Film Director: Education, Skills and a Successful Career

Film director

Film director

Do think you have what it takes to be the next Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Michael Bay or David Cameron? These are some of the most famous and successful film directors today.

There are two ways to become a successful film director. The first one is to enroll in a film school and build a strong connection with people who can help you direct your own films. The second one is to be like Quentin Tarantino and watch as many movies as possible until you are confident enough to follow your dream to be a film director. Either way, here’s a comprehensive list that will guide you on how to pursue your dream and establish yourself as a promising director that can churn out blockbuster films.

Early Preparation

Any career starts with a dream. Exploring your potential to be a film director even while in high school is a good way to start. Nurture your interest by joining film groups in your school or you can even start one. If you have neighbors who is a TV director or a cameraman, invite them to share their knowledge on the basics of camera lighting, cinematography and event production. The internet contains a plethora of information that you can tap which will give you invaluable knowledge on the basics of film production.


The good thing about enrolling in college is that you get to meet many people who strongly share your interests. Although college is not essential to be a successful filmmaker, it still presents a lot of great opportunities. For example, Whit Stillmanmade several entertaining and intellectual films about college life which he probably would not have done if he didn’t go to college.  The formal template of college life also offers the students a more disciplined approach in film making.

Some good colleges that are conducive to pursue a film career would include University of North Carolina, Wesleyan University and  California Institute of the Arts. These three colleges are known for its rich liberal arts programs and animation studies.

Film School

Enrolling in schools exclusively for film studies is an excellent decision for students who need a more stable and organized approach in studying film. Directors like Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler) and David Lynch (Mulholland Drive) are the notable alumni in the film school approach. The University of Southern California is a good film school. Directors like Ron Howard, Jon Landau and George Lucas are alumni of this university.

The school also helps students get better chances for scholarships and grants from the American Society of Cinematographers. Currently, the tuition for an undergraduate film program at this university is $45,602. To pursue a two-year master’s degree, a student is expected to pay $71,896 and $84,968 for a three-year master’s degree program . Other prominent film schools you can consider include the University of Texas, Austin: Department of Radio-Television-Film, Emerson College and Columbia University School of the Arts in New York City.


To become a successful film director, you have to possess the skills needed. The most important skill a film student should endlessly develop in his entire film career is the ability to sustain the passion for the craft, the discipline to finish what he started and the authenticity of telling a story and captivating its audience.

Without passion, it’s pointless to produce a film that aims for commercial success. Without discipline, it would be difficult to handle all aspects in making a film – from the artist, to the script and to the people in charge of the set. Authenticity is important because without the vision to touch lives with the story you tell, your viewers will never appreciate your work.

A film director is an exciting career to embark on. But one can only be considered successful if his film becomes a box office hit and earns a lot. Acclaimed director David Cameron made $2.7 billion worldwide for his film Avatar. Wouldn’t it be great to eventually be like him? You can, if you dream big and start now!  

Film director

Do you believe that you can be a famous and successful film director some day?

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