January 10, 2019

What Does A Filmmaker Do?

A filmmaker, or film director, is someone who is in charge of making, leading, and developing movie productions. A film career allows an individual to use their creativity, art and leadership to lead and direct major motion pictures or made-for-television films. In this guide, one of the top film schools (F.I.R.S.T. Institute) shares everything you need to know about becoming a filmmaker, director and producer.

Filmmakers have a lot of roles and responsibilities. A filmmaker spends a lot of time making sure the film is being shot in a way that provides entertainment for the audience and highlights the actors and actresses’ strengths. They will see each film through, from where the film is shot, to how the script will be played out, to what roles actors and actresses will play in the film. The filmmaker also manages the financial end of the production.

What Does A Filmmaker Do?

If you’re thinking about becoming a filmmaker, you’re likely wondering what does a filmmaker do. A filmmaker is in charge of deciding what aspects of an actor or actresses’ portrayal of the scene need to be altered from the script. They provide the creative flair and edge that sets the movie apart. Giving directions to the actors and actresses is very important because often, the filmmaker is responsible for the tone that the movie takes.

While the film director is in charge of actors and actresses, he/she also plays a role in the technical direction of the movie. From the behind the scenes lighting crew to the filming team, filmmakers work hard to ensure that the shots that are being recorded are the highest quality possible and provide a deep dramatic backdrop.

As you can imagine, being the “lead” over all the actors can be a tough job. When you include managing the background team and everything you’re responsible for, yeah, it’s not a job for the weary at heart. There is a huge amount of responsibility and stress placed on the filmmaker to make the production successful.

Filmmaker Workplace

Filmmakers are commonly known for putting in the hours, many going upwards of 60 hours a week and more. This is true among veteran filmmakers and up-and-coming filmmakers. Filmmakers travel a lot too, they work any day of the week, even through the holidays. If you’re looking to start a new filmmaking career,

Many new filmmakers are unsure of whether or not there will be jobs available once they complete their coursework. Sometimes, there are opportunities to find work through contracts negotiated locally with filming companies that might be staging small productions or commercial shoots. This is a great way to gain a foot in the door and start building a resume. For filmmakers, a resume is an extremely important part of the job.

Many film directors will find themselves working extremely long hours over very short length films or TV shows just to perfect the work they have created. It really is a self-motivating job in that your production will be a true reflection on how much effort you put into the filming. If the film turns out to be a success, another company might hire you on, or you could move into a larger contractual position. However, if the film is a flop or the TV show becomes unpopular due to lack of creativity, it may be much harder to find a job.

Job Duties And Task Of Filmmakers

The term “filmmaker” usually refers to the director or producer. It’s important to note before we start with duties and tasks, these can vary a lot from one film to the next. Directors have a lot of roles. Let’s take a look at the most common roles of filmmakers.


Filmmakers can come up with a script in a number of different ways.

  • They can write the script themself.
  • They can buy a script from a screenwriter.
  • They can hire a writer for help.

They also have other tools and resources they can rely on. The script is super important, the filmmaker must decide the best ways to convey their story to mass audiences.


With their script in hand, filmmakers can now begin estimates on the budget of the film. The filmmaker has to think ahead, determining what will be needed to turn the script into a movie. They’ll have to figure out how much actors will make, what teams to put in place, equipment cost, studio space and more. Filmmakers will need to create a detailed account of everything, not the easiest task in the role as you could imagine.


With a detailed budget in hand and a prepared script ready to go, the filmmaker can begin casting. While veteran filmmakers will likely know what cast they want to hire, many filmmakers may not know. They could be strapped for cash and have to carefully decide to put the best possible talent together. They’ll be able to reach out to actors hold auditions, and determine what roles need to be fulfilled.

Filling Positions

At this stage, the filmmaker will begin hiring talent and hiring for all the roles that need fulfilled.

  • Editors
  • Writers
  • Film Scorers
  • Camera Crew
  • Make-up Artist
  • Stunt People

The crew, like the cast, is under the direct supervision of the filmmaker.


During pre-production, filmmakers coordinate with all the other relevant parties to make sure that everything is in order for shooting. Shooting locations are selected, rehearsals are held, props are purchased, and the shooting schedule is established. The purpose of this stage is to prepare as thoroughly as possible for the actual shooting of the movie.


When we talk about the production phase, this refers to when the film is shot and recorded. Filmmakers are heavily involved in this process, evaluating everything that’s being done for the film. This can include coaching the actors, coaching the crew, making sure budget is being followed, making sure the film is being produced as wanted, determining what camera angles are best. During production, filmmakers actively manage the set, ensuring that the shots are taken properly and the workflow is going according to schedule.


In post-production, filmmakers oversee the process of editing the raw footage into a coherent whole. In other words, the filmmaker is focused on delivering a finished product. Digital filmmaking is a big part of this process thanks to the technology we now have in the industry. The film itself can be worked with in many ways, such as visual editing, adding sound effects, adding music where needed. Filmmakers work hand-in-hand with the technical team to deliver the best possible product.

Film Release

Lastly, filmmakers are responsible for managing the release of the finished film. Sometimes screenings will be held for limited audiences.

While you don’t hear about this a lot, it’s usually filmmakers that coordinate advertising and public relations for the movie, set a release date and establish a screening schedule once the film is released to the general public.

Want To Become A Filmmaker?

Now that you know what filmmakers do, are you interested in becoming one?

If so, be sure to check out our Filmmaking Program here at F.I.R.S.T. Institute. Not only are we one of the top film schools in Florida, we’re one of the top film schools in the country. At F.I.R.S.T., we can help you jumpstart your film career and getting started is easier than you think. Video production schools like F.I.R.S.T. have a lot of connections in the industry and can help you get your foot in the door.

You can apply online here or if you have questions, feel free to call us at 1-407-316-8310.