How to become a movie director

Do you have strong leadership, management, communication, and creativity skills, plus a love for all things film? You dream of working in the biz, but picture yourself in a behind the scenes role? There are countless job opportunities in film production, however none quite as coveted as a movie director. As director, you will oversee many if not all creative aspects of a film and are often involved in its post-production, including editing and sound design.

However, becoming a movie director isn’t all fun and games and will require a lot of hard work. Luckily, there are some deliberate steps that you can take to help make your dream a reality. Here are the top things you need to do to become a movie director.

  1. Learn by watching movies

 One great way to study the art form of directing is to simply watch lots of movies – sounds easy, right? However, if you want to become a director you will need to learn to watch movies with a critical eye. Deconstruct each movie you watch by paying attention to the countless little elements that come together to make the movie what it is.

If you need help, there are a few ways you can do this. One option is to watch a movie without sound. This will help you observe how stories are told visually, making you aware of every camera setup, including angles, shot sizes and movements. Another way is to “watch” a movie with your eyes closed, which will help you learn how stories are told through sound. By watching a movie without seeing it, you will become aware of the importance of soundtrack and dialogue, and every little sound bite, from footsteps to sirens, will be magnified, allowing you to determine meaning from every little thing. Learning to critically analyse the movies you watch is a great first step to becoming a movie director.


  1. Read screenplays

 Another great trick to learn more about the filmmaking industry is to read screenplays. After all, it is the director’s job to translate the words of a script into moving pictures. Reading screenplays is a great way to familiarise yourself with the language of screenwriting, which can be much different to the writing style you are used to.

Beyond that, reading screenplays is a good way to practice bringing somebody else’s story to life. Visualise in your head how you would shoot each scene and take notes of the different angles and camera positions that you would use. Reading screenplays is the perfect way for you to practice your creativity and directing skills.


  1. Start filming – build that portfolio!

If you are serious about becoming a movie director you should begin filming as soon as possible. Aim to shoot something every day, even if it is as simple as filming people on their way to work. It doesn’t have to become a finished film and it doesn’t even need to be good – as long as it helps to train your eye and advance your craft. Showcase the work you’re proud of on social media and start building your portfolio. That way, when the time comes, you have something to showcase to prospective collaborators.


  1. Get experience

If you dream of becoming a movie director, you need to understand that it is going to take a lot of work and you will need to work your way up in the industry over time. Oftentimes, prospective directors begin their career in low-profile studio positions, such as assistants to film editors, cinematographers, or directors for several years before earning their first directing job.

Once you have directed your first film and your reputation begins to grow within the industry, you may advance to larger and more expensive projects, with more creative freedom. Getting here, however, will take time and lots of experience, which is why it is important to begin gaining experience as early as possible.


  1. Consider film school

Wondering about movie director qualifications? Movie directors typically require at least a bachelor’s degree in film or a related field. In fact, A bachelor’s degree has become the entry-level benchmark internationally for the industry which now demands higher order skills. Furthermore, a degree in film will provide you with the practical experience essential for a successful career in directing.

Sign up for the Bachelor of Stage and Screen (Screen Production)

If you’re looking for a movie director school in Brisbane, the screen production degree at APAC may be the course for you. The Bachelor Screen and Stage (Screen Production) is an eclectic course covering every aspect of filmmaking, for feature films, corporate videos, television commercials and web series. During the two year course, you will learn to create and pitch concepts, screenwriting, producing, film distribution, budgeting, and marketing. Additionally, you will learn practical skills in directing, cinematography, lighting, sound recording and editing.

Worried about the cost? FEE-HELP is available for all APAC degrees. Enrol here.