How to Become a Film Director

So you are wondering how to become a film director.

Budding filmmakers everywhere dream of the day when they can become a successful film director. However, is it right for you?

The Reality of Film Directing

A career as a film director is exhausting, difficult, challenging – and incredibly rewarding. From auditioning, hiring and rehearsing actors to supervising a large crew and keeping the project on schedule and within budget, a film director’s job is far-reaching and often complicated.

Steps on How to Become a Film Director

Like anything else in life, becoming a film director takes passion, focus, hard work and a little bit of luck. If a career as a film director is in your future plans, then there are a number of things you will need to do to increase your chances of success.  Follow this guide on how to become a film director:

  • Find a great college and major in filmmaking or film and video production. Whatever college you choose, make sure their film program is top-notch. Some of the best film schools in the United States are the American Film Institute and the University of California at Los Angeles.

In addition, there are a number of excellent schools for filmmaking that offer graduate programs and internships, both of which can prove useful when obtaining additional education and experience in film directing.

  • Move to Los Angeles and New York, as these are essentially the hot spots for the filmmaking industry. Don’t expect to be a successful film maker working out of your small home town in the Midwest. To be successful, you must position yourself in the center of the action, which just happens to be New York and Los Angeles.

  • Find work as an intern or apprentice, and work your way up. An apprenticeship as an assistant producer or production assistant is often a great place to start. You may not get paid in cash, but you will certainly get paid in experience. Remember: the contacts you gain from your low-level positions are often the most important!

  • Work your way up to a television or film editor and begin to compile a film reel. Once you have a good number of clips in your portfolio, you can start showing your work to people in the industry.

  • Start out small and begin directing small projects, such as music videos and commercials.

  • Consider completing a training program for assistant directors. The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and the Directors Guild of America sponsor an excellent training program. You can gain a great deal of experience as an assistant director. Although your jobs may be quite mundane (i.e., transporting equipment and arranging lunch for the crew), the contacts will be invaluable.

  • Scrounge up money and make your own independent film. Enter your film in as many festivals as possible and start making a name for yourself.

  • Always keep in touch with your contacts. The film industry is often as much about who you know as what you know; therefore, never forget that networking must always be on your mind! Don’t lose touch with your contacts – they could be the source of your next job or your big break as a film director!

While many people wonder how to become a film director, few have the passion, networking determination, and creativity to be the next Steven Spielberg.  However, if you have the calling and follow the guide on how to become a film director, you may just see your name on the rolling credits.