How to hire a freelance Set Director?

Written by 90 Seconds
Last updated: October 4, 2023
How to hire a freelance Set Director?

The right set director can make the difference between a finished film that matches its vision and one that never quite comes together. It is important to hire a set director that can play various roles effectively, passionately and creatively. Not only will the set director be responsible for finding and hiring the right cast and ensuring that the best shots are developed, this crucial team player will also need to be able to select and edit scenes to produce a cohesive finished product.

For a well-rounded set director, look for someone who has a solid education in the basics of the industry. While some people obtain this at film school or in another educational setting, just as many get this type of training on the job. A showreel or portfolio offers a glimpse into the range and style of a set director.

What to look for

Hire a set director by looking for the following strengths in the people that you connect with:

Able to work well under pressure and adverse conditions

Can provide effective leadership by exuding calmness and accommodating a myriad of personality types

A passion about the industry that is unfettered

A robust understanding of all the minute technical and creative elements of the directing process

Questions to ask a potential candidate

Where do you see your career in one year? Five years?

The answer to this question will help you determine the person’s level of passion.

Detail a challenging project and how you managed to pull it all together. What do you wish you had done differently on this particular project?

Knowing the details of a challenging project and the ability to pinpoint areas of growth and learning provide valuable insight into the way a particular set director works.

What types of projects do you wish were already on your showreel or portfolio and why?

Learning about the influences of a set director gives you insight into their aspirations.

What makes you the best set director for this project?

This answer will provide you with a concise listing of the person’s skills and knowledge.

What is your proudest moment as a set director?

Do you find yourself nodding and understanding why the set director was proud or does the answer leave you confused? This knowledge can help you make the right hiring decision.