Scorsese, Hitchcock, Spielberg, Tarantino… They all have something in common: they are part of the greatest film directors of history. They had to start from the bottom and learn from the teachers who preceded them. If you intend to imitate them and try your luck but you have no idea about how to be a film director, Here we brought you a guide with a series of very useful steps to achieve your dream job and achieve it just like the great ones did.
The main thing to become a film director is to have acquired the appropriate theoretical knowledge about cinema. For this you can choose to enroll in a film school, specialized in teaching this art, or look for a University that has a career in film directing.
Whether you sign up for one of these schools or decide to study in a self-taught way (interesting but doesn’t give you the connections needed), you must learn, among other things, the following basic subjects. These are essential during the teaching of any future director worth his salt.
From History of cinema, Cinematic language, Direction of actors, Film production, Film script, Cinematic aesthetics and Audiovisual assembly.
It’s necessary that directors know by heart every other single activity being done inside and out of the set. Other subjects you must learn are photography, sound and the operation and handling of a camera, acting, and probably even how to make coffee.
Get involved with movies, live and breathe cinema! It is essential that you watch movies and get a wide cinematographic culture, but it is not enough that you do, so do it like any amateur would: analyze every single movie you see, even rewatching films you like can help you with this part!
Break down each scene, observe each detail with a critical eye, study its content and find out where the camera has been placed and what motivation the director may have had to make his decisions. This work is what will make you a professional in the field.
Getting a job as a film director is not an easy task. You have to start from the bottom, so down that sometimes you will have to prepare the coffee for a technical shooting crew or go make photocopies when one of the assistants asks for it. If you enter the team during a shoot taking care of one of these simple tasks, you can see how an audiovisual work is done, which will give you a lot of experience.
Whether it’s a movie, a spot or a video clip, always carry a notebook (or better yet, a tablet) and write down everything that is interesting for your future projects. From the behavior of the director himself to his decision making on the set; of the elapsed time between plane and plane and the placement of the lighting bulbs. This will help you immensely to train you.
You can also send your resume to producers offering as a second or third assistant director. Be humble and opt for even those offers without compensation, because you are still not Spielberg even if you know you’d shoot Jurassic Park better than him.