Schools for Film Directors

Read about some of the classes you could take in a directing or filmmaking degree program. Explore undergraduate and graduate program options for aspiring directors. Get career info for film directors. Schools offering Digital Cinematography degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Aspiring filmmakers can get started in this field with an associate's, bachelor's or master's degree. Coursework in these programs includes cinematography, storyboarding, and film editing.

How Should I Choose a School for Film Directors?

To find a school that fits your career goals, you can research what majors and programs each school offers. Some schools offer specialized programs in directing, but others might offer more general studies, like a film and television program. Some related majors that could help you pursue a job as a director include screenwriting, filmmaking and production. Degrees in film are offered at the associate, bachelor's and master's levels.

You might also want to consider what kind of equipment a school has available. Will you be able to work with 35-millimeter cameras in good condition? What about a computer animation or sound studio? Will you have access to film editing equipment?

Which Schools Offer Associate's Degrees for Film Directors?

Prospective students might consider the following programs to prepare for careers as film directors. Associate's degrees are available in a variety of pathways.

  • The New York Film Academy offers an Associate of Fine Arts degree program in Filmmaking
  • The Academy of Art has an online Associate of Arts degree program in Motion Pictures and Television
  • The Los Angeles Film School offers an Associate of Science degree program in Film

Which Schools Offer Bachelor's Degrees for Film Directors?

Aspiring film directors can earn their degree through some of these 4-year programs. Online programs also exist.

  • The Academy of Art has an online Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) degree program in Motion Pictures and Television
  • The Los Angeles Film School offers a Bachelor of Science degree program in Film Production
  • The New York Film Academy lists a B.F.A. degree program in Filmmaking among its offerings

Which Schools Offer Master's Degrees for Film Directors?

Master's degrees for film directors are widely available. These programs often provide hands-on experiences for students.

  • The Academy of Art offers an online Master of Arts (M.A.) degree program in Writing and Directing for film, and an online Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) degree program in Motion Pictures and Television
  • The New York Film Academy has two options: an M.F.A. degree program in Filmmaking and an M.A. degree program in Film and Media Production
  • UCLA offers an M.A. in Cinema and Media Studies

What Kind of Classes Will I Take?

Your classes could cover all aspects of film--from theory, to practice to history. Here are some examples of courses you might take:

  • Cinematography
  • Documentary filmmaking
  • Storyboarding
  • Directing the actor
  • Camera directing
  • Camera techniques
  • Film editing
  • Studio recording
  • Sound design
  • Computer animation
  • Art direction
  • Film genres

Additionally, many programs include classes in acting elements and screenwriting.

Some programs offer additional learning experiences, like internships and independent studies. Internships could help you gain professional experience and make industry contacts. Independent study classes can give you a chance to direct your own student film.

What Can I Expect After Graduation?

As a film director, it could be your responsibility to interpret a script, communicate your vision to the other team members on your set, decide on camera angles and coach great performances out of your actors. You will work on every facet of the film, from the set to the choreography.

The film business is a competitive industry; according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, individuals interested in this field can expect intense competition for acting, directing and producing jobs. After graduation, you might have to work your way up the ranks, starting out in an entry-level position as a camera assistant or focus puller. You can then work your way up to assistant director before assuming a director position.

There are a variety of pathways to consider when deciding on a program in film studies that is right for you. Degrees are available at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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