The decision to become a movie director is not for the faint of heart or for those who give up easily. From the onset of training to the final curtain call, the life of a film director can be a long-term tumultuous battle to prove him or herself in the field.
The first step to becoming a well-respected director is to get yourself in gear for the best training available and commit yourself to a life of competition and dealing with disappointments. There are few schools that will meet and exceed your expectations, so be diligent in your search for the institution that offers you everything you are looking for in a film school.
Application to a quality film school should be done the year before you intend to study, as competition is fierce among directing students and spaces are limited. You will need to submit a short demo clip to in your application along with a statement of purpose as to why you are the best candidate for the space. Film school faculty are looking for those candidate's with a fresh approach to storytelling and a sharp eye for camera angles, use of color, composition and technique. One of the best ways to prepare your reel to hit the mark is to study the clips from the institute's graduating class or past demos put on display on their website.
When choosing the film school right for you, be sure to check with the alumni list for graduates that found professional employment in directing. This will indicate the quality of the director training and may help you with much needed contacts for your first job. Unlike achieving a letter grade for a traditional degree, the film student must put forth a valiant effort for the required graduating project, and must have access to the top film equipment, sound stages and actor colleagues to work with. Your class project far exceeds the importance of a grade. Rather, it should equip you with a dynamic piece of portfolio work that will make or break landing your first job.
Once you graduate, be prepared to fight for your life, taking any professional work that is offered to you. This may entail an assistant director position, or even an assistant to the assistant. The film industry operates on a who's who basis, with coveted positions meted out via personal contacts and networking. There are no politically correct quotas to fill or favor granted by traditional business means. The new director will have to been seen and liked by a bevy of business associates, so be sure to get your name and face out there at any cost.
One way to gain exposure is to get involved with a low-budget film. This type of project works independently from the studios and can get fantastic coverage from film festivals and direct-to-DVD releases. The pay is low, but the resume power is priceless.
Television is another great outlet for the new director to build rapport within the industry. There are hundreds of cable channels, with each piece of programming requiring a director. Lend your artistic hand to a reality series, documentary, children's show or newscast for rapid resume growth and a solid foot in the door for film. The entertainment industry is growing at exponential rates each year, so be sure to explore all avenues for directing outside of your passion and special training, being prepared to accept all projects at all times. You should also be prepared to take continuing education classes in the arts to stay abreast of new trends and innovative technologies.