What are the Different Technical Director Jobs?

A. Rohlandt

Technical directors hold positions in the entertainment industry and are responsible for the details involved in the production of movies, television shows and stage productions. The position is subordinate the main director. Common types of technical director jobs involve lighting, animation, special effects, stunts and art. They may also work in video game design and computer software development.

A technical director might be responsible for staging and editing a television program.
A technical director might be responsible for staging and editing a television program.

In television, the technical director may have multiple roles, in essence, becoming a general director. For local programming, he or she may be responsible for lighting, staging and editing. Theater technical director jobs include lighting and art direction. These may include oversight, not only of the performance, but of the design and creation of the needed elements.

A technical director in the film industry may be called on to find innovative solutions to lighting issues.
A technical director in the film industry may be called on to find innovative solutions to lighting issues.

Technical directors in both television and theatre are responsible for the supervision of craftsmen as well as the coordination of outside vendors and service providers. The director’s work may also require research and production of prototypes or methods to see how well they match the project’s budget, vision, and audience expectations.

The role of technical director in video game design and development is becoming more common, but many times it is one of a number of positions that a person may hold. Technical directors specializing in 3-D, animation and graphics are sometimes employed in this sector.

A bachelor's degree in communication or journalism is usually required for technical director jobs in television, while a degree in theatre arts or drama may be required for technical director jobs in theatre. As a general rule, individuals with related degrees or experience may also serve as technical directors. In certain instances, where specialized program material or techniques are used, an advanced degree may be required.

The primary requirement for a technical director job is familiarity with the equipment and process used in the director’s specialty area. Lighting technical directors will naturally be proficient in the theory and operation of various lighting configurations, but must also know how different cameras are affected by the lighting. Animation and special effects directors will need extensive knowledge of digital equipment and techniques.

Someone who has skills in the practical or technical realm yet has a creative bent may find that landing one of the many available technical director jobs is difficult due to the keen competition. Successful directors are able to work with a wide variety of creative and sometimes difficult personality types by employing tact, being flexible and having vision. If they can do this, they may find themselves in a financially and personally rewarding career.

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Discussion Comments


@David09 - If you want to break into local television, try your local TV station or cable company. They may have openings for odd jobs in the evening. You will be doing easy stuff but it’s a good way to get your foot in the door in my opinion. Once you’re in, you can start rubbing shoulders with some people and really learn the trade.


@hamje32 - I think that engineering art director jobs in the video game industry are pretty cool myself. It might seem strange to think that you’d need a technical director in video game development, but stop and look at a video game sometime.

Think about the lighting and the cinematography in today’s video games. In many ways they are borrowing the language of film. That’s no accident. No doubt there is an artistic technical director behind the scenes who helped to craft the game, scene by scene, just like they do in the movies.

I think if you’re going to go into technical directing, the game industry is more open to newcomers than Hollywood is. Engineering jobs in game development require people who have both creative and technical skills.


I once watched an interview with a well known technical director in Hollywood. He was asked about the secret of his success. He said that he started out as a lowly assistant, helping out in any way that he could.

But he learned as much about everything that he could. He hung around the grips, to learn about camera and dolly moves. He hung around the carpenters to learn about set design, and of course he hung around the director of photography to learn how to properly light a scene.

He volunteered to do as many small or odd jobs as he could, picking up all these different skills along the way that made him into an outstanding technical director. I think that’s really the path to success in this field because you do have to know so many things. Of course you can get some of that education in school but nothing beats hands on learning in my opinion.

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