How to become a Film Director – A complete educational guide to making your own films

How to become a film director
Steven Speilberg’s Jurassic Park is an amazing example of how still cameras are used!

Do you see a Steven Spielberg film like Jurassic Park and are amazed by the way the camera moves along with the dinosaurs?

Do you see an Anurag Kashyap film like Gangs of Wassepur and think of dark genres? 

Do you see a Karan Johar film and think of a high-budget film? 

Do you see a Zoya Akhtar film and think of a female perspective in the film? 

If yes, then you have understood the directing style of these directors. Direction is a lot about viewing the film more critically and not just passively viewing the film. It is their creative vision that you see in the theatres. Actors are just taking directions from them. But how they want their characters to react is the director’s take! 

If this interests you in becoming a director, then read further to get the information required on how to become a film director– the education, the skills, the job preparation required, and the salary insights. 

Who is a Film Director? 

A director oversees the artistic elements of a movie and is responsible for bringing a narrative to life. From preproduction through postproduction, they work to bring their creative vision to life by literally directing the action on the set and throughout the filmmaking process, managing the artistic and dramatic elements of a movie, envisioning the screenplay, and supervising the actors and crew. A movie’s look, narrative, filming locations, costumes, special effects, and other aspects are all decided by the director.

Learn more: How To Become A Film Critic – Detailed Guide

How to become a Film Director [4 Step Guide]

Step 1: Stream Selection 

The undergraduate degree programs typically provide the particular skills needed to become a Director. You can therefore choose to pursue any field of study after finishing grade ten. Here, one uninvited piece of advice would be to either study things you enjoy or major in humanities, as doing so will broaden your perspective.

Step 2: Certificate Course and Project Courses 

If you’re unsure about a job as a Director, you may test it out by registering for a range of time- and money-saving online courses. There is no prerequisite for them, thus you can enroll in them after getting your 10th grade.

Certificate Course Institute offering the course Duration 
Write a feature-length screenplay for films and TV Michigan State University 3-6 Months 
Getting your film off the ground Michigan State University 1-3 months 
Make a Short film: Start to finish LinkedIn Learning  4 hours 52 mins 
Creating a Short Film: O5 Directing LinkedIn Learning 2 hours 27 mins 
Movie Directing made simple: How to direct movies Udemy 6 hours of online content 
Learn to storyboard for Film or Animation Udemy 2 hours of online content 

Step 3: Educational Qualifications 

How to become a film director after 12th grade?  

A) Undergraduate/ Diploma Courses in India

Film directors don’t really require a degree. However, formal training is always preferred. The following are some of the undergraduate degrees that you can pursue: 

Undergraduate Degree Duration 
B.A. In Film Making 3 Years 
BSc. in Digital Filmmaking 3 Years 
B.A. In Cinema Studies 3 Years 
B.A. in Film, TV, New Media, and Production 3 Years 
B.A. (Hons.) in Film and New Media3 Years
B.A. in Film Television and New Media Production3 Years 

There are also some diploma/certificate courses that you can pursue to become a film director. Some of them you can check out include: 

Diploma/Certificate Courses Institute offering the course Duration 
The Filmmaking course FX School  11 Months 
Program in Film Direction ZIMA 6 Months 
Advance Direction Institute of Creative Excellence 9.5 Months 
Advanced Certificate Program in Film making Whistling woods international 1 Year 
Certificate/diploma in Film making and Direction Mumbai Film Academy 6-12 Months 
Diploma in Film Making Seamedu 1 year 

Also read: Does AI have a place in Filmmaking

B) Top Colleges/Institutes: 

  • Kishanchand Chelaram College, Mumbai 
  •  Jindal School of Journalism and Communication
  • Thakur College of Science and Commerce
  • Whistling woods International 
  • Institute of Creative Excellence 
  • Film and Television Institute of India 
  • MIT Institute of Design 
  • Asian Academy of Films and Television 

To become a film director abroad 

A) Undergraduate/Diploma Course 

Some of the courses abroad that you can check out to become a film director are: 

Undergraduate Course Estimated Duration 
BA (Hons) in Film and Television Production36 Months 
Film (Film and Media Production), BA48 Months 
BA in Cinema & Media Studies48 Months 
Film Production BA (Hons)36 Months 
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film & Television48 Months 
BFA in Image Arts: Film Studies48 Months 

You can even pursue some diploma courses if you don’t want to invest so much time and money in such courses. Some of them that you might want to check out include 

Diploma Courses Institute offering the course Duration  
Advanced Diploma in Broadcasting – Film, Television, Digital Media, and RadioCentennial College36 Months 
Graduate Diploma in Film and TelevisionDeakin University12 Months 
Diploma in Film & Television ProductionTrebas Institute12 Months 

B) Top Colleges abroad 

  • Arizona State University, USA 
  • Teesside University, UK
  • York University, Canada 
  • Coventry University, UK
  • New York University, USA
  • Ryerson University, Canada 
  • The University of Sydney, Australia 
  • University of Manchester, UK
  • University of California – Berkeley Campus, USA
  • Monash University, Australia 

Step 4: Job preparation required to become a Film Director 

Before you begin working as a director, you might already have the title “director” or you might need to work in a few different companies. Whatever the situation may be, you should keep the following preparatory advice in mind as you search for your first job:

  • Start by making small films: 

Begin producing your own amateur movies. If you can, spend money on a quality camera and editing software to get accustomed to the equipment used in the industry. You may try writing your own screenplays to see if that’s helpful. Look locally for other aspiring actors and filmmakers who might wish to collaborate with you on projects.

  • Build a Portfolio: 

Create a reel or portfolio to show prospective employers your work. Describe a variety of your finished school and personal endeavors. You can also list any tasks you accomplished for internships or other positions, if appropriate. Throughout your career, it’s crucial to continually update your portfolio to make sure it accurately reflects your skills.

  • Start Networking: 

Organize a group of business professionals. Attend industry events and look into joining guilds, unions, or other professional groups. Create and maintain a strong working connection with your coworkers once you start working on sets. You might be able to access more career prospects or locate an agent or mentor.

Know more: How to become a Music Director

Skills required to become a Film Director 

  • Excellent knowledge of the film 
  • Creativity 
  • Leadership skills 
  • Interpersonal skills 
  • Communication 
  • Management skills 
  • Problem-solving skills 
  • Self-motivation skills 
  • Working of camera 
  • An eye for detail 
  • Decisiveness 

Salary of a Film Director 

Salary in India for a Film Director 

The salary of a Film director depends a lot on what kind of film they are making, who are the actors, how much the film did on the box office, who is the producer backing it, the platform where the film is being released- OTT or Theatre and much more. However, according to glassdoor, the national average salary of a director is 1,56,381 INR/ Year. 

But we all know, there is no cap on how much people from the film industry make. So you can also make way more than the given amount. 

Salary of a Film Director Abroad 

The scenario abroad remains the same. However, a general overview of how much a director earns depending on various film industries is given below: 

Country USA UK Canada Spain Australia France South Korea 
National average/year $93,590 £42,293$54,384 €80,227 $80,000€53,286 ₩11,34,20,112 

Top Production houses in India 

Top Production houses Abroad 

  • Universal Pictures 
  • Warner Bros 
  • Columbia Pictures 
  • Walt Disney Pictures 
  • Marvel Studios 
  • Paramount Pictures
  • 20th Century Fox
  • RatPac-Dune Entertainment
  • Legendary Entertainment
  • Relativity Media

Thus, Film Directors employ their strong leadership, management, and communication abilities in order to organize the talents of what may be a sizable group of individuals working together to create a film. Film directors also employ their artistic talents to make a storyline come to life. As they progress in their career, their projects keep getting interesting keeping their reputation high. 

Life of a Cinematographer

FAQs about how to become a Film Director

Is it challenging to work in the film industry?

Many individuals would claim that there is no clear road to becoming a film director, and they are not mistaken. A difficult course is not the same as having no course at all, though. You will need a lot of grit, persistence, and hard work to succeed as a film director. In addition, you must know where to begin.

After my 12th-grade year, may I work as a director?

Candidates must hold a bachelor’s degree in order to become filmmakers. After finishing their 10+2 requirements, students can additionally pursue an Associate Degree in Film Study, a BA in Cinema Study, a BA in Filmmaking, or a BSc in Digital Filmmaking.

What abilities do movie directors require?

–knowledge and abilities in media creation and communication to do anything thoroughly and carefully.
–the capacity for collaborative work.
–leadership capabilities.
–the capacity to operate effectively under pressure and to tolerate criticism.
— a drive for success and ambition.

Is attending film school worthwhile?

You can use film school to your advantage not only in the workplace but also when looking for a career after graduation. You may have a better chance of getting recruited by a production business, editing facility, or writer’s room if you list your film degree on your CV. This is due to the fact that employers are aware of the abilities needed to finish a film degree.

Which degree is best for a film director?

A four-year bachelor’s degree is often required for directors and producers. A college for film directors may provide degree programs leading to the Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), degrees that can help students get ready for the field.

Do filmmakers compose their own scripts?

The short response is no. The director of a movie is in charge of bringing their own vision to a script and coming up with their own plot ideas, but they are not in charge of authoring any of the scripts.

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