Why do so many actors turn director?


I wouldn’t think those skill sets are easily transferable seeing how much a director is in charge of. Like how did so many of the actors in The Office, also direct episodes? Bonus: does someone else stand in as director when you’re acting in a scene that you’re the director of that entire project?

In: 1

I imagine the best actors have an eye for directing as well so that they understand how their role and performance relates to the big picture. And the best directors probably have a deep understanding of the overall acting process beyond just the end result. Although they aren’t the same skill set, I think they require a lot of similar sensibilities to do either at a high level. Also, I think having actors guest direct in shows they work on is more of a courtesy than anything. I’m sure playing the same character on a long running sitcom gets stale so it gives them the chance to get involved in a different way and keep things fresh. It also is an easy way to generate more buzz around specific episodes. Seems like a win win

Generally speaking, actors are paid to act. They are paid $_________ per episode. Once those episodes are done, so is their income. If a show is successful, like Big Bang Theory (for example), there might be a small amount of payment per episode based on streaming contracts, etc. but it’s not much.

Directing episodes, or being given a “Producer credit” is a way for an Actor to guarantee further income via those same streaming services, either in addition to acting residuals, or in place of them.


For example Pamela Anderson earns almost nothing from Baywatch reruns. Granted she made a LOT of $$$ during the show, after she made it so successful, but afterwards? Bupkis.

I feel like almost everyone has an idea for a movie they want to make. Many actors are people with the money and connections to actually attempt to make that movie a reality, not to mention having many social contacts within the hollywood sphere of influence

Experienced actors are often giving newer actors tips or helping to get the mood right in a scene with their skills. And after taking so much direction, they pick up nuances on how to set a scene well and contribute from their position. So it transfers more than you’d think.

Why not get to decide more about how a story gets told than just interpret words from a script?

Actors act, but directors have to determine so much more about how a story gets told. Choosing locations, working with set and wardrobe design, checking with writers and producers and studio to make sure everyone is on the same page with the flavour.
Actors work adjacent to directors so much that they must have some good insights to what is necessary, and for a director knowing the internal insights of acting seems like a win win.