A film’s director is not just the person in the chair yelling “cut” or “action.” Director Michael Tanner Cusumano demystifies the position and breaks down the duties of this major position in film production.
Q: In general terms, what are the responsibilities of a movie’s director?
Cusumano: Put simply: Everything. A director ultimately oversees everything an audience sees on the screen. There are many aspects of production where he is directly involved and some details that he has a little less to do with.
Q: What are some of the parts that a director is completely involved in?
Cusumano: Most everything you see on the screen in the final product has the director’s stamp on it. This includes performances, editing, set decoration, and location as well as the actors’ dialogue and blocking.
Q: What might a director not have exact control over?
Cusumano: A film production can be a huge undertaking, and it may be beneficial that the director not micromanage the entire set. To that end, a director may not be specifically involved with individual crew members and even some technical aspects of getting the movie made.
Michael Tanner Cusumano is an award-winning filmmaker who attends Sierra Canyon School in Chatsworth, California. His latest film, Impetuous, premiered at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and will be screened at the Phoenix Film Festival.