Keeping it Reel

How to Prepare for a Directing Degree

You want to study directing in college, but there is one problem. You don’t know all that much about directing. You have taken a film class or two, but you feel a little underprepared. You want to blow your professors away when you get to college. You want to leave a lasting impression from on your classmates. So how do you prepare? Below are 4 things you can do as a high school student to get ready for a degree in directing.

1. Use these apps daily

One of the main ways to improve upon a skill is to practice it daily. But it can be hard to make time for your craft every single day. That is why we recommend that those preparing to study directing use apps like Snapchat, Vine, and Facebook Live daily. It may seem like a waste of time but think about it; you probably send a few snaps a day anyway and how much time do you spend on social media? If you create Snapchat videos and vines with the same amount of effort and passion that you would a short film project, you will be improving your directing skills subtlely every day without changing your routine. Now, that isn’t to say that you shouldn’t also dedicate time to actual directing practice each and every day, but creating videos with apps and programs you already use is an easy way to make practice a part of your daily life.

2. Post Videos on Youtube

Like I said, you should be practicing directing daily if you want to study it and make a career out of it someday. But it isn’t enough to just practice, you need to perform as well. This means actually publishing your creations. Having a concrete goal to work towards will help you complete projects and the pressure that comes with posting something for the world to see will drive you to put your best work out there. As an added bonus, posting your work will allow you to monitor your progress over time. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and improve your skills!

3. Act, Edit, Produce, Film

Most High Schoolers pursuing film have had to play editor or actor at some point in time. If you haven’t yet, try it out. A director has to have knowledge and understanding of every part of the film process in order to perform at their best. Acting in a fellow student’s short film, playing camera man while assuming no directing status, and taking the time to organize and produce a short film will allow you to gain insight into the jobs of those you want to direct. This will make you a more well-rounded director.

4. Take all of the classes you can

Don’t worry if your high school doesn’t offer film courses, there are splenty of ways to gain experience while in high school outside of highschoo classes. See if a local college offers film courses and dual enroll, participate in a local directing workshop, become a director’s assistant in a local theater production, or participate in a summer program at a local college. The odds are that at least one of these options will be accessible to you. Learning fro someone with experience is an opportunity you don’t want to pass up.

5. Develop your style

Developing your own style and voice as a director can take years. It isn’t easy to discover the kind of filmmaker you want to be. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start thinking about it now. What kind of movies or television shows would you like to create? What do you see as your tone? Do your projects have an edge of humor? Awkwardness? Are they dark or cheerful? Asking questions like these can help you create the foundation of what will become your directing voice.

Want to see what life after college might look like for you? Download our Film Career Guide below to see what careers you might pursue with a degree in cinema.

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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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