All New Directing Lessons

We are proud to announce the all new Directors Craft lessons. Designed to help students understand the director’s role in visual storytelling, the seven updated lessons combine interviews with Hollywood directors, on-set tutorials, and methodical step-by-step approach to the director’s process. 

Lesson 1

A Director's Prep -Beginning a Project

In this lesson, students learn how to begin a new production as a director, how to break down the script for theme, character, and plot, set-up the workspace, and identify the tone of the story. Working Hollywood directors reveal their process of preparing for the first day on set.

This lesson covers:

  • How to set up your workspace
  • How to read a script for the first time
  • How to perform a director’s breakdown
  • How to break down the script for story
  • How to break down the script for character
  • How to find the tone of the story

Lesson 2

Basic Coverage

Students learn the basic template for shooting the action in a scene – the master shot, individual coverage, inserts and cat-in-the-window shots. Then professional filmmakers reveal techniques to vary shot size to increase coverage, how to break the coverage template, plan for the edit, and ensure you get the coverage you need. (21:43)

This lesson covers:

  • How to prepare for the edit when determining coverage
  • How to frame and shoot a master shot
  • How to approach close-ups
  • Working with insert shots
  • Shooting cat-in-the-window shots

Lesson 3

Advanced Coverage

Students will learn advanced coverage techniques from working Hollywood directors. This lesson reveals how to craft a single-shot “oner,” how to create a psychological impact for each shot, design compelling establishing shots, manipulate the pacing and rhythm of a scene, determine the opening visual, and enhance transitions from one scene to the next.
  • How to vary your coverage beyond the typical master/coverage model
  • How to properly shoot a oner
  • How to determine the opening visual of a scene
  • How to determine the proper pacing and rhythm
  • How to mind the transitions from one scene to the next to keep up the pacing of the story
  • How to work within the restrictions of the schedule and budget

Lesson 4

Blocking Actors on Set

In this lesson,  students learn how to effectively block actors on set for a convincing performance, all while balancing the technical needs and restrictions of the set, what story cues to look for, how to develop emotionally-driven blocking, and how to work with the actors to get the best performance possible.
  • How to determine why the actor moves
  • How to determine where the actor moves
  • How to determine when the actor moves
  • How to determine how the actor moves
  • Macroblocking vs. microblocking
  • How to block depth in the frame
  • How to use floor plans

Lesson 5

Storyboards and Pre-Visualization

Students learn how to use storyboards to plan their scene coverage, how to use pre-visualization software, know how detailed storyboards should be, creative restrictions to be aware of, how to create storyboards even if you can’t draw, and when to use animatics.
  • What are storyboards
  • How to work with a storyboard artist
  • How to draw effective storyboards
  • How to use pre-visualization software
  • When to use animatics
  • How animatics and storyboards can be used in the editing room

Lesson 6

Creating a Shotlist

Students will learn how to create a shot list, location requirements, how to decide your shots, the elements in a shot list, how the shot lists are used to schedule and budget a film, and to prepare for days when you go over schedule or over budget.
  • What is a shot list?
  • How are the elements that make up a shot list?
  • How the crew uses the shot list when scheduling and budget the production

Lesson 7

Continuity and Script Notes

A movie set is a machine with hundreds of moving parts – each department focusing on their contribution, each individual creating his piece of the story, all while the director helps manage it all.  Sitting beside the director is the script supervisor, whose systematic and careful attention to all these moving parts helps ensure continuity.  In this lesson, students learn the process of tracking continuity and how to create script notes used to ensure the hundreds of individual filmed shots work together as one, fluid story.