About the Director’s Foundation Certificate
The director is ultimately responsible for every image and sound that appears on the screen – and thus for a film’s artistic success or failure.
This five-week film directing course provides a detailed overview of the skills, knowledge and professional requirements for those wishing to direct for the screen. The information covered in the Director’s Foundation Certificate includes how a director works with and interprets the screenplay, working with actors in rehearsal and on-set, and the technical aspects of directing. It will also cover what a director does on the day of the shoot, and then working with the editor.
What will it cover?
Week 1: The Director and the Script
The script is the blueprint for a movie; it is the director’s job is to interpret the screenplay and then bring it to life. Students will first discover how a good director translates the written word into the visual elements on the screen.
- Analysing the script
- Discovering the true story
- Identifying key moments
- Finding additional visual elements
Week 2: The Grammar of Directing
Directors use a wide variety of shots and lenses to compose their scenes and create a vocabulary of cinematic techniques. It is especially important for directors to learn the do’s and do not’s of the grammar of directing.
- Camera placement and technique
- Framing and composition
- Storyboarding and previsualization as directing tools
Week 3: The Director and the Rehearsal
One of a director’s biggest challenges is to effectively communicate his/her vision with the cast. Therefore, it is crucial for directors to learn how to run a rehearsal in addition to creating mood and tension on-screen by inspiring the actors. In addition, this class involves working with and directing real actors.
- Working with actors
- Creating characters for the screen
- Tools for communicating with actors
- Rehearsal process and staging
Week 4: Directing the Shoot
It is the director’s job to oversee the production on set or location. Using professional camera, lighting and sound equipment this class will involve shooting with a plan to having enough material to then produce and edit for the final class.
• Shot lists and scheduling
• The director’s focus on set
• Preparing to shoot
• Good communication while under pressure
• Making decisions and staying flexible
• Shooting for the edit
Week 5: Directing the Edit
In the edit, the audiovisual material collected during the shoot is organised to tell the story in the best way. It is especially important for the director to thoroughly understand the editing process.
- Time scale and project management explained
- Viewing rushes and making decisions
- Working with sound and music
- View an edit from last week’s rushes
What will you achieve?
On completion of the Director’s Foundation Certificate, students will have acquired the skills, knowledge and confidence to then undertake their first directing projects.
How will you be taught?
A mix of lecture-style, demonstration and also practical instruction with tutor guidance. Weeks three and four will also involve working with actors. In addition, there will also be some further reading and additional activities suggested.
Who should attend?
The Director’s Foundation Certificate is suitable for beginner directors, as well as those interested in finding out more about directing for the screen. It is also suitable for those seeking to refresh their existing knowledge.
About the tutor
Chris Thomas has been teaching and developing film directing courses for film directing with Raindance since 2000, with a strong emphasis on storytelling and communications skills.
Chris learnt his key skills from acting and directing in the theatre where the focus was always on using limited resources and engaging the audience’s imagination; it was a natural shift for him into filmmaking.
As a teacher, Chris prioritises the clear communication and encourages his students to harness their individual talents through the methods he demonstrates. He first and foremost believes learning is a two-way process, and as a filmmaker, it never ends.
Recently, Chris has shot the teaser trailer for the psychological thriller, Dead of Winter and also short film Emma’s Last Date. He is currently in development with his dark comedy feature script, The Devil You Don’t.
What they’re saying
Chris’s enthusiastic personality and his pearls of wisdom such as “you don’t see with your eyes… they’re just there to filter information to the brain”.
Chris has an engaging, highly enthusiastic personality and I was quickly drawn in to his vast skillful knowledge of film production.
The structure was excellent – starting with the basics and then moving through the technical side, before watching a movie being made. It was a great beginners’ film directing course, and made me feel confident that I could make a film.
Chris was an engaging teacher, incredibly passionate and inspiring. He was also down to earth and approachable. He made filmmaking accessible and far less intimidating than before.