What is the directing job description?

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Answered by: John, An Expert in the Behind the Scenes Category
Have you ever gone to see a show or musical? Did you leave feeling good about the whole experience? Did the actors, scoring, set, and costume amaze or intrigue you? All of these things come together so well to create one singular image. How does that happen though? How can all of these separate areas come together to create such a solid final product? If you have ever wondered these things then you have seen the handiwork of the director. Now sit back for a quick directing job description.

Who is the director? In theatre, the director is the man with the plan. He chooses the play, forms his vision, and works to make that vision a reality. While the actors and various other workers of a show are responsible for their own areas within the production, the director is the person who pulls the strings. They start working before the cast has been chosen and continue working until long after the show is over.

Being a director is no easy task. There are many steps that must be taken before production begins. The first step is choosing the play. The director gets the script and then goes about gathering the rights to be able to perform that piece. In smaller theatres the director might even have to search for a producer or funding before the next step can begin. While that is not the same for every director (college and high school directors are often funded by state) it is so in most cases.

Then comes the analysis. The director has to form a vision for the play. To find this he has to know the script better then the playwright. They must do many read-throughs of it. They must find the driving force for every line spoken. The deep, philosophical statements of the play, and their creative vision for it. For example: one person may see Funeral Parlor by Christopher Durang as a very simple farce. Another person may see it as a story of a woman learning the cope with the death of her husband. From here comes the journey to making that vision come alive.

Staffing is the next step in making the vision a reality. This generally entails a stage manager, a set designer, workers to build the set, the costume designer, help for that, lighting designer, sound, members of the cast, and various other odd jobs. This is normally done with the producer by the directors side.

Now, things start coming together. The director shares his vision with all of the different departments and work begins. All the while the director does just as the name implies. He directs. He clearly communicates where he would like the show to go and the go about making it happen. This is a drawn out process which can take anywhere from a week to a couple of months.

After some advertising and preparation, the show is ready to go on. It is the only break for the director where he sits back and sees all of his work come to life. They have equipped the cast with everything they could and its just a matter of seeing how it goes. Once the show is done it is time to rinse and repeat. So is the life of the director.

Now you have a glance at what it is like to be a director. So next time you see a really cool dance line or a new take on a scene just remember that behind the scenes, there is a man pulling the strings to make things as they are. Thus ends this directing job description.

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