Technical directors exercise great independence in their line of work. According to the US bureau of statistics, employment of directors and producers is expected to grow exponentially in the next 10 years. Technical directing is a lucrative career, read on to find out what it entails, salary and career outlook.
What is a technical director?
This is a senior person working in a film studio, television studio, software company, theatrical company, software company or engineering firm. Technical directors’ posses a high level of skill in a particular technical field and is considered an expert.
A technical director is expected to perform the following roles and duties:
• Operate, safeguard and maintain the film studio or theatre. This includes communication equipment, lighting, sound, and stage facilities in general.
• Determine the technical support needed such as staging, sound, lighting and any special needs necessary for performances or events.
• Set up, design and maintain the sound systems in theatres, music production houses and studios. They also assist producers, actors and guest designers with the necessary technical support.
• Give advice to production managers, sound and lighting designers on the technical equipment needed, technical specifications, usage and costs for every show or event. The director also supervises the implementation of all the approved technical designs.
• Supervises the set management and stage construction to ensure the technical support being used is adequate.
• Assists in training, recruiting and assigning of duties to the paid technical staff or volunteers in every show or event.
• Orient facility renters and any visiting productions on the technical operations in place and monitors their usage during the event.
• Monitoring the condition of the sound, lighting and technical equipment in the studio. Arranging for repair or replacements within the budgetary allocations. Perfoming preventative maintenance on all the technical equipment and training the workers on how to handle any technical equipment.
• Ensuring that all projects are run on schedule and within the allocated budget.
• Assisting the budgetary committee to prepare and allocate funds for any technical supplies.
• In charge of the creative decisions and directing the crew and cast. Directors also work with the cast to ensure that they portray their roles in the best way. Working with cinematographers to ensure that the final product released matches the intended vision.
• Approving new developments in film production
• Making technical recommendations to the management and theatre leaders regarding budgetary allocations for technical equipment and the necessary purchases.
As evidenced, technical directors play an integral role in the production industry. It is therefore important for them to have the right skills and expertise needed to function in this capacity.
How to Become a Technical Director
Technical directors typically have degrees in the field of communications or broadcasting. These programs are tailored to provide technical training and project management experience. Most of the programs run for a period of four years. In addition to the technical training other courses offered include media management, mass communication and other media specializations such as film and editing. These programs also include internship opportunities where students learn on the job.
Graduate programs provide an opportunity for students to further their studies and specialize in fields such as broadcast, production and management media. Masters programs emphasize on the business aspect of the film and production industry. Some of the courses include: production management, law, leadership, technical advances and research.
Directors are also expected to have work experience in occupations related to TV, theater production and motion picture. Many of the directors begin their career as writers, actors, video and film editors, animators, cinematographers and choreographers. Over time, they learn about directing.
The job description and demands of technical directing requires the directors to possess the following skills and competencies.
1. Media and communication skills- in-depth knowledge of communication, media production and dissemination methods. This includes techniques to convey information via written, oral and visual media.
2. Computers and Electronics- vast knowledge of electronic equipment, circuit boards, processors, computer hardware and software, programming and different technical applications.
3. Telecommunications- knowledge of broadcasting, control, transmission, switching and operation of technical systems.
4. Administrative and Managements skills- knowledge of management and business principles, human resource modeling, strategic planning, resource allocation, coordination of resources and people and production methods.
5. Sales and Marketing- knowledge of methods of sale and promotion of products and services. These competencies include: product demonstration, marketing strategy, sales control systems and marketing tactics.
6. Customer and Personal Service –knowledge of personnel services and the principles of providing quality customer care. This entails, evaluating customer satisfaction, meeting quality standards and customer needs assessment.
Technical Director Salary
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual average salary for directors as of May 2012 was $71,350. The lowest ten percent of workers in this field earned about $32,080, the top 10 percent of directors made more than $187,200 annually. Some directors earn extra income based on the ticket sales. Most prefer to work independently and are outsourced whenever their services are needed. Directors and producers work long and irregular hours. Holiday, weekends and evenings form part of their normal working hours. They also have variable schedules based on the projects and event at hand.
The job outlook in the entertainment industry looks promising. Growth in this sector is expected to stem from a higher public demand for televisions shows and movies. There is also a fast growing demand for US produced films from foreign audiences. In addition to this, recent trends indicate that companies are now experimenting new methods of delivering content such as online and mobile TV. This has and will continue to create more job opportunities for directors, producers and filmmakers.