Australia


Students passionate about lighting, cinematography, and photography may find Cinematographer an exciting career option.


Here is what you need to become one:



Step 1: Study A Bachelor or Diplpma Course 


After completing Senior Secondary Education, students can study a bachelor or diploma course in cinematography, filmmaking, or photography. It gives them knowledge of the film industry and essential cinematography components.


These include camera composition, filmmaking, visual effects, and technologies.


With this course, you get a good understanding of the principles of film production technology and gain industry-relevant experience in the operation of equipment and industry-relevant production processes.




Step 2: Find Internships


Once you complete a degree, look for internships or volunteering opportunities for small projects. These are ways to gain experience in this field.


The film industry is quite supportive. Cultivate and build good relationships with people around you. As you do this, you find new opportunities that will start knocking on your door.



6. Steps To Become A Film Director In Australia



Step 1: Develop Technical Competence


Develop technical competence by analyzing great film directors' films or creating short films. Take the help of numerous online filmmaking video essays and tutorials available to study and analyze the film medium.



Step 2: Enrol In A Film School


Attending accredited film schools is a great way to gain a formal education.


  • The Australian College offers a range of online writing, film, and television courses to develop or hone your film writing skills. Their online Professional Scriptwriting course teaches you how to write screenplays for film and television. After completing this 12-month course, you get an Australian College Certificate in Media (Film and Television Scriptwriting).


  • Another good place to learn screenwriting is the Australian Film Television and Radio School, offering an online "Screenwriting for Films" course. It teaches topics such as story structure, character development, screenwriting tools, and the ability to draft first screenplays.



Step 3: Gain Work Experience


To become a film director, you need more than just education. Obtain hands-on experience to put your creative skills and ideas into action and become a more thoughtful film director. Most companies employ directors with substantial work experience.


So, to gain experience, you can start working as a Production Assistant or in other assistant-level roles for directors, film editors, and cinematographers, giving exposure to what a director does. 


The invaluable knowledge and experience you obtain will strengthen your resume and improve your chances of becoming a film director.



Step 4: Create Short Films 


Studios assess candidates' abilities based on their short films. Suppose you aspire to work in leading production houses or want to know how to become a director for Netflix. In that case, you need to make a short film using the knowledge and skills you have gained.


Screenwriting software or Google docs are helpful tools for writing an error-free script for your film. You can refer to screenwriting websites to learn about each aspect of screenwriting, such as writing character arcs, dialogues, fight scenes, etc.



Step 5: Storyboard Your Project


Once the script is ready, proceed to storyboard your project. Visualize the best shots to convey your story in the most impactful way.


After completing this, you have come closer to becoming a film director. The only thing left is to mount your production. Get a camera, hire a cameraman and movie cast and start the direction.



Step 6: Create an Impressive Resume 


Prepare a director reel/visual resume to demonstrate your artistic sensibilities and talent to employers. Give your best shot and be honest with employers about the type of filmmaker you are.



Step 7: Send Out Your Movie To Film Festivals


Once you have directed your film, send it to film festivals. These are great opportunities to get your movie in front of massive audiences and producers, studio executives, and agents looking for talented filmmakers. 


Getting into a respected film festival gives a sense of accomplishment and opportunities to direct a film for a company.


Industry bodies:




7. How To Become A Film Writer?


Most film writers have bachelor's degrees, and some even have master's degrees. The first step to becoming a film writer is to complete a bachelor's degree. Some universities even conduct diploma or associate degrees in film script writing and direction.


Once you qualify, many film writer jobs also require work experience. A previous career experience in roles such as assistant director or writer is advantageous. So, focus on gaining internship or volunteering experience in a related position.


With the education and experience under your belt, you are ready to apply for film writer jobs online and offline. 



8. Film Stage and Television Director Courses In Australia


How do I become a director without film school? You can become one by completing an online bachelor's degree in film directing at the University of Western Australia. 


The course thoroughly covers several aspects of film production and direction, including:


  • Film and Video Production

  • Film History

  • Feature Script Analysis

  • Post Production 


You will learn the following:


  • To use a range of the latest digital and multimedia production tools

  • To work collaboratively to produce media content to professional standards

  • To develop a critical understanding of ethical and cultural consequences linked with media and communication

  • To perform research and create concepts

  • To transform your thoughts into developmental concepts 


Besides gaining technical knowledge, and skills and working with several entertainment professionals, you also develop strong leadership, management, communication, and creative skills. 


UWA conducts undergraduate Bachelor of Arts in various film direction majors to prepare you for a successful career as a contemporary artist.


  • Communication and Media Studies

  • Fine Arts

  • Integrated Design

  • English Literacy Studies

  • Music Studies

  • Music Specialist Studies


The Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) conducts film directing courses. Participants can learn screen directing skills from world-leading lecturers, mentors, and screen practitioners.


They also work with actors, cinematographers, writers, designers, editors, composers, producers, and sound designers on collaborative projects.



Screen Australia: Offer Funding and Support For New Filmmakers


Screen Australia is a Federal Government agency representing Australia's screen industry globally at festivals and award ceremonies. 


It runs several financial assistance programs and initiatives for early-career or first-time filmmakers to support the development, production, marketing, and distribution of Australian drama and documentary screen content.


The agency invests in Australian film and television. It offers sector-building programs and funding through Screen Australia's First Nations Department.



Making Movies: Introduction to Digital Filmmaking – The University of Adelaide


This filmmaking course in Adelaide teaches the practicalities, contingencies, and aesthetics of movie-making. 


It helps the student learn the basics of the art of motion pictures and guides them in the production of their short films with the help of contemporary digital technology.



9. What Subjects Are Needed To Become A Film Director In Australia?


To become a Film Stage and Television Director, you must complete Year 12 education in English and study for a degree in film, television, screen and media, theatre, or creative arts.



10. Work Conditions


Depending on the film requirements, Film directors may work indoors or in local/distant locations. 


They may work long hours during shootings, post-production, marketing, and promotions upon movie release, which sometimes makes the job stressful.


Film directors may need to travel overseas for shootings and film promotions. While on the sets, they closely work with camera crews, producers, the director of photography, actors, and writers to adjust and improvise the script.



11. Career Opportunities For A Film, Stage, And Television Director


When considering the high competition for jobs, employment and career progression largely depend on your talent and significant experience.


Top employers for film stage and television directors are:


  • Film companies

  • Video production houses

  • TV stations

  • Theatre companies 



12. Career Pathways For Film Stage And Television Directors


Film directors often start their film directing career as actors, film editors, or assistants and gradually progress to become established directors.


The skills and technical knowledge you develop by doing film writing and directing enable you to take on a variety of roles within the media and entertainment industry, such as:


  • Screenwriter

  • Scriptwriter for TV/Film/Video 

  • Television Producer/Director

  • Production Assistant

  • Field Producer

  • Television Presenter

  • TV/Movie Extra, Runner



13. Job Prospects For Film Stage And Television Directors In Australia


ANZSCO Occupation Group: 212312: Directors (Film, Television, Radio, and Stage)


Due to the increasing public demand for new TV shows and movies, the number of job opportunities for film directors in the video and motion picture industry will likely rise.


Not only in Australia, but there is also substantial demand for qualified film directors overseas. Furthermore, new technology, such as online television and mobile phones for video content delivery, may further boost career prospects for film directors across the country.


According to Labor Market Insights, future demand and job growth remain strong in this profession.



Primary Industries And Percentage Of Employment


  • Information Media and Telecommunications: 69.4%

  • Arts and Recreation Services: 11.8%

  • Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services: 4.5%

  • Manufacturing: 3.2%

  • Other Industries: 7.7%



Working Arrangements


Around 75% of people work as Directors (Film, Television, Radio, or Stage) full-time for an average of 49 hours a week. (All other jobs average: 44 hours per week).



Employment Across Australia


New South Wales and Victoria are the states with a large share of employment compared to their population size.


  • New South Wales: 44.3%

  • Victoria: 29.0%

  • Queensland: 11.1%

  • South Australia: 5.9%

  • Western Australia: 6.4%

  • Tasmania: 1.2%

  • Northern Territory: 0.8%

  • Australian Capital Territory: 1.3%



Worker's Age And Gender Profile


  • The average age of Directors (Film, Television, Radio, or Stage) is 40 years, with most between 35 and 44 years.

  • Females constitute 25% of the workforce which is 23 percentage points less than the average of all other jobs, 48%.



14. What Is A Film Director's Salary In Australia?


According to the Pay Scale, the average film director's salary is AU$89,320 per year or equivalent to AU$75.00 per hour.


Like any other profession, your experience and expertise are the key factors that determine your employment prospects and earning potential in this competitive industry. As your reputation grows, you may advance to larger, more expensive projects.


Here is what you can expect to earn at varying levels of experience:


  • Early career Film Directors (1-4 years of experience): AU$50,868 p.a. 

  • Experienced Film Directors (10-19 years of experience): AU$102,409 p.a. 

  • In their late career (20 years and above): AU$100,000 p.a.  



15. Conclusion


The scope of the film stage and television direction is infinite. The demand is increasing over time for this profession, and there is no better time to start than now.


Being a competitive field, along with formal education, aspirants need to work hard to achieve perfection in cinematography, visual storytelling, and direction skills to make a successful career.


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