What does a series director do?
Series directors are responsible for how an entire series of programmes looks. They work on big-budget programmes, ranging from live multi-camera shows to documentaries.
A series director has an initial meeting with the series producer to acquaint themselves with the content. If they’re creating a new series, they then work up a suggested visual style that complements and enhances the editorial, using colour, textures and lighting. They lead in decision-making on all visual aspects of a show, from graphics to large props. Once a look has been agreed, they use their contacts and experience to help recruit the best possible crew for the job. They often approach production designers, camera supervisors, lighting directors and vision mixers they’ve worked with in the past.
If a show is to be shot on location, they are involved in signing off location choices. They advise the production on the number of crew required and their positions on the set, and they prepare all rehearsal and filming schedules. Before a show is filmed, series directors hold a planning meeting with the heads of all departments to go over the technical demands of the series and ensure they have all the crew and equipment required.
During production, series directors are responsible for communicating what they want to achieve with the camera operators, presenters and crew. If it’s a multi-camera show, they direct from the gallery, like a multi-camera director.
Series directors are almost always freelance, unless working for a very long-term production, and often specialise in certain genres, such as sport or entertainment.
What's a series director good at?
- Photography: have a good eye and understanding of composition, light, colour, texture, focus and framing, be skilled at establishing a style for a production
- Technical knowledge of cameras: stay up-to-date with the latest technology, have an in-depth understanding of how all camera and lighting equipment works, select the best options for different productions
- Leadership: prioritise and make quick, effective decisions, communicate and give instructions effectively, make good judgement calls, have a good understanding of all crew roles
- Contacts: have a large contacts book and recruit the best crew for the job, have excellent established relationships with production companies, studios, crews, presenters, producers and TV commissioners
- Multi-tasking: in live multi-camera progammes, be simultaneously across multiple camera shots, lighting and sound issues, whilst liaising with the presenters and series producer