Keeping it Reel

3 Things You’ll Learn When You Go to College for Directing

There is a lot of controversy over whether or not students who want to pursue film should actually go to film school. In fact, if you search “why should I go to Film school” on Google the top two (non-ad) responses you’ll get are: “10 Reasons to Go to Film School” and “10 Reasons Not to Go to Film School.”Most of these articles make an appeal to filmmaking, which in general refers not to producing, editing, acting, or writing, but to directing.

If you want to know why you should go to film school, you can check out our article on the topic, but since many of these articles target directors, we thought we would share a few reasons going to college for directing is a good idea. Check out these three things you can learn when you go to college for directing.

1. How to lead a cast and crew

While it is true that you can develop leadership skills on your own, when you go to college for directing, you have the opportunity to be “cast” in the specific role of director. You learn the responsibilities required of a director and how to lead your film crew to success. You get to experience firsthand what it is like to lead a full cast and crew, and when you experience hiccups, you have talented professors to go to for advice.

Outside of film school, you may not have the same opportunities to lead as a director. It is likely that you will be working without a full cast and crew and if you are also acting as a cinematographer or producer, you may not have the time or energy to lead as a director should.

College projects are a simulation of sorts. You are given many of the same tools and resources professional directors have, and you are able to explore your directing style and improve your leadership skills.


2. How to effectively communicate

When you go to a college for directing, you get the opportunity to work with all kinds of different people. You work with multiple editors, cinematographers, writers, producers, visual effects artists, actors, sound designers; you will probably even get the chance to work under another director and see the role from a different perspective.

As a director, you will need to learn to communicate your ideas, thoughts, feelings, and your overall vision to your cast and crew. Being exposed to different kinds of people in film school gives you the chance to develop your communication skills and perfect your methods of explanation.


3. The importance of planning and organization

When you pursue directing outside of college, you will be the one in charge of setting deadlines and establishing budgets for your projects. Doing these things provides you with the opportunity to learn a little self-discipline, but there is a downside: there is no one pushing you to stay on track. If you need more time, you can simply extend your deadline. If you need a bigger budget, you can pick up an extra shift at work.

When you go to college for directing, specific deadlines and budgets will be set by your teachers. If you don’t get a project done on time, your grade and the grades of your group members will be affected. OVer the course of four years, with these additional motivators, college can teach you organization, planning, time management, and self-discipline. 

Now you know a few of the reasons you should go to college for directing. It isn’t for everyone, but if you choose the right program, you’ll have the opportunity to build skills that are hard to find anywhere else.

If you think a directing program is right for you, download our application checklist below to see how you can become a student at Columbia College Hollywood! The checklist will walk you through our application process helping you apply in no time at all!

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This blog is a collaborative effort by CCH staff and administration who want to share their knowledge with the film school community and prospective students.

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