How do I become a filmmaker

Become a director
An overview of training and studies to become a film director

Duties of a director

In order to produce a film, it usually takes many people, each of which has its own area of ​​responsibility.

The producer (or also called producer) usually takes on the commercial part of a film project. He or she takes care of the financial resources, monitors the project from an economic point of view and of course also influences the development of the project. It is not uncommon for producers to directly influence the script, the choice of locations or the choice of team members.

This must be distinguished from the profession of director, who usually takes on purely artistic responsibility. The director's job is to write the script(the concept for smaller projects) to be realized according to his artistic ideas. He or she interprets the actions and scenes in his own way and thereby determines the look of the film, the play of the actors, the dramaturgy, the intensity of emotions and much more. In order for a director to be able to realize his ideas in every sub-area of ​​a film production, he must be familiar with every single production step. This means that he or she must have, among other things, basic knowledge in the work areas of script, camera work, image effect and aesthetics, color, equipment, editing, animation and sound design, which are implemented by specialists in the respective subject.

That means a director must always be willing to learn with each project. He or she has to be very creative, a team player, open-minded and communicative. And you should have experienced and seen a lot in life in order to be able to deal with a multitude of stories that are to be made into a film.

Also important to know: directors are almost exclusively freelance and rarely permanent. That means that you always have to take care of yourself and your projects. With all of the advantages and disadvantages that a freelance work brings with it.

In short: the producer ensures that the film is made. The director, on the other hand, determines how it is realized.

How do you become a director?

The good news first: You don't need any special training to become a director. There are many directors who have become successful without the appropriate degree or training. Because the profession of director is not subject to any state protection or any rules (as opposed to doctors, lawyers, etc.). Anyone who wants to make a film as a director can do so at any time and without any conditions. Whether for private or commercial purposes, it does not matter.

Now comes the big oneBUT: In order to become a director, it is nevertheless advisable to undertake an appropriate degree. The reasons are as follows:

Network: The most important asset of filmmakers (Directors, producers, cameramen, ...) is the network. If you are not a celebrity, you can hardly make money in the free economy without a large network. During your studies you lay the most important cornerstone for this. You are surrounded by(future) Filmmakers and everyone knows that a network is vital. You can get together accordingly quickly and make your first important contacts for the future.

Training: Of course you also learn something. You can get a lot of learning material from the Internet, but some universities are not only able to offer a lot of theory, but also a lot of practice. And practice is always the best way to learn.

Exchange: During your studies you have time to get to know like-minded people and to exchange ideas creatively. You can spin, discuss and maybe even realize various concepts. In any case, the course is also a great opportunity to better understand the medium of film itself with a large number of interested people.

Legal hurdles: Lots of film productions(especially series and feature films) are realized in Germany through state subsidies. As a rule, it must be proven in the funding regulations which training the most important people involved have brought with them. In particular, the positions for direction and camera should often be filled by people who have also studied the relevant subject. Otherwise there is a risk of refusal of the funds.

What training centers are there?

The profession of director is usually tied to a degree that can be completed with a bachelor's or master's degree. In other words, there is no such thing as a classic training course to become a director.

The following options are available:

1. General University: Many universities offer courses in media, such as media studies. These courses usually have their own modules in the direction of “film”. However, this is an extremely scientific look at the media and the film industry. You don't really get trained to be a director. But it can be a good basis for approaching the profession.

2. Film University / University of Applied Sciences: In Germany there are a handful of universities or technical colleges that specialize only in film and television. This small selection has a very good reputation in Germany, some of them even all over the world. You are fully trained as a film director by experienced professionals from science and business and you are surrounded by a multitude of young talents. In addition to the theoretical mediation, you also get several opportunities to put your own film projects into practice, regularly supported by well-known film productions or large companies from the private sector. The reputable institutions are as follows:

Film University Konrad Wolf

DFFB Berlin

IFS Cologne

Film Academy Ludwigsburg (No. 1 for commercials)

HFF Munich

3. General colleges of art: In addition to the specialized film schools, there are also general art schools that are not limited to film and television, but also offer many other art forms as courses. It is not uncommon to find a suitable course for film directing, but the quality and depth does not come close to the above-mentioned film schools. The equipment for making films while studying is also generally much more limited. The qualities also vary greatly from art college to art college, which is why it is always worth taking a close look at the respective training courses.

4. Private universities: Private universities often have very good facilities, but they also cost a lot of money. The quality of the training also varies greatly between the various offers. Some courses are very focused on directing, other courses simply treat directing as one of many modules. Here, too, it is always worth taking a closer look at the respective offer.

As you can see, there are several avenues and resources open to becoming a film director. If you still have your studies ahead of you, you should definitely consider a possible degree.

If you are a little further in old age, you can try a lateral entry. For work in classic large film productions, you usually start as a second or third assistant director and then work your way up step by step.

When directing a commercial you first try to find any clients from the industry who need a commercial. This is how my business partner Matthias and I started, although neither of us studied anything with film or television.

In this sense, good luck to all interested parties.