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Film Director Training Programs and Requirements

Film directors play a major role in producing films by helping to create scripts, contributing to the film's dramatic content and directing technical crews and actors. Film director training programs are available at undergraduate and graduate degree levels, as well as through apprenticeships.

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Training Requirements and Recommendations

Film directors must be well-versed in both the creative and technical aspects of directing and completing a film. There is no formal education requirement to become a film director and many directors grow from roles as actors or writers. However, film programs are available at associate, bachelor's and master's degree levels. Apprenticeship programs are also available.

Formal Education

Film production programs are more common at the bachelor's and master's degree levels, although associate degree programs are also available. Film director training programs often require students to gain hands-on experience through internship programs.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film Studies and Production

At the 4-year degree level, students gain a foundation in film history, but also gain practical approaches in film development. Classes include cinematography, lighting and audio production, photography, acting and screenwriting.

Master of Fine Arts in Film Production

At the graduate level, future film directors learn advanced techniques in filmmaking. Course topics include film analysis, post production, character analysis and genres. The master's degree program often culminates in a senior directing project.

Job Experience

Besides formal training, which includes internship opportunities, filmmaking apprenticeship opportunities are available to individuals with no college education and to those who might already have a degree. Programs are offered through state organizations and industry professionals. Individuals interested in this type of paid educational opportunity must apply to an apprenticeship program and, upon approval, begin gaining practical experience from filmmaking professionals. Upon completion of an apprenticeship program, which can last 1-5 years, students secure the title Journeyman Worker and earn a certificate of completion.

Licenses and Certifications

While there are no necessary licenses or certifications required of film directors, the Directors Guild of America offers voluntary membership. To qualify, directors must be employed by a participating organization. Additional requirements are needed for secondary directors.

Workshops and Seminars

Many industry organizations offer ongoing educational seminars and clinics for film directors. Additionally, groups like Independent Feature Project host annual week-long workshops for select aspiring directors. Participants can network, gain tips from professionals and learn film marketing strategies.

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