You have passion for film. You know every movie ever directed by your favorite directors – even the less appreciated ones.
You drive your friends crazy on movie night, describing the artistic and dramatic techniques utilized. And you know how you would have done it better. You want to be a freelance director.
Becoming a freelance director would be a dream come true. But like every dream, there is a way to make that dream become a reality. And that requires some directing of your own life in the right direction.
If you have the passion and drive, you can become a freelance director. Let’s talk about how to do it.
Get some experience
No one will give you a shot without experience. But you can’t get experience without someone giving you a shot. Wrong. Maybe you can only afford secondhand and low-budget equipment right now. But everyone has to start somewhere.
Watch movies and read screenplays, focusing on how the director translates the words to the screen.
Get your friends together and start filming shots and shorts.
Show your versatility by capturing various techniques.
Once you are confident in your skills, offer to direct a short promo for a non-profit pro bono (for free). Your generosity will be rewarded.
Compile this into a portfolio that you can show to potential clients.
Use a free website creator to create a beautiful website where you can showcase your skills.
Take an acting lesson
Maybe actually being in front of the camera is not your first love. But Actors/Actresses speak a certain language. You need to speak that language too. Take lessons to learn this role.
Become a storyteller
Learn the format and write your own screenplay. Then direct it. This will help you make mental connections between script and screen.
Learn how to produce
Casting, marketing, financial management: all of these are important for a director to understand on some level.
Play to your strengths
A director must have a vision first before anything. He or she must know what techniques will perfectly capture the scenes. If you want to be a freelance director, you have to start developing the skills needed to direct.
Work on capturing that vision in your mind first.
Learn how to communicate your vision to others. If you can’t do this, you can’t get the shots you envision and people will not want to work with you.
Practice, practice, practice different shots: over the shoulder, tilt, panning, zoom, tracking, track-in, Dutch angles, etc.
Figure out what your good at and practice it some more.
But don’t let yourself become a one trick pony. You need some well-rounded skills to compete for jobs in the filmmaking marketplace.
This is not just about being a diverse director, but diverse in the industry. You have to work with many different players and understanding their roles means you can more effectively work with them. This will be especially helpful on small projects where you may need to take on various roles.