DIRECTING

"There are no rules in filmmaking. Only sins. And the cardinal sin is dullness."

~ Frank Capra

A curation of articles, podcasts, videos, and courses to help with your directing adventure.

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What Kind of Director Are You?

Film Director  •  Creative Director  •  (1st or 2nd) Assistant Director

DOWNLOADS

A collection of FREE forms, templates, and questionnaires:

STORYBOARD THUMBNAILS

Ironically, Werner Herzog claims that storyboards are for cowards.  Haha.  Well, there are a lot of successful directors that use them, so you're free to decide for yourself.  If you're in need of a quick storyboard thumbnail to sketch out your vision for your film, then please enjoy this template.

Download PDF

STORYBOARD TEMPLATE

When you need to design more detailed storyboards this template is extremely helpful.

Download PDF

SHOT LIST CHECKLIST

The team over at Film Sourcing offers a ton of free templates for film production.  In addition to storyboards, create a shot list document to keep track of your shooting day.

Download PDF

CALL SHEET TEMPLATE

If you're fulfilling the role of an assistant director or production assistant, you'll need a call sheet template to organize your day for the cast and crew.

Download XLS

BOOKS

A collection of books on the art and craft of directing movies. (*These are affiliate links)

Film Directing Shot by Shot: Visualizing from Concept to Screen (Michael Wiese Productions)

If you need a good all around book on the technical understandings of what a film director should know, then be sure to pick up these simple books from Steven D. Katz.

Buy on Amazon

Film Directing: Cinematic Motion, Second Edition

You can't have one book without the other. Again, Steven D. Katz does a good job of illustrating the basic technical concepts that every film director should know.

Buy on Amazon

Directing Actors: Creating Memorable Performances for Film & Television

I really enjoyed this book and a lot of the tips and techniques taught by Judith Weston really worked! I think it's a definite must-read for any director working with actors.

Buy on Amazon

Rebel without a Crew: Or How a 23-Year-Old Filmmaker With $7,000 Became a Hollywood Player

Another book that may be a bit outdated, but Robert Rodriguez's story is simply inspiring.  This is no excuse filmmaking.  Imagine what you can do with today's tools?

Buy on Amazon

Directing: Film Techniques and Aesthetics

This comprehensive manual has inspired tens of thousands of readers worldwide to realize their artistic vision and produce well-constructed films. Filled with practical advice on every stage of production, this is the book you will return to throughout your career.

Buy on Amazon

The Filmmaker's Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide for the Digital Age: 2013 Edition

Widely acknowledged as the “bible” of video and film production, and used in courses around the world,The Filmmaker’s Handbook is now updated with the latest advances in HD and new digital formats.

There's no shame pulling this book out when you're on set 🙂

Buy on Amazon

Making Movies

Why does a director choose a particular script? What must they do in order to keep actors fresh and truthful through take after take of a single scene? How do you stage a shootout—involving more than one hundred extras and three colliding taxis—in the heart of New York’s diamond district? What does it take to keep the studio honchos happy? From the first rehearsal to the final screening, Making Movies is a master’s take, delivered with clarity, candor, and a wealth of anecdote.

Buy on Amazon

In the Blink of an Eye: A Perspective on Film Editing

It's been said that a movie is written three times, during the screenplay, during shooting, and lastly in the editing phase.  Every director should have a good mastery of the editing process.  Walter Murch's book is a must-read.

Buy on Amazon

SOFTWARE

A collection of software and tools to help you, as a movie director.

FrameForge Previz Studio 3

Storyboard is a noun. Previsualize is a verb. In days past, filmmakers had to work from a series of rough storyboarding sketches that only let them guess at the challenges they’d face on set. Now, you can plan your exact shots and scenes with an optically accurate camera with FrameForge Previz Studio 3.

Buy on Amazon

Toon Boom Storyboard Pro

Storyboard Pro gives you everything you need to storyboard your episodic, advertising, film, and other creative projects. Evolve your story using the same storyboarding program that thousands of studios and individuals use worldwide.

Go to Toon Boom

Storyboard Fountain (Mac)

Storyboard Fountain makes it easy to visualize a screenplay as fast you can draw stick figures. Quickly visualize to test if a scene works. Create and show animatics to others. Make your movie without the cost of making a movie.

Go to Storyboard Fountain

Storyboard Composer (iOS App)

Storyboard Composer relies entirely on the use of existing photos or video so there’s no need for drawing or sketching skills. It’s easy to add arrows and boxes to identify the movement of shots, and even animate them. It could also double as a solution for creating mood or vision boards.

Download App

PODCASTS

A collection of podcasts and podcast episodes that cover different aspects of the directing process.

Respect the Process Podcast

Jordan Brady is a film and commercial director, as well as, a standup comedian.  His podcast contains numerous interviews with other directors who all know how to "Respect the Process".  Worth adding to your listening collection.

Go to Podcast

WTF Podcast

Marc Maron runs one of the most popular podcasts around.  Amongst the vast guests, Marc has a chance to interview in depth some of the most renown film directors.  Start with this one with Ron Howard.

Go to Podcast

The Nerdist Podcast

The Nerdist Podcast is another extremely popular podcast.  Every once in a while, Chris Hardwicke brings on famous film directors.  Start with this one with Quentin Tarantino.

Go to Podcast

Meet the Filmmaker

Apple launched their own podcast series to help promote content on iTunes.  It's both a video and audio podcast, so enjoy the collection!

Go to Podcast

KCRW's The Business

Besides giving a rundown of the movie business, host Kim Masters gets to interview film directors of all kinds.  Worth an addition to your podcast collection.

Listen with iTunes

Indie Film Academy

Jason Buff over at the Indie Film Academy has a ton of quality interviews that can help you become a better director.

Listen with iTunes

Indie Film Hustle

Alex Ferrari over at Indie Film Hustle is constantly adding amazing episodes that are invaluable for any indie director.  But get ready to hustle, because no one hustles more than Alex 🙂

Listen with iTunes

Dave Bullis Podcast

Dave Bullis has some of the best guests come onto his podcast.  His interview with the Sundance favorite film shot on an iPhone, "Tangerine" made by Sean Baker is a great episode to start with.

Go to Podcast

VIDEOS

A collection of videos that will help with your directing efforts.

Famed indie filmmaker, Robert Rodriguez, built his own movie studio in Austin, Texas and then started his own network channel called the El Rey Network.  One of the shows he created was the "Director's Chair".  Worth a watch.

The Hollywood Reporter puts together their roundtable series before every Oscar show.  We're lucky enough that there are videos available for us to learn from.

Film School Comments has put together a series of videos on directors talking about directing.  Here's one with Ridley Scott.

Film School Comments has put together a series of videos on directors talking about directing.  Here's one with Frank Darabont.

What makes a good film director?  Allow the great Morgan Freeman to answer that question.

A collection of videos highlighting Academy Award winning director, Kathryn Bigelow and her filmmaking process.

Filmmaking is a visual art form, and luckily the the YouTuber's, Every Frame a Painting, have created a collection of extensive essays on the topic.

The team over at RocketJump Film School have amassed a huge YouTube audience and transferred that to original programming for Hulu.  In this video they help you know what NOT to say to actors on set.

COURSES

A collection of online courses that you can take right now to help become a better director. (*Affiliate links)

MARTIN SCORSESE - Teaches Filmmaking

Study with Scorsese

Martin Scorsese drew his first storyboard when he was eight. Today he’s a legendary director whose films—from Mean Streets to The Wolf of Wall Street—have shaped movie history. In his first-ever online class, the Oscar winner teaches his approach to filmmaking, from storytelling to editing to working with actors. He deconstructs films and breaks down his craft, changing how you make—and watch—movies.

 

  • 20+ hours of video lessons
  • Class workbook
  • Office hours for select students

 

Film School $90,000   •   MASTERCLASS $90

WERNER HERZOG - Teaches Filmmaking

When the legendary director Werner Herzog was 19, he stole a camera and made his first movie. 70 films and 50 awards later, Werner is teaching documentary and feature filmmaking. You’ll learn storytelling, cinematography, locations, self-financing, documentary interview techniques, and how to bring your ideas to life. By the end, you’ll make uncompromising films.

 

  • 26 hours of video lessons (including learning how to finance your film)
  • 37-page workbook
  • Office hours for select students

 

Film School $90,000   •   MASTERCLASS $90

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