I’ve been getting some questions recently about becoming a director, what niches to get into if someone wants to eventually vector into directing, and how to get noticed. Directing is obviously one of the most challenging (and creatively rewarding) paths in the film industry. Here’s a couple videos to get you started, but keep scrolling down to get some of the fine details ;)
A network and a body of work are important to every position on set from a PA all the way up to a producer, HOWEVER, some kinds of work are more challenging to get. You’ll need a larger body of work and closer relationships with specific people.
If you want to do hair & makeup, camera work, design, etc, your skill and past work can get you a job no problem and a resume (along with a reel or portfolio, in some cases) is all you need to really communicate your capability. A network will be essential as usual, because you need some way to get in contact with the people who can hire you, but if your work looks good, that might be all they need to make a decision. They’ll take the word of the person who recommended you or passed your name along as proof that you’re great to work with, and your resume/reel will show what level you’re at in your craft.
Getting work as a director has more to it. You need a lot of work behind you and have sold a concept to someone/a studio in order to be paid as a director. This is why you should always be working on your own stuff, networking with writers and actors and rope them into your projects. Be networking with producers and other directors on set as much as possible, because a series of conversations is what will give you the chance to get your concept sold and shot. It’s a big financial investment, and risk, for a studio to take on a director. You have to have a body of work that convinces them you can succeed in making something great and sellable.
Having a producer or another director on your side will be invaluable, so make sure to never stop networking. Moreover, never stop working on your own projects and make each one better and better. As an example, surprise hit District 9’s director Neil Blomkamp was essentially discovered by Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson after Jackson saw a series of shorts Blomkamp had done. These shorts were done in Blomkamp’s spare time; they were personal projects.
This is an offsite link with that story: https://www.wired.com/2009/07/pl-screen-9/