Is It Hard to Become a Film Director?

Directing films is not hard at all, as long as you aren’t looking to become a high-end director. All it really takes to become a director is having a story, a camera and a keen eye for the cinematically aesthetic.

Anyone can direct their own movie these days with plenty of cheap, and even free editing tools, affordable film equipment, some even use their phones, and easy to post platforms that give you a worldwide audience. 

However, if you are seeking to become a high-end film director working on big projects with a crew of over 100 people, it is a little harder.

Most agents for directors, and most production companies will require you to have at least a Bachelor’s Degree, or a plethora of notable experience. It is not impossible to get into the film industry as a director without these methods though. A good example is James Wan, the director of the ‘Saw’ franchise, he made his own small movies, and placed the original cut of ‘Saw’ into a movie store, it was picked up by someone in the industry and his career began. Becoming a successful director, and making a career from your movies can be very difficult, it takes time, dedication, extensive networking, resilience and persistence.

One of the best ways to get your name out there is to make your own content and distribute and promote it best you can. This is a factor whether you have a film degree or not.

Can I become a director without going to film school?

There are no hard and fast rules to becoming a director. You do however need to go to film school for certain things, networking is one of the most important parts of this. Networking is something that film school can give you that you may miss out on otherwise. The information that you can learn at film school about being a director can be often found online, through research, YouTube videos, books, and online workshops.

There are even a few workshops that you may find run by Hollywood directors, you can pay for these workshops and get an easy education from your home from the professionals for less than it would cost to go to film school. It is recommended that you seek out a film school if you do want to pursue a career in film direction though, it is an expensive choice, but there is financial support available for some.

These film schools will provide many things that you will need to access in order to learn extensively about the film industry and help you to understand the workings of a large scale project.

To craft at least a minor production team for a decent scale project you at least need a producer, director, writer, cinematographer, actor, and editor. You will also need equipment, locations, and knowledge about the process for admin for productions. A film school will assist and provide you with all of these things.

It is worth remembering that a director brings the writer’s vision to life, it could be someone else’s script or your own. Learning how to do this can be very important in the end result of a project. If you do not wish to go to film school to learn about this, it does not mean that it will not be achievable, simply more difficult, and you may miss out on some important information about your side of the production process.

How do you become a film director?

There are many ways to find your way into film direction. You can start off by making your own films. A popular way to do so is to make 60-second short films and post them online, this is a tactic you can use whether you go to film school or not. 60-second shorts are attention grabbing and easy to make.

You should build up a portfolio of your work and try to gain experience, volunteering on sets and trying to apply to be a runner is a good way. Going to film school will help, you will get contacts in the industry and find yourself more opportunities that will give your directors portfolio and resume a bigger selling point. For direction, you do not necessarily need to have a Master’s degree, or any higher qualifications. Most places, even the Directors Guild of America, will often accept a Bachelor’s. Most people will have to start from the bottom, as a runner, or a floor runner and work up to an assistant director, be it first, second, or third AD, and from there work up to being either a director or in some cases a producer. There are many ways to go about it, the main thing is to keep producing content, network, and study hard.