TV or film director

Performing arts and media

Career outlook for TV or film director

Average UK salary


Currently employed in Scotland


"LMI for All" supplies our salary and employment status information. "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would take charge of the production of a film or TV programme.

You might lead a team of any size. You could direct feature films, short films, TV programmes, adverts, music videos or corporate videos. Your creative decisions would guide the rest of the crew.

You would:

  • Meet producers
  • Commission a script or an idea for a documentary
  • Decide how to shoot the script
  • Decide how the production should look and where it should be filmed
  • Plan the shooting schedule and logistics
  • Have the final say in which cast and crew members are hired
  • Guide the technical crew
  • Direct the actors, or the contributors to a documentary
  • Supervise editing to produce the final cut
  • Enforce health and safety rules

In some cases you might write your own scripts and raise money for projects. On small productions you might also use camera or sound equipment.

Working conditions


Your working hours on a shoot would often be long and irregular according to the production's needs, and may include evenings and weekends.


The work is partly office-based, but you would also visit studios and locations.


Location work could be anywhere in the UK or overseas, so you may need to travel and stay away from home for long periods.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Adaptability
  • Resilience
  • Reliable
  • Developing a plan
  • Working with technology
  • Verbal communication
  • Cooperating
  • Resourceful
  • Creative
  • Problem solving

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

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There are no set qualifications required to enter this role however most directors have a degree (SCFQ level 9/10) and relevant industry experience.

To enter media, film, television, production or broadcasting National Certificate or National Qualification courses (SCQF 2-6) may require no formal qualifications but most courses ask for National 4/5 qualifications (SCQF level 4/5).

You can enter Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma courses (SCQF level 8) with National 4/5 qualifications and one to two Highers or equivalent qualifications.

To enter a degree (SCQF level 9/10) usually requires National 5 qualifications and a minimum of three Highers or a relevant HNC/HND.

To enter a postgraduate course (SCQF level 11) you will usually require an honours degree in a relevant subject.

The most useful qualifications include practical skills and work placements.

Useful subjects

  • English (required by most courses)
  • Social studies
  • Media
  • Other creative subjects such as art and design, drama or photography

You will also need

  • In-depth understanding of the production process
  • A good network of contacts in the industry

Helpful to have

Qualifications and experience that show understanding of the industry, creative, management and production skills such as Skills for Work Creative Industries (SCFQ level 4).

There are also a number of industry bodies that can offer relevant training and qualifications such as the British Film Institute.