Weekend Directing Workshop


Availability: In-person, Online, VOD
Duration: 2 Days
August 24-25, 2019
10:00 AM – 4:00 PM (AUG 24); 11:00 AM – 6:30 PM (AUG 25)
Location: Rough Diamond Productions
1424 North Kings Road, West Hollywood, CA 90069
Course Fee: $269.00
Member Fee (15% OFF): $228.65

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The director is ultimately responsible for every image and sound that appears on the screen. Many new directors chase the dream of directing without the technical and creative skills needed to succeed. Learn the necessary skills and knowledge to successfully direct your movie.

The Weekend Directing Workshop includes:

  • Interpreting the screenplay
  • Navigating technical aspects such as camera placement storyboards, shot lists, look books, and shot lists
  • The grammar of directing necessary to communicate with department heads to bring your vision to life
  • How to work with actors in rehearsal and on set
  • And finally what the film director actually does on the day of the shoot and how to best work with an editor



What you will learn:

Day 1:

10am – 12.00pm: The Director And The Script

The script is the blueprint for a movie. The director’s job is to read and interpret the screenplay. Discover how a good director translates the written word into the visual elements on the screen. A screenplay will be sent out to all students to read before the class and single scene will be work-shopped in Week 1. The instructor will talk about the over all story, how to break down a scene and discover the key events. He will discuss how to identify issues such as the 3 types of conflict in a scene.
  • Analyzing and reading the script.

  • Looking for the truth – what is this script really about?
  • 3 types of conflict in a scene explained.
  • Identifying key moments.
  • Finding additional visual elements including discovering your theme and best way to show it visually.
  • Discovering the hero’s journey.
  • Identify what each character wants and how this defines the conflict.
  • Written Assignment for next week: Summarize the hero’s journey in the story and identify some of the story elements discussed.

15 minute break

12.15- 1.15pm : The Grammar Of Directing

Directors use a variety of shots and lenses to compose their scenes and create a vocabulary of cinematic techniques and processes. Directors must learn the do’s and don’ts of film grammar.
  • Using the camera with the intention to tell the story.

  • Demonstration of camera placement and lenses.
  • Framing and composition – when to use subjective or objective.
  • Approaching your coverage – the evolving master shot, shot size and focal length for coverage.
  • How does a director communicates his vision, floor plan, storyboards, lookbook and shot lists?
  • What is the 180 line? Understanding crossing the line with intention.
  • Written Assignment for next day: Take the scene and do your own story boards, floor plan and shot list.


Lunch Break 1.15pm -2.15pm
2-4pm Continue with the grammar or directing.  
Techniques for casting and working with actors.
  • Casting and how to handle and identify the best actors in casting.

  • Director’s role as a storyteller and how to get the results you want in performances from actors and how best to create characters for the screen.
  • Exercises to discover the subtext.
  • Creating characters for the screen – going over Objective, action, subtext, destination, inner monologue, inner object, expectation, preceding moment, back story, biography.
  • Home work for next day for : Write a report on your thoughts on the tools and how you could use them for the characters in the scene.

Day 2:

11am – 1pm: The Director and the Rehearsal

Students will be sent a reading assignment Prior to the class that discusses directing tools for actors before class to review.
  • We will go over the students homework on your thoughts on the tools and how you could use them for the characters in the scene.

  • How to run a rehearsal and create mood and tension by inspiring the actors and using the tool of staging.

  • We will do a table read first.  Then students will adjust the performances.

Lunch 1pm- 2pm

2pm- 4pm: Directing The Actor

Work with actors Put into practice the tools we have learned the previous day. The job of the director is to know the result you are looking for and have a vision of the film through the eyes of the audience. The director needs to know the emotional experience they want the audience to have. We will use the tools from the reading assignment to get the performance you want from the actors.

  • How to identify and understand an actor’s needs.
  • The Director’s focus on set.
  • Preparing to shoot.
  • Working with an AD on the shooting schedule.
  • Good communication under pressure.
  • Making decisions and staying flexible.
  • Shooting for the edit.
  • Demonstration of how to block the scene for the camera with actors.
  • Students will get a chance to try blocking based on their storyboards and floor plans prepared
  • Guests: 2 actors to join “Directing the Actor”

Tea Break 4.00 – 4.30pm

4.30-6.30pm :  Understanding The Editing Process

The film editor is a key creative on the film production team. On this evening learn about their role and discover how successful film directors manage this important relationship.
  • The function of the director in the editing room.

  • Understanding editing through analysis of a completed sequence.
  • What does the director need to understand about editing?
  • Sequence analysis on “A Fish Called Wanda.”
  • Discuss all the elements we have worked on the previous weeks and how they come to play in the sequence in “A Fish Called Wanda.”
  • Importance of music and sound design and how to pick the right composer.



Who should attend?

The Weekend Directing Workshop covers a variety of basic and advanced techniques and processes. This course is for film directors starting out on their creative path, those interested in finding out more about directing, those who have done a short film and getting ready to go to the next level with a feature or those seeking a quick refresher course to tune up and improve their technique.



About the instructor

John Penney

Award winning screenwriter and director John Penney has had 15 feature films produced from his screenplays over the course of his career to date. He currently teaches directing and writing at the Los Angeles Film School
John wrote and directed the supernatural thriller “Hellgate” starring William Hurt and Cary Elwes. The film was awarded Best Film at the Bram Stoker International Film Festival as well as the Best Horror Film from the Fantasy Horror Awards in Italy, sponsored by Syfy Europe Universal. Prior writer-director credits include the thriller “Zyzzyx Road” starring Katherine Heigl and Tom Sizemore.
In addition to his directing, John has written the screenplays for such films as “The Enemy” starring Roger Moore, Luke Perry, Olivia D’abo; “Contaminated Man” starring Peter Weller and William Hurt; “A Breed Apart” with Robert Patrick, Andrew McCarthy; “In Pursuit” with Daniel Baldwin, Claudia Schiffer, “Matter of Trust” with C. Thomas Howell. “The Kindred” with Rod Steiger, “Return of the Living Dead 3” with Mindy Clarke, “Past Perfect” with Eric Roberts, Laurie Holden and “Amphibious 3D” with Michael Pare.
John also served as a producer on his films “Zyzzyx Rd”,”A Breed Apart”, “Matter of Trust” and “In Pursuit.” 
After the last directing class John worked with one of participants Jeanie McGinnis, coming on as an Executive Producer and helped her get her film into production. That Film, “Reborn”, starring Michael Pare, Rae Dawn Chong and Chazz Bono is due to be released in September, following a successful festival run.
John has written his first novel “Truck Stop” and followed that up  with his second novel, “Killing Time.” He is also featured in the newly released book on screenwriting by Jose Prendes, “The High Concept Massacre” along with fellow screenwriters Carl Gottlieb (“Jaws”), Amy Holden Jones (“Mystic Pizza” “Indecent Proposal”), and Doug Richardson (“Bad Boys” “Die Hard 2”).


Attending the course online and on VOD

Do you want to attend the first class in person and online on other weeks? Or, do you want to attend online on some weeks and watch other weeks on VOD?  You have the freedom to attend this course in person, online, or by watching it on VOD without making any prior selection. 

LIVE ONLINE: Every attendee gets an email invitation for the online classroom 30 minutes before class start times. All you need to do is to click the link provided in that email and watch the class on your computer’s web browser without needing to download any special software. If you are attending on your smart phone or tablet, please download the ClickMeeting app.

VOD: Video on Demand is a great option if you want to repeat what you learned in the class or you didn’t have time to attend the class in person or online. Each attendee gets a Vimeo link 24-48 hours after each week’s Directors Foundation Certificate LA class. 


Did you know?

  • Raindance members save 15% on the Directors Foundation Certificate LA? You can join online >HERE< and start saving immediately
  • This course is FREE for our postgraduate/MA/ students
  • The Raindance Guarantee: If this course fails to meet your expectations, let us know before lunch of the first day after the first section of the class and we will make a full, 100% no-questions-asked refund.