Have you ever wondered how to become a director? You’re not alone. It’s an ongoing joke out here in LA that “all I want to do is direct.” As a filmmaker, bringing your vision to life and sharing your story with the world is one of the primary reasons you make movies. Add the fact that making movies is a lot of fun.
How To Become A Director
The sexy appeal and ability to share your vision with the world should be enough to motivate anybody to get their movies made. And yet very few would-be filmmakers will ever make and direct a movie. Why is that?
While I cannot speak for everybody, I can tell you the most people who want to know how to become a director are simply afraid that their movie will suck.
We can attribute all this to fear. So instead of actually producing a movie, these fearful filmmakers decide instead to produce a list of excuses that goes something like this:
Top 10 Excuses Why You Won’t Become a Director
- I don’t have enough money.
- There is no talent where I live.
- We don’t have a camera (or lights, locations, insurance, et al.)
- Nobody cares about our movies unless we live in Hollywood.
- My movie is not a real movie unless it has name actors.
- I don’t want to make a short. I am waiting to make my feature.
- Maybe next year. I’m busy with my day job.
- I’m too old to direct a movie.
- I am too young to direct a movie.
- I don’t know how to become a director.
If you want to know how to become a director, the first thing you need to do is recognize that you are making excuses. If you’ve never directed a movie before, the odds are very good that your movie will suck… And even if it doesn’t suck this year, I guarantee that you will look back years later and know your movie sucked.
Don’t believe me? Check out one of my first short films. (It’s the YouTube video below.)
Do you see what I mean? We shot that movie on 16mm film. Film!
And YES. I KNOW! It’s a steaming pile of pretentious dog poo… But working on that movie helped me meet other creative types, including one of my good friends, Jared. Him and I have worked together on several shorts and a few features.
So my point is this: If you want to know how to become a director, you need to really pick up a camera and direct something. Even if it’s a short movie. Even if the movie is only one minute… Doing this is something. And done is better than none.
What You Need To Know
The truth is, people will never hire you to be a director unless you have already directed something. Nobody cares about your vision or ideas. Film distributors and other producers want proof that you can actually make something. And the only way you can give them proof is by answering this question:
“Given the resources that I have right now, what is the movie that I can make this year?”
Once you conjure the courage to answer this question, great things will start to happen for you. You will be forced to abandon all self limiting beliefs. They you will grab a camera, find some actor friends and make your movie now!
If you produce a short film, you will put it on YouTube and share your work with the world. If you produce a feature, then you will figure out how to market and sell your movie. But you will not make excuses.
Figuring out how to become a director involves, directing. You will need to take action and actually directing something. You will need to build off each project and “level up” your career.
If you’re seeking the next steps, you might benefit from Peter Marshall’s course on how to become a director. In it you’ll get tips to help you take the next steps. And his real world experience may help you finally figure out how to become a director.