What is the Difference Between the Director and the Technical Director?

In the entertainment industry, two of the key positions in a motion picture or television show are the director and technical director. Theatrical productions also have directors and technical directors. Anyone who spends any time watching movies or TV shows has seen mention made of directors and technical directors in credits to these productions. Nonetheless, most people don’t know the specifics of the roles of a director and technical director, let alone the differences between the two. The best way to appreciate the differences between a director and technical director is to consider the essential elements of each of these roles.

Role of the Director

A film, television program, or play director is the person in charge of all creative aspects of a production. The general public is most familiar with the work or a director with actors. When a director is portrayed as a character in a production of some sort, that professional is seen directing actors through a scene in a movie, TV show, or play.

In addition to working with actors on their efforts in a particular production, a director is also charged with overseeing all of the other creative aspects of such an endeavor, including writing, scenery, lighting, technical or special effects, and casting. The work of a director typically is categorized into three areas:

  • Pre-production
  • Production
  • Post-production

Examples of pre-production are script selection or writing and casting. The production element involves filming a moving, taping a TV show, or rehearsing a play. Post-production includes such efforts as editing a movie or TV show. A director reports to a production’s producer or producers.

Many directors have become household names in more recent years. Directors have become stars in their own right, according to Entertainment Weekly.

Role of the Technical Director

A technical director reports to the director of a movie, TV show, or play. A technical director is the most senior “technical person” in a movie, television, or theatrical production. Typically, such an individual has been involved in the business for an extended period and is considered an expert on technical matters associated with a production.

A technical director is responsible for the execution of the technical aspects of specific production projects. These includes everything from basic technical matters like sound and visuals to special effects unique to a particular production.

While a technical director ultimately is responsible for the execution of the technical aspects of a production, such a professional is also the individual chiefly responsible for making hiring decisions associated with a specific production.

In a particular production, a technical director works closely with scenic designers, sound designers, special effects designers, producers, and the director. A technical director oversees the work of members of a production’s crew like the various designers. A technical director typically reports to selected producers and the director of the production.

Directors and technical directors both represent crucial roles in the production of movies, television shows, and stage plays. Because these roles are crucial, they are also highly competitive. A person intent on becoming a director or technical director nearly always must work his or her way up through the proverbial system. While pursuing an education in these areas of production is necessary, obtaining hands-on experience in film, television, or theatre is vital to becoming a director or technical director.

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