As a writer or avid storyteller, you spend so much time with your characters you start to see them – how they move, act and behave. You know exactly what kind of backdrop sets the tone for a romantic, teary-eyed scene between your main protagonists, which clothing style will best inform your characters and which voice they will be speaking in. Nothing is more exciting than translating these stories on to the screen and fleshing out their stories and personalities through captivating cinematography.
Are you sitting on a script you believe could be “coming to theatres near you”, if only you could get it made? Or perhaps you’ve been religiously studying every director from Tarantino to Leos Carax, Ava DuVernay to Greta Gerwig for the last ten years and are now ready to try yourself at making your own movie. There are many reasons you might want to become a film director – why wouldn’t you? Film is one of the most popular, captivating and impactful art mediums in the world with a steadily growing audience of all age-groups and backgrounds. Here are five important steps you’ll need to take to become a film director.
Ok, so it’s not that simple – don’t expect to make a movie, send it to Netflix and earn your first Oscar the following year. However, your first and most important step will be to just get out there and get started! Start with any camera you have access to and get to working on your own projects as well as possible gigs such as filming your cousin’s wedding or a special birthday party. Every filming experience will be valuable to you as you’re learning so jump at any opportunity to point a camera at someone or something!
Work with a Script that Resonates with You
The next thing to focus on is a script. Following a script isn’t important while your practicing and perfecting your filming skills. In fact, sometimes the most magical things happen while you’re improvising. As you’re getting more serious about your craft however, you will have to learn how to get the very essence of a script and turn it into a visual work of art. Hence, it’s important to work with a script that resonates with you personally. The more you connect with the story, the deeper you will be wanting to explore it through the lens.
Find the Right Crew
You don’t necessarily need a big crew, you just need to find the right one to bring your project together. Once you have figured out the scope of your first short or feature film, start making a list of the number of actors you’ll need, how many cameras will be necessary, and whether you’ll be needing people for sound and lights. It should be noted that you can make a stellar film or a good show on a minimal budget, you just need the skills.
Create a Storyboard
You are creating a visual so it’s important you work with visuals while you are developing the storyboard. Create sketches and diagrams depicting what you envision for each individual scene – this doesn’t have to be a little work of art; you can save all that creativity for the film itself. Simple sketches focusing on the essence of every scene will help you find structure and help you prepare for shooting.
Get Your Work Seen
Once you have filmed, edited and perfected a short or feature film you are truly proud of, share it with the world! Get your work seen by as many people as possible – upload it on YouTube, send it out to film festivals, contact production companies, screen it from the rooftops. Making a movie and becoming a film director is the easy part; getting it developed is the toughest part of the job – so dream big, keep on pushing and make it happen!