Week 2: How Do You Become a Director? – Unit 3


In this task I’ll be researching into what it takes to become a Film director, an example of one successful director, and what a director actually does when a film is being made.

A considerable amount of luck is required in order to be a film director. Your films have to be noticed by the right people in order to make it big time. A good Director must have a film reel in order to show off their talent to prospective studios that could be potential employers.

Christopher Nolan:

Nolan started his career by making corporate and industrial movies. He also mad a 3 minute short called doodlebug, the premise was a man chasing a bug around his flat before realising that it was an alternate smaller version of himself, but he decides to kill it anyway. After this he and friends made an entire movie themselves on just weekends that Nolan self-funded. It took nearly a year and they had to rehearse every scene thoroughly so that the first or second shot could be used to save film. The feature was critically acclaimed and had a good festival run, screening at The Rotterdam International Film Festival and winning the “Best First Feature” at the San Francisco International Film Festival. This gave Nolan the opportunity to make Memento (2000) on a budget of $4.5 million. [1]

This is what Nolan said about the jump from making his own films to a professional feature:

“The difference between shooting “Following” with a group of friends wearing our own clothes and my mum making sandwiches to spending $4 million of somebody else’s money on “Memento” and having a crew of a hundred people is, to this day, by far the biggest leap I’ve ever made. It was a bit like learning to swim once you’re out of your depth: It doesn’t make any difference if it’s 2 feet or 100 feet down to the bottom—you’re either going to drown, or not.” [2]

Career Paths:

University – Courses can be taken at universities in Film Production, and then complete the degree with a named award in Directing. As seen at Arts University Bournemouth here: http://aub.ac.uk/courses/ba/ba-film-production/ This could be a good route as you learn a lot of valuable skills about how to direct and other parts of the film production process, and also a lot of contacts can be made.

Independent – Setting up your own production company is a viable option if you want to become a Film Director. To start with you would make small shorts for local businesses, festivals and charities. If you get lucky and someone notices or likes the style that you’ve used then potentially these films can lead onto getting work on a larger project.

Film Festivals – By inputting your own independent films into lots of film festivals then they could potentially get screenings which could get you noticed in the film industry. Some very popular films and directors were first discovered at film festivals.

5 films that debuted at Sundance Film Festival:

(500) Days of Summer

Reservoir Dogs

The Blair Witch Project

Super Troopers


These films went onto garner large critical acclaim and box office success from starting at The Sundance Film Festival. Quentin Tarantino got his first big break at the festival with Reservoir Dogs and is now one of the most influential and talented directors there is in the world.

Directors work as part of a team, without this team and their advice a Director would never be able to create some of the masterpieces that have been created over the years. Some of the roles that work closely with the Director in order to create his vision are: Cinematographer/Director of Photography, Editor, Set Designer, Storyboard artist. According to the Auteur Theory, “the Director is considered the primary creative force in a motion picture” [3]


I learnt a lot about the kinds of things that the director does, I previously wasn’t aware of just how much the director did and thought that he compartmentalized the work load, but he is actually involved in everything. It has helped me for my own future projects, as if I am the director I will know what kind of jobs I’ll need to do.

[1] Christopher Nolan. Available: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Nolan. Last accessed 28th Sep 2015.

[2] Jeffrey Ressner. (2012). The Traditionalist. Available: http://www.dga.org/Craft/DGAQ/All-Articles/1202-Spring-2012/DGA-Interview-Christopher-Nolan.aspx. Last accessed 28th Sep 2015.

[3] Merriam-webster.com, (2016). Definition of AUTEUR THEORY. [online] Available at: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/auteur%20theory [Accessed 28 Sep. 2015].

Week 2: How Do You Become a Director? – Unit 3

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