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The Best Kind of Film Director School

7/23/2012

If you want to be a film director, you should know that not every film school offers what you need; you need a director school, one that will focus on your particular needs as a film director. Most film schools can teach you the ins and outs and technical skills of working in film, but you need more than that as a film director. You need a different type of training, one that will equip you with the skills you need in order to lead.

WHY YOU NEED MORE

A film director doesn’t just need to know the technical skills of filmmaking. A film director has to be a leader, a networker, a motivator, a problem solver—and above all else, a storyteller. A director has to be intuitive enough to be able to tell a captivating story by capturing the right footage on camera. A director has to know how to think on his/her feet, having the ability to adapt to rapidly changing situations. A director also has to have connections within the industry, to be able to get things done. Many of these things you would never learn in a traditional film school. (In fact, this is precisely why some of the best directors in Hollywood never actually went to film school!)

SO WHERE DO YOU GET WHAT YOU NEED?

Perhaps the very best way to learn how to be a film director is to work with a film director—in other words, to become an apprentice (extern). There’s no better way to learn the finer points of directing than to be mentored one-on-one by someone who does it for a living. This is the best “director school” you could ever have, for three important reasons:

  1. You’ll learn more effectively one-on-one than you ever would in a classroom.
  2. You’ll gain valuable on-the-job experience, which gives you more “street cred” than any film school could give you.
  3. You’ll form powerful industry connections that can advance your career, which you’d never be able to do in a college setting.

 

HOW DO YOU GET AN APPRENTICESHIP?

Other than working your own connections (if you have them), one of the best ways to apprentice (extern) under a film director is to enroll in a film school that uses the mentor-apprentice (extern) approach, like the Film Connection. This kind of school is geared around on-the-job apprenticeship (externship)s, and will place you as an apprentice (extern) in an actual film production company, with one-on-one instruction from a working film professional.


It takes more than a basic education to become a film director, and mentoring is the best way to get what you need. A film apprenticeship (externship) is the best kind of film director school you could hope for.

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