‘Director’ vs. ‘Co-Director’: What’s the Difference?

By Kelsey Weeks, updated on June 29, 2023

Are you referring to a ‘director’ or a ‘co-director?’ How do you know the difference between the two? Is one the right choice or do they mean the same thing? If deciding between 'director' vs. 'co-director' this will answer your questions.

If you need a quick answer, in a nutshell:

  • A director is someone who oversees the operations of a company or film.
  • Co-director usually implies that there is more than one person working together to oversee the operations.

There is so much more to learn about the differences between a ‘director’ and a ‘co-director.’ Continue reading the article to learn more about what roles each of them can have.

What is the Difference Between ‘Director’ and ‘Co-Director?’

These terms define if there is one person in charge, or if there are multiple people running the project together.

‘Director’ can be used to signify that there is one person running a company, a division of a company, or a movie. The ‘director’ role is one that can win awards in film industries, so they do not always split this role.

Using ‘co-director’ is to show that there are two or more people leading the project. Sometimes this happens because they can have different specialties and are working to bring their unique skills together or the project is big enough that it would be beneficial to split responsibilities.

In the film industry sometimes, you will see a ‘director’ in one role and a ‘co-director’ in another working on the same movie. When this happens, the awards usually only go to the ‘director.’

Other words that have co- added to make a new word:

  • Cooperate
  • Cohesive
  • Coordinate
  • Coexist
  • Cohort

Adding the prefix co- to a word allows the words to change meaning to with or together. In ‘co-director,’ it becomes two or more directors working together.

When to use ‘Director’ vs. ‘Co-Director’

Here are some tips on when to use ‘director’ vs. ‘co-director.’

  • Use ‘director’ when referring to one person running an organization.

In this example, you could say:

The ‘director’ of my department at work has been the ‘director’ of operations for four years.

  • Use ‘director’ when referring to someone leading a project.

For example, one can say:

 The ‘director’ will take over the new promotional project to show people what our products can do.

  • You can use ‘co-director’ when showing multiple people working together.

As an example, someone may say:

Both Jennie, ‘co-director,’ and Sydney, ‘co-director,’ are up for the award for the best department this quarter because they have been working so well together.

  • You can also use ‘co-director’ when showing someone that is learning from the director role in movies.

You may notice in movie credits or hear someone say:

The movie’s ‘director’ is a long-time seasoned ‘director,’ so he took a ‘co-director’ on to teach him the ropes of directing the next movie in this series.

Definition of ‘Director': What Does ‘Director' Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, ‘director’ means:

  • One who directs such as
    • The head of an organized group or administrative unit
    • One of a group of persons entrusted with the overall director of a corporate enterprise.
    • A person who supervises the production of a show (as for stage or screen) is usually responsible for action, lighting, music, and rehearsals.
    • Music

Synonyms of ‘Director’

  • Administrant
  • Administrator
  • Manager
  • Exec
  • Superintendent
  • Supervisor
  • Executive
  • President
  • Producer
  • Stage director
  • Stage manager

Antonyms of ‘Director’

  • Employee
  • Follower
  • Worker
  • Inferior
  • Underling
  • Junior
  • Servant
  • Subordinate
  • Apprentice
  • Minion
  • Lackey
  • Pupil
  • Deputy

Definition of ‘Co-Director': What Does ‘Co-Director' Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, ‘co-director’ means:

  • One who shares the duties of directing (something) with another or others.
  • To direct (something) jointly

Synonyms of ‘Co-Director’

  • Co-organizer
  • Director
  • Co-lead
  • Co-head
  • Deputy-director
  • Supervisor
  • Executive
  • President
  • Producer
  • Stage director
  • Stage manager

Antonyms of ‘Co-Director’

  • Employee
  • Follower
  • Worker
  • Inferior
  • Underling
  • Junior
  • Servant
  • Subordinate
  • Apprentice
  • Minion
  • Lackey
  • Pupil
  • Deputy

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Director’ vs. ‘Co-Director’

It is important to learn how to pronounce words so that you can use English words both in writing but also when speaking. This will help make you confident in the usage of the word no matter the circumstance.

  • The phonetic spelling of 'director' is:

             Dai rek tuh

  • The phonetic spelling of 'co-director' is:

            Kow dai rek tuh

Sample Sentences Using 'Director'

Review these sample sentences to learn how to use ‘director’ fluently.

  • I was nominated to be the director of the department at work. It was based on who was the most productive on the team and who they felt would motivate them to succeed.
  • My favorite movie’s director is one of the first women directors that was acknowledged on the scene. She had to break through a lot of barriers to become a director.
  • The school hired a new chorus director that has experience with show choir. This will give the choir a better chance at learning what is expected for competitions.
  • Within the company, the board of trustees thought that it would be beneficial to hire a director internally rather than externally so that the person would understand the expectations and the current employees.
  • Altogether, the director has worked for this company for thirty years promoting throughout the years, so she really understands each role and what they bring to the table.

Sample Sentences Using 'Co-Director'

Review these sample sentences to learn how to use ‘co-director’ in speaking and writing.

  • This company does not allow a single person in charge here, so they voted to have a co-director from the morning shift and one from the night shift to ensure that all times are covered.
  • I know both of the co-directors, so I believe that I will have a good chance at getting the job if they have a say. I just need to secure an interview.
  • This movie is going to have a huge staff, so they have decided to hire both a director and a co-director to make sure everything is managed smoothly. This will also give the co-director a chance to learn so that one day they can have the director title.

Closing Words on ‘Director’ vs. ‘Co-Director’

When reviewing the information on ‘director’ vs. ‘co-director’ it is important to remember that:

  • Both a ‘director’ and a ‘co-director' is responsible for managing and overseeing.
  • ‘Director’ is when there is one person in charge.
  • ‘Co-Director’ is when two or more people are working together overseeing.

In conclusion, ‘directors’ and ‘co-directors’ and people who are in roles that ensure that everything is running smoothly whether that be a department, business, or a movie. They are responsible for making sure everything goes as it should.

All posts on our website explain how to use tricky words correctly. Check back frequently to reduce the errors in your writing. You can find additional resources on English words in the confusing words section.

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Written By:
Kelsey Weeks
Kelsey Weeks is currently a school counselor at a high school and a previous English teacher. She loves helping others with literacy, learning more, and exploring nature. She has an undergrad in English with an emphasis on secondary education and an M.A. in Applied Psychology from NYU.

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