Director (Animation)

Production
Senior-level

Directors hold the creative vision of an animated film or TV series.

What does a director do?

Directors hold the creative vision of an animated film or TV series. They work out the style of the animation; its mood, how it will look and how it will sound. They share the vision and get everyone working towards it.

Directors sometimes create the original designs for characters. They direct the teams working on the design, storyboard, layout and background animation. Sometimes they recruit the teams too.

When an animation involves voice actors, directors work with them to get the kind of performance that they need. Sometimes actors are needed to act out scenes  for animators to capture and imitate. Directors work with the actors for this too.

Directors are responsible for the quality of the edited film. When all the animation frames have been assembled, edited together and the sound added, the director signs off on it; this is what is known as the director’s cut.

On large projects there is usually an animation director as well as a director. In these cases, the director is in overall charge and delegates the day-to-day management of the animation department to the animation director. On small projects, such as some commercials or music videos, there’s just the one role and it might be called director or animation director.

Directors can be employed by an animation studio or they might work as freelancers.

What's a director good at?

  • Imagination: envisage the film you want to make, create that vision
  • Leadership: share the vision of the film with a range of people from different departments, inspire them to do their best work, manage various creatives and talent, make creative decisions
  • Storytelling: understand what makes a good story and how to be able to convey emotions, characters and action innovatively on screen in a narrative structure
  • Animation knowledge: have a good understanding of the principles and mechanics of animation
  • Arts knowledge: have a passion for, and deep knowledge of, animation, appreciate all genres of art so as to be able to draw ideas from a range of sources

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