How To Become A Film Director

So you want to be a film director? If you are serious to break into a tremendous competitive film making industry, then you need to know that it is not just about making money.

Film directors are the overall in-charge of all the elements of a movie.  They are responsible for the location, budgeting, set design, crew, costume designs, lighting and special effects, music, actors, stunts and even the extras.  It is a big responsibility, but artistically fulfilling in every way.


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Advantages and Disadvantages of Being a Film Director

Film or movie directors are the creative vision in film making.  They have the biggest responsibility to keep the film in a smooth and orderly manner.  And if you are going to become a director, you must be prepared to face not only the advantages it gives, but also the disadvantages.  Here are some of them:


  • Pay : When starting in the film industry, your pay may be very low. Sometimes, you may even have to work for free. However, once you start making your own reputation, you may find that a director’s job earns a very lucrative income.


  • Fulfillment : For those who work not just for the money, you will find satisfaction on your artistic passion.  Your ability to take charge and put all your ideas into a moving motion picture will be more than enough to pay for all your hard work.


  • Time: You would spend a great deal of time for your work even on weekends. Most of the time, you can be separated from your family especially when filming on location.  Hence, you must be ready to work for long hours day and night.


  • Stress: If you are not ready to handle a great responsibility, you might suffer from stress in your work.  It might compromise your health and your film.  Thus, you need stamina, drive, focus and a great deal of patience in dealing with everything – from the writers, staff, actors and down through the last backup assistant.


Tips To Become a Film Director


#1. Start at the bottom

George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Quentin Tarantino did not make it to the top in an instant.  All of them started small either by making coffee or running some errands.  The tip is to take any job that you can. You can be an assistant, an errand guy, an intern on the set and anything that would set your foot in the door.  Paid or not, these experiences will help you gain important knowledge and experience.


# 2. Get an Education

Although there really is no particular educational requirement to be a film director, there are degrees that may lead you to this career path.


  • Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts or Film Making


A four year course that would teach you the basic skills and information. The degree has basic courses in directing, casting, film history, screenwriting, character development, camera techniques and cinematic storytelling.  Part of the education program is to create a number of original film projects and an internship for a company in the film industry.


  • Master’s Program


Enroll in a Master of Fine Arts in Film Directing.  This advanced course would be an opportunity for many students to get involved in film production including cinematography and editing.  It will also teach them some advanced film directing techniques, script development and directing seminars.


#3. Experience is the best teacher

While others go through an educational program, some choose to work their way out to develop their artistic craft.  You could work as an assistant for the director to expose yourself on the discipline and protocol of the work.  Or you could be like many film directors who started as a producer, screenwriter or an actor before pursuing a director’s job.  Some of these stars-turned-directors are Clint Eastwood, Mel Gibson, Ben Affleck, Barbara Streisand, Kathryn Bigelow and Woody Allen.


#4. Be an Apprentice at the Directors Guild of America

With the growing competition in the film industry, it does not hurt to find an extra edge over your peers.  You can start by applying in the Directors Guild of America‘s hands-on-training program on actual film sets.  You can work as an associate director to learn the basic and technical aspects of film directing and production.


#5. Apply for a directorship job

After completing your training, you can start applying for directorship jobs. Start small by directing commercial, music videos, educational films or low-budget indie movies.

Being a film director takes skills, perseverance and patience in reaching your goal. Hence, if you love the movies, be bold to take steps toward your dream.

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