Skills Technical Director - Motion Pictures, Broadcasting And Performing Arts near Toronto (ON)

Find out what skills you typically need to work as a technical director - motion pictures, broadcasting and performing arts in Canada. These skills are applicable to all Producers, directors, choreographers and related occupations (NOC 5131).

Expertise

People working in this occupation usually apply the following skill set.

  • Organize and co-ordinate production
  • Determine treatment, scope and scheduling of production
  • Interpret scripts, select the cast and advise in the interpretation and delivery of the performance
  • Create dances for film, theater and television
  • Direct rehearsals for dancers to achieve desired interpretation
  • Plan, organize and direct the artistic aspects of production
  • Oversee the design of sets, costumes, furnishings and props
  • Plan and co-ordinate the production of musical recordings
  • Direct musicians and singers during rehearsals and recording
  • Co-ordinate and direct the photography of production
  • Edit motion picture film and arrange film segments into sequences
  • Determine lighting, lenses, camera angles and backgrounds

Skills and knowledge

The following skills and knowledge are usually required in this occupation.

Essential skills

See how the 9 essential skills apply to this occupation.

Reading
  • Read emails from co-workers, suppliers, clients, and colleagues. For example, radio producers read e-mails from program directors about on-air guests and programming changes. Directors read e-mails from set designers about meeting times. Record producers and choreographers may read letters of application from potential students and letters from others in support of these applications. Film producers read emails from other departments and crew about the film project. (2)
  • Read reviews in newspapers and magazines. For example, directors, choreographers, technical directors, and film editors read online newspaper and magazine reviews about themselves, their productions and the organizations for which they work. (2)
  • May read production meeting notes. For example, producers read meeting notes to learn about a variety of production matters such as changes to schedules, set and costume designs, programming and job tasks. (2)
  • Read production documents. For example, editors read detailed descriptions of projects including production timelines and deadlines. (3)
  • Read scripts. For example, editors read scripts to make improvements or adaptations to scenes or lines, and to offer constructive criticism. Directors read scripts to determine what makes the story work, for example, to analyse the characters and their actions. Cinematographers read scripts to look for technical issues, such as scenes and actions that will be difficult to achieve. (3)
  • Read contracts for actors and crew. For example, artistic managing directors read actors' contracts to understand terms and conditions for matters such as film credits and special dietary requirements. They read union collective agreements to understand terms for work conditions. (3)
  • Read articles, editorials, and features in trade magazines, newsletters and newspapers, both paper-based and online. For example, radio producers skim newspapers and news magazines to see what topics are being covered, absorb editorial viewpoints and identify new details and story angles to incorporate into programming. Technical directors read about set and lighting design, and new construction techniques and technologies, and descriptions of how equipment was used to shoot film scenes. Editors read magazines, newspapers and online forums to research topics for documentaries. Choreographers read dance and visual art magazines for dance news and inspiration for new works. Film editors read technical articles to learn about film editing techniques and new software. (3)
  • Read literary works such as screenplays, novels, and diaries. For example, documentary producers may read histories and biographies to gain inspiration for new works, to develop new interpretations of important events, to understand scripts' production requirements and to learn about historical periods. (3)
  • Read and review story treatments and synopses from screenwriters that are detailed outlines of stories and scenes without the dialogue. For example, an editor reviews a treatment that will be used to pitch a screenplay. (3)
  • Read ?bibles? used to pitch new series for television. For example, producers read the ?bible? to learn about histories of characters and new characters, the setting for the series, and plotlines for episodes. During production of a series, ?bibles? are used for consistency and may have extensive details about characters? histories. (4)
  • Read paper-based and online manuals and regulations. For example, film producer-directors read guidelines that govern tax credits for films to identify programs that apply to their projects. Choreographers may read fundraising manuals. Record producers may read software manuals to improve their sound recording and editing skills. Theatre technical directors read theatre set construction handbooks to learn about building sets and creating special effects. Producers read safety guidelines, for example, prior to aerial shots for safety requirements for the studio and province they are shooting in. (4)
Document use
  • Identify symbols and icons on signs and labels. For example, radio producers identify on-air signs at studio entrances. Film directors observe warnings for high-voltage lines on film sets. (1)
  • Scan product and equipment labels for dates, serial numbers, sizes, and product names. For example, film editors scan labels on tapes for identification numbers and titles. (1)
  • Enter data into lists and tables. For example, film directors and editors enter tape and scene numbers, scene start and end times and brief comments into tape logs. Technical directors in theatres complete call sheets to place orders for crew members such as lighting technicians. Film directors refer to call sheets for information on when and where cast and crew need to report for a day of filming. (2)
  • Locate data in tables. For example, theatre technical directors locate rehearsal times in weekly calendars. Film and theatre directors and choreographers locate tour dates, times for rehearsals and deadlines in production schedules. (2)
  • Read purchase orders or spreadsheets. For example, producers refer to spreadsheets on film budgets. (2)
  • Enter data into forms. For example, film directors complete grant applications forms. They complete tax credit applications and forms such as declarations of citizenship. (3)
  • Interpret drawings of costumes and scale drawings of sets. For example, choreographers and artistic managing directors examine costume drawings to locate design features. Technical directors in theatres locate dimensions and other features in drawings for stage layouts. (3)
  • Interpret specialized notations. For example, directors of musical theatres interpret musical scores. Choreographers interpret dance movement notations. (3)
  • Refer to storyboards that represent the planned camera shots with drawings and notes. For example, editors use storyboards from artists for preplanning and to visualize the scene. (3)
  • Interpret graphs. For example, producers and assistant program directors at radio stations interpret graphs that illustrate local market shares for various radio stations. Theatre technical directors interpret graphs that illustrate optical spectra for coloured lights. (3)
Writing
  • Write reminders and notes to co-workers. For example, directors write notes to remind themselves about changes to scripts and camera shots. Technical directors write notes on construction drawings to provide additional detail for set builders and lighting technicians. (1)
  • Write emails to co-workers, colleagues and clients. For example, technical directors write emails to colleagues for opinions on stage flooring materials. Record producers write emails to remind clients of studio bookings. Producers write emails during filming to update logistics. Cinematographers write emails to communicate with other departments about tasks. Editors provide updates and directions to the client, for example, how overseas clients can access the company?s file server. (2)
  • Write lists. For example, directors of instructional videos may write lists of shots and other details before the final cut of the script. Film directors make notes about ways to shoot footage on medium shots, close ups, and long shots. These lists may also include tracking, dolly shots, and focus changes in the middle of a shot for more creative film production projects. (2)
  • Write purchase orders and draft call sheets which list every person working on a project, and their tasks and contact information. (2)
  • Write brief reports and summaries. For example, choreographers write summaries to describe themes and concepts and how to interpret them into movement. Film directors write conceptual plans to organize large amounts of film and video recordings. Directors write summaries and opinions of scripts. (3)
  • Write emails to address problems with a project. For example, if there is a budgeting issue, producers or directors put together a plan that addresses the number of hours and shooting days. (3)
  • Write emails to other producers and creatives to provide constructive criticism about a project. They need to be sensitive about rewriting other people?s ideas in order to maintain a relationship with others in the project. (3)
  • Write proposals to secure funding for projects. For example, film producers write proposals in which they outline storylines, justify the value of projects, demonstrate their capacities to complete projects, and describe work plans and costs. (4)
  • Write grant applications. For example, cinematographers write using visual language for publicity, so that producers can use the description for the project application. (4)
  • Draft contracts for work based on templates that are reviewed by lawyers to ensure everyone is treated fairly. May need to make and add changes. (4)
  • Write promotional pieces to promote their productions. For example, radio producers write promos for upcoming shows, choreographers write press releases and artistic managing directors compose introductions to plays for inclusion in programs. Cinematographers write newspaper articles about recent films they have completed. Editors write blog articles on industry-related topics. (4)
  • Write ?pitch? documents and treatments for ideas. For example, producers write ?bibles? to pitch new series for television. The ?bible? contains a series overview, character biographies, and plotlines or paragraph descriptions for 6 to 10 episodes. Director-editors for small companies write outlines for screenplays for approval by a client. (5)
  • Write scripts. For example, radio producers write scripts for talk shows that provide background, facts, issues, and questions for interviewers and show hosts. Independent film director-producers write documentary scripts based on diaries, letters and interviews. (5)
Numeracy Money Math
  • Take cash and make change. For example, choreographers and directors in small theatre and dance companies may sell tickets at box offices. (1)
  • Calculate expense claim amounts. They calculate reimbursement for travel and meal expenses using per diems for meals and incidentals and per kilometre rates for the use of personal vehicles. (2)
  • Calculate and verify invoice amounts. For example, independent television producer-directors prepare invoices for their professional services using daily and hourly billing rates. They add amounts for materials, supplies and equipment and apply sales taxes. (3)
Scheduling, Budgeting and Accounting
  • Create and monitor budgets. For example, record producers and independent film and television producer-directors create and monitor operating budgets. They consider factors such as costs of overhead, labour, equipment, materials, and supplies. They forecast production expenses, and income from funding sources and ticket sales. They monitor these budgets to accommodate variations in costs and revenue. (4)
  • Create and modify production schedules to ensure projects are completed on time and within budget. For example, technical directors in theatres create schedules for the construction and installation of sets and lighting and sound systems. They consider the numbers, complexities and sequences of job tasks, intervals between activities, and availabilities of workers and materials. They factor in times for changes to set designs and for disruptions such as illnesses of crew members and performers, equipment breakdowns and delivery delays. (4)
Measurement and Calculation
  • Take measurements with common measuring tools. For example, technical directors in theatres use protractors to measure sight line angles. Record producers use measuring tapes to measure distances between microphones and instruments. Film and television directors and editors use audible time codes to measure the lengths of video and audio recordings. Technical directors in theatres use dividers and scaled rulers to determine the dimensions of props, ramps and stairs. (1)
  • Use light and colour temperature meters to calculate lighting and contrast ratios to achieve different effects. They use filters to alter images to correct the colour of the light or to change an image in a way that will enhance the story. (1)
  • Calculate frame rate to resolutions to bit streams. May calculate frequency rate. (1)
  • Use time-codes to specify precise video and audio editing points for trimming, and for creating fades, dissolves and complicated effects, For example, 02:04:19:12 refers to a precise point using hours, minutes, seconds and frames. (2)
  • Make calculations for sequences. For example, if 24 to 30 frames per second are needed to preserve a uniform time gap, 3 sequences will mean 5 seconds of black before each sequence. (2)
  • May calculate quantities of materials for set construction and staging for performances. For example, technical directors in theatres calculate the areas of walls and floors to determine quantities of construction materials such as wood, metal trim and fabric. (3)
Data Analysis
  • May interpret data on audience ticket sales, productions and demographics. For example, radio program directors interpret statistics that describe the composition of audiences to identify trends in listenership. They use their analyses to determine the popularity of programs and calculate potential advertising revenues. (3)
Numerical Estimation
  • May estimate distances. For example, record producers estimate lengths of cable needed to connect musical instruments to studio equipment. (1)
  • Estimate times to complete job tasks. For example, choreographers estimate times needed to complete choreography for productions and to teach complex dance movements to new dancers. Artistic managing directors estimate times needed to rehearse productions. Film editors estimate times required to edit films. (2)
Oral communication
  • May discuss products and services with suppliers. For example, choreographers, record producers and technical directors in theatres discuss prices and properties of materials needed for the construction of sets. Film producer- directors discuss actors? availabilities with theatrical agents. (2)
  • May negotiate contract terms and conditions with clients. For example, producer-directors may negotiate timelines and budgets for documentary films with clients. They may negotiate fees with actors? agents. (2)
  • Discuss the technical and aesthetic aspects of productions with co-workers, colleagues and subject matter experts. For example, choreographers discuss fight choreography with dancer and dance specialists. Technical directors in theatres discuss materials for sets and costumes with colleagues. They discuss theatrical productions with supervisors to keep them abreast of progress, to defend additional costs and to seek advice about project delays. (2)
  • Speak with agents by telephone to discuss projects, cast, and crew. (2)
  • Have safety meetings prior to start of production. There may be special regulations on safety particular to the studio or the province where they are filming. (2)
  • Provide instructions and give direction to workers they supervise. For example, movie directors coach actors on interpretations of scripts. They give directions to camera crews, actors, and other workers on movie sets. Technical directors in theatres provide instructions to carpenters, lighting and sound technicians, wardrobe staff, and stage crews. Record producers give editing instructions to sound engineers. (3)
  • May discuss policies, programs, and regulatory decisions with representatives of funding agencies, government departments, and regulatory bodies. For example, assistant program directors at radio stations discuss regulations and laws governing hate speech and obscenity with workers at the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council. (3)
  • Promote productions and discuss them during live interviews with journalists and appearances on talk shows and news programs. For example, directors and choreographers give interviews to journalists, reviewers and entertainment editors in order to promote their productions. (3)
  • Give presentations and lead meetings. For example, artistic directors of theatres and dance companies make presentations about programming and finances to boards of directors. Assistant program directors in radio stations lead daily production meetings with announcers and technicians. Technical directors in theatres report at weekly production planning meetings. (3)
  • Pitch and negotiate ideas with clients and broadcasters. For example, producers meet clients face to face in pre-production to discuss project goals and budget. (3)
  • Interview people for documentaries and reality TV shows. For example, directors of small film companies contact and select candidates who are suitable for a documentary. They interview these candidates using a scripted set of questions but may ask additional, spontaneous questions to get the content needed for the documentary. (3)
  • Hold production meetings to discuss projects. For example, directors talk about visual language, above-the-line people (director, producers, editors) and below-the-line people (gaffer, key grip, camera operator, focus puller). Producers report on what is happening with the production department, including schedule changes. Producers, assistant directors, and production managers review the script. (3)
  • Meet with clients in post-production to discuss fine details and project progress. For larger projects, directors may negotiate the effectiveness of a sequence and how to improve it. The director and editor may negotiate, with the director representing the client?s interests and the editor speaking from an editing point of view. (3)
  • Hold post-production meetings to discuss the first cut of a film. For example, directors, producers, editors, and others meet to provide feedback and discuss the direction of the film. (3)
ThinkingProblem Solving
  • Encounter equipment malfunctions that slow and stop production. For example, radio producers may experience sound interference during live feeds. They inform technical workers and switch to other guests and news items until the interference is eliminated. Television producer-directors find they have insufficient power for lights when shooting in remote locations. They arrange for additional generators and find alternative locations for shoots. (2)
  • Resolve scheduling conflicts when locations are not available at required times, or shooting is taking longer than planned. For example, they may shoot scenes in a different order or quickly find a different location for shooting. (2)
  • Resolve conflicts within the team. For example, directors, producers and editors may have different ideas about how a scene should be edited. They view footage, check scripts and notes, and discuss ideas to come up with a solution. (3)
  • Resolve issues with poor or lacking footage. For example, editors editing short corporate videos need to figure out how to edit the footage to make the interviewees who are not professional actors look more coherent and not like they are in a question and answer session. The end result needs to look seamless and sell the company. (3)
  • Experience lower than expected funding and revenue. For example, artistic directors experience low attendance at plays. They identify weaknesses in promotional activities and develop strategies such as issuing complimentary tickets to stimulate sales. They may begin preparations for the new productions in case plays currently running are forced to close early. Film and television producer-directors find they have insufficient funding to complete their films. They try to raise additional funds from new sources, continue without staff, and put projects on hold. (3)
  • Find that interview subjects, actors, musicians and dancers are unavailable. For example, when scheduled guests are unavailable, radio and television producers may find substitutes, use alternative information sources such as film clips and change programming themes. When cast members are ill and understudies are unavailable, artistic managing directors find replacement actors. They book additional rehearsals and have cue cards made to assist replacement actors during performances. (3)
  • May find that performers and interview subjects are not meeting expectations. For example, directors and choreographers find that actors and dancers are not interpreting their artistic visions correctly. Television producer- directors find that interviewees become inarticulate before cameras. They experiment with alternative approaches to relay ideas to performers and to animate interview subjects. (3)
  • Deal with constantly changing variables. For example producers figure out what to do when there are changes in locations or shooting. Alternate locations affect costuming and script. Directors figure out how to adjust shooting schedules and sequences when deadlines are changed. (3)
Decision Making
  • Select equipment and materials. For example, film directors select cameras. They consider the atmosphere and effect they want to achieve, and the formats in which films will be shown. Technical directors in theatres select construction materials for sets. They consider the visual effects directors have requested, and the prices and availabilities of various materials. (2)
  • Make decisions about shooting. For example, cinematographers decide on camera angles and lighting to create specific moods. (3)
  • May choose projects to undertake. For example, artistic managing directors select plays for upcoming seasons. They consider local audiences, funding requirements and the reputations of their theatres. They take into account failures and successes with similar productions. Assistant program directors at radio stations choose news stories for features and themes for programs. They consider audiences? interests, similar programming shown recently and the coverage of news stories by competing stations. (3)
  • May select performers and production workers. For example, artistic directors, film directors and choreographers may choose performers, technical directors and set designers. They consider workers' technical abilities, artistic approaches, reputations, fees, attitudes, artistic styles and availabilities. (3)
  • Choose presentation methods and strategies. For example, choreographers choose music, movements, costumes and sets that reflect their artistic visions. Film editors refine and shape films by selecting scenes that are technically sound and align with directors' styles. (3)
  • Decide how to edit film footage to create the desired effect. For example, editors consider details like camera angles, music, and graphics to create the desired emotion when an audience views trailers or film. Editors maintain the flow of the story in a short film by fixing gaps in the story and dialogue, and deciding on where and how much to cut from a scene. For example, a microscopic pause in a dialogue can make a person look guilty. They make revisions based on feedback from directors and clients. Many decisions are made in collaboration with the director and producer. (4)
Critical Thinking
  • Assess the suitability and effectiveness of sets, locations, music, lighting and costumes. For example, directors assess the suitability of props such as books, pictures and telephones. They check to see that props fit targeted historical periods. They confirm that props do not impede actors' movements. (2
  • Evaluate the suitability of venues for productions. For example, choreographers assess the suitability of stages for dance performances. They measure stages to confirm there will be enough room for the number of dancers involved. (2
  • Assess the quality of productions. For example, record producers assess the quality of music recordings. They listen to recordings to confirm the richness and clarity of sound, the success of the mixing process, the absence of ambient noise and the accuracy of performances by musicians and vocalists. Directors and producers analyze shots. They consider the effectiveness of the shot and how it fits the storyline. (3
  • May assess the abilities of performers. For example, choreographers evaluate the abilities of dancers. They view video recordings to observe dancers' technical strengths and weaknesses and interview them to become familiar with their goals and ambitions. Record producers assess the ability and suitability of studio musicians before recommending them to clients. They review past experiences working with them and read resumes and biographies to find out about musicians' training, experience, skills and reputations. (3
Job Task Planning and Organization
  • Producers, directors, choreographers and related workers plan job tasks to meet production deadlines. They organize their daily job tasks to prepare for new projects and manage current ones. They schedule time to attend to administrative tasks, plan and monitor production schedules, meet with collaborators and complete work on current projects. Occasionally there is a queue of projects and they may work overtime to meet deadlines. They adjust their work plans to accommodate events such as bad weather, faulty equipment and illnesses.
  • Producers, directors, choreographers and related workers may direct the work of actors, dancers, production workers and various technicians. They may participate in creating artistic visions and operational plans for their organizations. They need to plan ahead and anticipate what is next, such as getting a crew member to prepare the lighting for the next scene. They review a production prior to its start to decide what crew, cast and equipment are needed and have meetings to assign tasks.
Significant Use of Memory
  • Remember workers' names and areas of expertise. For example, choreographers and directors remember names and skills of technical and artistic colleagues when looking for collaborators and performers for new productions. Radio producers remember names and areas of expertise of past guests on news magazines and talk shows.
  • Remember details about scenes that have already been shot, since scenes are not shot in sequence. They need to be able to reference details about what has already been shot.
  • Remember technical details such as camera angles and dance movement sequences.
Finding Information
  • Call colleagues for creative ideas or get feedback. (2)
  • Read collective agreements for information concerning cast and crew members. (2)
  • Read emails for feedback and opinions about the film. (2)
  • Search online for information about film topics from websites, forums, chat rooms, and YouTube. (3)
  • Search the internet for information that will help to trouble shoot problems, such as an issue with a piece of equipment. (3)
  • Find information about funding sources. For example, feature film producers read news releases from governments and private foundations. They speak to professional contacts, civil servants, politicians and private donors to locate and clarify requirements for funding. (3)
  • Find information about news stories, historical events and other topics important to theatre, television and film productions. They may read novels, documents from archives and articles in magazines. They may interview people with knowledge about historical events, review films and photographs, and watch and listen to recordings. (4)
Digital technology
  • Use word processing software. For example, they use word processing software to write letters, scripts and promotional items and to prepare funding applications. They edit and format text, and create tables and columns. They make invoices for freelance work using Google documents templates. (2)
  • Use databases. For example, radio producers and film editors may search databases for audio clips and sound effects. Technical directors may use database programs such as Lightwright to manage professional lighting design paperwork. (2)
  • Use spreadsheets. For example, they may create spreadsheets to manage payroll, budgets and cash flows and to prepare schedules. They may add columns and rows and create formulas. (2)
  • Use communications software. For example, they may send and receive e-mail and attachments, collect contact information, maintain distribution lists, use spell check, and organize and control mail. (2)
  • Use editing software. For example, record producers use sound recording and editing software to create multi-track digital audio recordings. (2)
  • Use online services to share files and work on documents collaboratively, such as Google Documents and Dropbox. (2)
  • Use the Internet. For example, they search for current news items, carry out research for productions, and find collaborators and funding for projects. They read forums, online manuals, and participate in chat rooms to get help and information on topics (3)
  • Use social networking such as Instagram, Facebook and Linkedin to connect with industry professionals and audiences. May have their own website to connect with others. (3)
  • May use computer-aided design software. For example, technical directors may use CAD software to create scale drawings of stages and sets. (3)
  • Use animation software, and motion graphics and visual software. Film editors may use software programs such as After Affects to create special effects and animations. (3)
  • Use film editing software. Film editors use editing programs and platforms such as Avid Media Composer and Final Cut. They produce rough and final cuts, format still images, and layer multiple still and moving images. (4)
Additional informationOther Essential Skills:

Working With Others

Producers, directors, choreographers and related workers lead teams that produce plays, movies, musical performances and other works. They coordinate and integrate job tasks with large multi-disciplinary teams.

Continuous Learning

Producers, directors, choreographers and related workers learn continuously in order to stimulate their creativity, to maintain awareness of current events and new technologies, and to refine their skills. They learn through daily work experiences and through discussions with co-workers and colleagues. They read trade magazines, watch films and attend live performances. They read information from forums, websites and blogs on technology, trends, and marketplace knowledge. They learn how to use new software on their own, but occasionally representatives from companies give talks or provide training in software products. Learning may be in the form of workshops offered through unions, attending conferences during film festivals, and attending sessions with filmmakers and producers to learn trends. Networking with others helps them keep up with industry trends in Canada and internationally.

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