Edited by Ben Jacklin
August 5, 2019
How to Become а Movie Director
A film director is one of the most essential jobs in the filming industry. If you wonder how do you become a movie director, read our article with several tips on this subject. Find out the steps on how to become a film director without a film school. There are also tips on how to get started in the cinematography field.
How to Become а Film Director
Who is a Director
Let’s first define, who is a film director and what does a director do. A director is a person who is in charge of the creative filmmaking process. He or she supervises the actors and decides on the location, screenplay, costumes, special effects, and a lot more. The job of the director is to visualize the story written in the script.
The director also has to deal with the funding issue. This stage may take plenty of time. If the director doesn’t have the money to invest in a movie, he or she has to find investors and convince them that the film is worth shooting.
Actually, there can be several directors on the movie set: first assistant director (1AD), second assistant director (2AD), and even third, and fourth assistant director. The first one is responsible for scheduling the film process, controlling the cast, and assisting the director. The second takes care of the call sheets and helps the 1AD. More ADs are needed when shooting crowded scenes.
The Role of the Director
What does it take to be a Hollywood director? Director performs different tasks on set.
During the pre-production, his or her job is to take care of the funding, casting, and finding the right location. It’s very important to take the casting part seriously. In most cases, if the performance in the movie is poor, it means that the director made the wrong choice of the actor.
The stage of production is the creative part. The director should be able to distinguish between the essential and not so important scenes. Some scenes aren’t worth spending time on, as they won’t be the ones that can make the film famous. Being a leader, the director should keep the producers, cast, and crew engaged in the filming process at this point.
At post-production, the director’s role is mostly observing the film-editing process. It's time to do the color and sound correction and add special effects. After that, the parts of the footage will finally become a real movie.
Think of the Education
You don’t need a diploma to become a movie director. Having a college degree in cinematography isn’t obligatory. What really matters is your talent and experience. But you may still get an education. If you don't know what to study, choose courses like editing, cinematography, film history, and screenwriting. You can also study acting, journalism, and communication subjects.
Once you have a bachelor’s degree, you can work as an assistant to the director or editor. It will give you the opportunity to learn the filmmaking industry from the inside and gain experience.
To become a film director, you have to watch movies. There are several ways to watch films effectively.
First, try watching a movie without sound. This will help you concentrate on the visual part of the story. Observe the camera movement, angles, shots. Pay attention to all the characters and interactions between them. Nothing should distract you from the camerawork.
You can also watch the movie with the screen off, only listening to the soundtrack and dialogs. You’ll be able to pay attention to the little details that you might not have noticed before. Listen to music, raindrops, and whisper. Concentrate on how the story is told with the sound.
Read the Scripts
You should be ready that most of the time you’ll shoot movies based on someone else’s screenplay. So reading many scripts can help you understand the script language better. While reading the screenplay, visualize the story and try to imagine the location and characters. Think of what camera shots and angles you would apply to the scenes.
As you become more experienced, famous, and successful, you can write your own screenplays with the story you want to bring to life. Becoming a screenwriter could be the step before becoming a director. You should work hard to practice the art of storytelling. Once producers see you are great at writing screenplays, they will trust you with directing them. It’s easier to become a film director out of a screenwriter than to become a director with no experience in filmmaking.
You can also check out our video guide to writing a script for a movie:
Work on Your Reel
The most important thing to start a career as a film director is to build a reel. It’s a collection of your best past works. It doesn’t have to be huge, but the quality is essential. Experts recommend shooting videos every day. It doesn’t mean shooting a complete movie every day but practicing and mastering your director skills.
To win the trust of cinematographers, investors, and producers, you have to create this collection of works to have something good to show them. It’s a great way to demonstrate your skills. You can shoot short movies and upload them to YouTube or Vimeo. That’s how you may get noticed. Don’t be ashamed of works made as a teen: they may reveal your skills in camerawork, adding effects, telling a story, and editing.
Learn to Communicate
During the filmmaking process, the director is the one who has to engage with everyone on set. He or she is a leader and should be able to find a way to communicate with the crew, no matter how hard it could be. Usually, directors tend to have issues with actors. So you have to learn how to talk to actors and make them act as you see it.
To manage the crew and make everyone cooperate effectively, you will also have to learn how to get rid of conflicts in your team. You need to be ready that you can’t always be a nice guy to everyone.
Start Directing with Movavi
If you’re learning how to be a film director, you can take advantage of Movavi Video Editor to practice your editing skills. Shoot your movies and edit them to make a video look like a complete film. Add stylish transitions, cut the unwanted parts, add soundtrack or voice commentary. Choose from various filters like Old movie or VHS. Use the chroma key to put your characters into different locations. Add titles and subtitles to your movie.
Movavi Video Editor
Your next step in video-making
- Edit video clips, images, and audio on a timeline
- Add transitions, filters, titles, and stickers
- Animate objects using keyframes, use more built-in media
- Export videos in any popular format
* The free version of Movavi Video Editor has the following restrictions: 7-day trial period, watermark on the output videos, and, if you’re saving a project as an audio file, an ability to save only half the audio length. Learn more