"If a movie gets spectacular reviews but doesn't do business, the director is off the hook," Michael Crichton (Westworld) explains, "If a picture gets hideous reviews and does a lot of business, everybody is content. A picture that gets bad reviews and does no business is probably going to be laid at the feet of the director. That's the style of the times."
Directors are the individuals who "translate" the script from the written page into a film. To do this a typical director may supervise hundreds of people at a time, including (but not limited to) the scriptwriters, cameramen, costume and set designers, etc. Directors are in charge of both the technical and artistic aspects of the film.
They conduct the auditions, supervise the rehearsals, and approve locations, scenery, costumes, and even the music. In short, they direct the entire cast and crew during shooting. Frequently they will have several assistant directors helping them with details such as handling extras, transporting equipment, and arranging for food and accommodations when needed.
Usually, individuals who want to become directors start in another phase of filmmaking (like assisting or acting) and use their experience and varied job opportunities to eventually advance to directing. It is rare that even those who attend film school specifically for directing will graduate and immediately become a leading director on a film. There are exceptions (as mentioned), like Quentin Tarantino.
Ultimately, the screenwriter's concern is with the situational flow and the vocal sound of the film. The cameraman must attend to the particularities of each shot. The actors must concentrate on specific gestures and movements.
The editor will be confronted with the piecing together raw materials that either make implicit an already finished artistic vision, or evidence so little unity that his work becomes one of reconstruction, of attempting to produce some coherence, although his contribution in such a case will have been obstructed at the level of professionalism rather than art.
Successful directors are involved in every phase of production, from the very beginning to the very end. Some directors will assume multiple roles in their films, such as director-producer, writer-director, or even writer-director-actor-producer. Whatever the role they take on, as the director, they must know how to hire the right people, fire the wrong people, and how to handle people so that they work as effectively as possible in a team atmosphere.
The Director's Journey : The Creative Collaboration Between Directors,
Writers and Actors by Mark W. Travis
Directing Actors : Creating Memorable Performances for Film and Television by
Directing 101 by Ernest Pintoff
On Directing Film by David Mamet
The Directors--Take One : In Their Own Words by Robert J. Emery, Leonard Maltin
Directing Your Directing Career, Support Book & Agent Guide for Directors: 2nd
Edition by K. Callan
From Script to Screen : The Collaborative Art of Filmmaking by Linda Seger,
Edward Jay Whetmore
Interpreting the Moving Image (Cambridge Studies in Film) by Noel Carroll
The Cinema of Oliver Stone by Norman Kagan
Breaking into Film : Making Your Career Search a Blockbuster by Kenna McHugh
Scorsese on Scorsese by David Thompson, Ian Christie, Michael Powell
The Film Producer : A Handbook for Producing by Paul N. Lazarus
Martin Scorsese by Andy Dougan